Does this look old? It is. Typed on a manual typewriter in 1963. Some things are worth their weight in gold. This Letter to the Editor is one of them.
Robert Smith, my Uncle Bob, sent this Letter to the Editor of the local paper in South Paris in Oxford County, the poorest county in the State of Maine. A native of Kennebunk, Maine, he was a relative of John Smith of the legendary tale of Pocahontas, who married my mother’s sister, Gertrude, after graduating first in his class at Harvard Law. He opened a law office in South Paris, met the love of his life and courageously raise a family: my first cousins Alan (who never spoke a word because of Cerebral Palsy), Dennis, and Gwen.
He became the District Attorney and then the Probate Judge in Oxford County. A Republican of the Nelson Rockefeller brand, he wrote his Letter to the Editor after the U.S. Supeme Court ruled that prayer in the public schools was unconstitutional. To the chagrin of many of his neighbors, he supported the Supreme Court decision.
His daughter, my cousin, Gwen, sent this to me. with a note:
“I am amazed at how ‘global’ his thinking was, especially when you think of South Paris! I couldn’t wait to get out as I saw it as being so insulated from the real world…knew there was something better out there. Dad would be drummed out of the Republican party he so strongly supported with this thinking, but all politicians could take a lesson in civility from this!”
Bob Smith died of a cerebral hemorrhage leading a congregational meeting of the First Congregational Church of South Paris where he was the President of the Congregation, Choir Master and Organist. He died the way he lived – with the courage of his convictions and a faith in Divine providence that does not depend upon or favor the tyranny of the majority.