Walter E. Dandy Letter 12/20/09

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

December 20, 1909

My Dear Son,

…I am not as sorry about your grades as I am to hear of your being so very much disappointed. It doesn't make any difference about your grades. Nothing on earth would make me feel any different about you. I believe and always will that you are the smartest student at Hopkins. It is not you that has failed in making good grades, it is the man that has the say over them and they are not particular who they give them too. It is the man that will count in future, not grades. In a few months they will all be forgotten, but the man with the ability will shine forth as the Sun for all time to come. These examinations won't count for much in your future life. You have often said only a few weeks and you had forgotten everything about them.…

You surely have had a bright career. All the honors everywhere. I think more of you now than ever I have done in my life (in your ability). These low grades don't amount to anything. In fact I have not been thinking about grades. I have been thinking more about the time when you get through how you would show them and me one of the greatest and smartest doctors in the U.S.

I want you to be sure and not worry over such a very small thing. You are just as smart as if you had ranked one. You can't depend on man to do a fair thing. You did not want a place at Hopkins except Dr. Cushings, so your grades can't deprive you of much, except you worry over them and make yourself sick. And that you can not afford to do. That is all that is worrying me now, for fear you will worry or work too hard and loose some of that flesh that I put on. You have often said you would not work anymore for grades. They are not worth working for.… Just do the best you can and that is quite enough. I believe you will see it is all for the best, so be sure and take care of your health, no matter about grades.

I think grades are all right for boys, but I think men like you students ought not to have grades. It is a waste of time and energy that ought to be occupied at something better. I think that was a good grade but of course nothing like you had at Columbia. We are not thinking anything about it. It is all right whatever way they grade you. It is the man we are looking at and no one can spoil that. He can spoil your grades, but never mind, that is a very small matter. I just wished I was near so as I could put my arms around you and comfort you like I did when you were a boy and hated to loose an honor.

It is pretty near Xmas. I wish my dear boy could be here with us. I think very little about Xmas. It was different when you were here, looked forward to the time to surprise you with several little things.

I bought Papa a pair of slippers like yours. He likes them better than any he ever had, and he got me a pair. I don't think I will send a box as a little one would not hold enough to do any good. Pie and cake and chicken would take a big box, and you will be getting good meals that will be better for you.

I have not seen any of B.'s nor heard how Foraker was since last I wrote to you.

The weather is cold and crisp here. I think you ought to put your flannels on. Try and get some exercise this Xmas.

Well I hope you will have better news next time. I will close now by wishing you a very happy Xmas and bright New Year.

Your loving Mother