On November 1997 I wound up being speechless and without the ability to write.  My total speech consisted of the words “thank you” and in writing I could only write a few spelled out numbers like “six” or “seven”.

After release from the hospital, I entered the speech therapy program at Kessler Institute headed by Shirley Morganstein.  Shirley searched for items that might arouse my interest.  There were quizzes from newspaper stories in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.  These were followed by book reports from Jeff Shesol’s Mutual Contempt, the story of Robert Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.

One of the problems involving aphasia, which is what I have, is that words are uttered which are quite different or opposite of the real meaning the speaker

had intended.  In my case, I offered the opinion in a book report that LBJ was a “homosexual”.  I have no idea where that came from and for the record, LBJ was completely straight.   Maybe one of his helpers was gay (Walter Jenkins) but Johnson was completely heterosexual.

Mrs. Morganstein suggested in passing that I might try to write an essay.  As it happened, my next meeting with her was scheduled for December 8, 1997.  And so it was that the first essay was about humorous aspects of the war and what December 8 has meant for me over the years.  One way or another I omitted the fact that the original December 8 date was in 1943 when German forces combined to ground me for awhile.  Compared to that event, the remainder of the December 8 recollections are pleasant.

In any case, Shirley seemed to accept “December 8, 1997”, and suggested that I concentrate on essays.  Her thought was that if you hit on something promising, “ride it as hard as you can.”  And so I started to think about more essays.

It came naturally to me that there had been many incidents associated with overseas trips so I used them as a springboard.  All of these stories except one were written from memory so if there is any dispute, I can say you know how bad old folks memories may be.  In one case, the “Givens’ Newspeak”, I did have some contemporaneous notes dating to 1969.

In addition to the essays about overseas adventures, there are some other writings such as the Kunberger condolence letter, a note to Sven Lernevall and the letter to the Hutchinson News.

I enjoyed writing the essays.  They are not great enhancements to the American literature scene.   In point of fact, they are classroom assignments and are intended to be read and discussed in less than 30 minutes.  They simply suggest that with Shirley Morganstein’s help and with Judy’s helpful criticism, I can again write a little bit – which I could not do in November 1997.   And if the essays fill in some of the blank spots while I was gone so much in the service of the great AT&T Corporation, then that is an added benefit.

E. E. Carr

April 21, 1998


Where it all began.  This was an intro to the very first packet of essays that were produced. Turns out that I was indeed mistaken on the last essay — there are a dozen or more essays that predated the official distribution list I was using for numbering. Many thanks to Judy for the clarification. You’ll be seeing these earliest of essays next!

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