High Tide in the Sea of Copernicus

Carthage House
Chatham, Massachusetts
September 20, 1996

My Dearest Jimmy,

Now that my teaching days are well past, this is my favorite season.  It’s warm enough during the day to still enjoy our yard and a walk on the beach; but now the summer people are gone.  And to think that two decades ago Saul and I were summer people!  But even back then Saul and I tried to steal at least two September weekends (as long as the High Holidays didn’t interfere) to enjoy the quiet.

Our favorite time of the day was the evening.  We would put on light sweaters, go out back and watch the moon rise over the sea.  It was our time.  In my last few years with Saul, after we had both retired, these times were even more precious. We would sit in our Adirondack chairs down by the pair of Chinese Red Maples.  We had a clear view of the water and the heavens.

We would stay until our sweaters were insufficient against the early autumn air. Then Saul would take one long last look at the moon, slap his knees and say, “Well ol’ girl, it looks like its high tide in the Sea of Copernicus, time to bring the dory ashore!” And we would go in.

I am enclosing two letters that I think might be of interest to you.  I was putting together a carton of books to donate to the ChathamElementary School’s Book Sale, and I stumbled upon them tucked in a Civil War Atlas.  One is written in your hand, and the other is a typed carbon copy from Saul.  Both were neatly folded and pressed between two maps of the Battle of Chickamauga.  If Saul had mentioned the correspondence to me back then, I had long since forgotten its contents.

Thinking of those days — it was a difficult time for the country.  Upsetting in so many ways.  I know that from the time that you were a little boy you loved Saul; and it warms me to think that when you became a young adult you held his views in such high regard. Jimmy, know that Saul treasured you – he loved your sense of humor.  He always said that there was a spark of life in your brown eyes!

I am sitting at my desk looking out to the yard and to a three quarter moon suspended over the water.  The night is mostly clear with just a few wispy clouds tracing a path below the moon.  I think of you, I think of your Mother & Father, and of course I think of my Saul.  I do believe that the tide is high in the Sea of Copernicus.

Love, Always.
Aunt Meggie


Union College
October 7, 1968
Dear Uncle Saul,

I am writing to you for your good advice and counsel.

The election is looming ahead.  Where are we to go?  Who are we to support? I don’t like our choices.  It makes me sick to think of where our Country is going.  The divisiveness is horrible.  Generation against generation.  Father against son.  Those that served and sacrificed their lives in WWII set against those that are unwilling to do the same in the stink-hole of Viet Nam.

Viet Nam will go down as the tragedy of my generation.  And now we will have to choose between Nixon and Humprhey?

I ask again, “Where are we to go?”

Sorry to trouble you.  Please give my love to Aunt Meggie.  Remind her that she can send oatmeal raisin cookies to me via parcel post at any time!  Particularly during Finals!

I hope this finds you well.



Kings House
Woodbury, Connecticut
October 17, 1968

Dear Jimmy,

I feel your concern, and I too am deeply troubled by our Country’s course.

My short answer would be support Humphrey.  He is a good man.  He has solid liberal credentials that have been obscured by his attachment to the Johnson Administration.  I believe, given the opportunity, he will establish his independence; and separate from the present Foreign Policy that has us mired in Viet Nam.

Remember this – regardless of who wins in the general election, we vote for the top 1000 appointments that the President makes.  These people are recruited from the “talent pool” from each of the Parties.  It is through these appointments that information is evaluated, policies are formed and policies implemented.

Even if Humphrey loses, we have seen the mess the Democrats have given us.  Maybe the bright guys on the Republican side have a better solution?

Something I have learned – no President, regardless of Party affiliation, is as good or as bad as he first appears.  Being a President is a real tough job, and it takes decades for history to weigh in with its judgment as to success or failure.

I have passed your cookie request to Meggie.  I can’t promise that her response will result in a “care package”; but I do detect warm fragrances emanating from the interior of our kitchen!

Stay well, study hard, keep your smile and never doubt whether tomorrow will be a fine day.


n.b.  Saul loved “naming” his residences.  He felt it lent a gentrified English tone to a home and it gave Saul a sense of remaining “connected”.  Homes were named for street locations… The Woodbury house followed his childhood home on Kings Highway, Brooklyn… and the Chatham home for the Woodbury home on Carthage Road.

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