Walter E. Dandy Letter 01/22/1946

It isn’t fair that I haven’t written you before: it’s just on of Daddy’s weaknesses. Having a secretary ruins one’s letter writing – bad even before. I am always happy when I know how well you are doing in school. You are one of the few who will always make your mark, no matter where you are. Any help from your mother and me gives us the greatest pleasure. Mother has just written that you are coming home Feb. 6 so that is something big for us. Just think, Margaret is now 11.

Dr. Ravilla and I are having a great trip together. Panama is a very interesting place, but very hot, particularly in the morning and afternoon. The Canal Zone as you know is 5 miles on each side of the canal. Panama is just outside of the line. Our hotel is on the shist* that separates U.S. and Panama. Yesterday we motored to Colon and Cristobel on the Atlantic side. Coming down in the plane, one can see both termini and they look so close together – the Atlantic is on the left and the Pacific on the right – a beautiful sight. The ruins old Panama are about 5 miles away. Panama was burned to the ground by Henry Morgan the great pirate in 1671. A new site was selected and is the new Panama.

I have given one lecture, another tonight and another Thursday. Yesterday and today we saw a great number of patients – some will probably come to the U.S. for operations, others cannot for financial reasons. There is so much poverty and so much wealth – but that is everywhere. The president of Panama is a very fine man, but presidents in Central America are selected by the wealthy and therefore the poor remain unchanged. But that is not so different in the States, or at least until recently. One man who started a revolution a few months ago is held in prison – they can’t kill him because capital punishment is prohibited.

Friday we return. The original plan was to fly the Caribbean to Jamaica and Miami but the President of Guatemala sent a telegram and his ambassador to urge me to see a patient there. It was difficult to refuse. So we will retrace our steps. The plane ride down from Guatemala was so rough that we were anxious to go the smoother way. However there is only one stop returning, so we will be high and not so rough. It’s a quick way to travel, but I prefer the train. When the weather gets better, you can fly back to New York and get the experience. On our way from New Orleans to Florida a nice lady sat next to me. She had taken her daughter to Wellesley but there was no opening. Most of the girls here go to convents in the states, even when they are 10-12 years of age, mostly to know English while they are young. I hope my little sweetheart is well and happy.

Lots of love from Daddy who thinks there isn’t such a lovely sweet girl anywhere.

Daddy, xxxxx

* This word was not clear, but appears to be shist, a variant of the word schist. The Greek derivation is from the word meaning divided, cleft, etc. mem