(This letter was written as Dad was about to begin a job as Director of the Center for Study of Natural Areas at the Smithsonian Institution. He was to hold this job for one year. Thankfully, they went on to have child #5, which was me.)
Sept 21, 1969
Bear Canyon, MT
but not for long.
Speed is the watchword, as usually; we intend to pull out for Virginia Tuesday. And the thesis isn't done, but we feel that it is past the toughest part, which was getting the data organized and synthesized into efficient tables, graphs, and figures. I'm gradually getting to be more of a statistician, and more fond of this valuable tool (statistics, that is). We will probably go through North Dakota and Minnesota, to let the kids see some different sights, and to avoid some of the possible September heat (though we might be wishing for some of it, if it turns cold.).
We will be signed onto the job, just about as soon as we want to be. First, we will have to get somewhat settled. We will live in the manor house (once owned by one of the Duponts) for a while, till other housing becomes available, since the Williw house (The large stone three-story structure) will take some time to fix up.
We 're pretty excited about the possibilities for the future. It looks like I will be right in the center of the activity, and have a chance to do anything I am big enough to do. I know some of the scientists connected with the Smithsonian, and will meet all those who are concerned with ecology and conservation (most of them), in the next month or two. I should meet all the best-known and most active ecologists in this country, and several from other countries, in the next year or two, so it looks like I will have plenty of contacts for future jobs, if any come up which I want.
We are supposed to have our fourth and last child about the 6 of November. This will be a little close for traveling, but with the camper, Cherie can stand up once in a while, and move around more. We plan to take a week for the trip, also.
This is one hunting season when my guns will get a rest. In fact, I hung up my rods early in the season, too, and have been spending ten or twelve hours a day, mostly working on the thesis. It's very interesting, but it will be a great relief to have it out of the way, and the degree in my hand, so I can start contributing to the scientific store of knowledge, instead of trying to soak it all up.
The Bull run Mts. are near Plains, and Warrenton, Va. Fine hardwoods, with turkeys, mushrooms, squirrels, whitetail deer, etc.
I carboned off the first of this letter, to allow me to write to several of you, will add a personal note.
I hesitate to say this, knowing you might expect us to come, and we might disappoint you, but maybe we will go through Iowa again, and drop in to see you.
We'll be pulling a trailer, and to save time and money, we should take as direct a route as possible.
How are you, and Doug, and his family, doing?
How much did you use that book on self-improvement, you had there? Those things really work, but they take lots of time and effort for someone like you and me, who were so throughly trained in discouragement and cynicism. however, if it hadn't been for books like that, I would probably have committed sideways many years ago, instead of being about to get all the things I want (besides what I already have).
Lou, C, K, J, K, and ?