Letter from Thomas Sun, New Haven, Conn., to Alfred E. Stearns, January 22, 1931


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Letter from Thomas Sun, New Haven, Conn., to Alfred E. Stearns, January 22, 1931


Letter from Thomas Sun, New Haven, Conn., to Alfred E. Stearns, January 22, 1931


My dear Dr. Stearns,

I received your good letter this morning, and I want to thank you for your kind efforts and sympathy. I admit, after several days of deep thinking, that the last letter to you written by me was accomplished in a heat of emotionalism. Now, since I have calmed, I may be able to talk with you about the matter more diplomatically from my father’s view-point.

There is not a doubt in my mind that I want to go home. Nothing will please me more than to be able to do so. I realize that I will be quitting my work before it is finished, and that is why I am writing to you this letter. Father sent me here to study and to Yale for me to get a Doctor’s degree, and I know pretty definitely that he will be rather disappointed if I failed at the attempt. He had made some very noble sacrifices for me--if I am to be considered,--and it is not right for me to ”go back on him” no matter how badly I want to go home. I am ready to do what he says and sacrifice myself for him in return.

As for mother, I do not know what to say. I want to see her, there is no doubt about that. What I said in the last letter is true to the last letter concerning her, and I do not have any intentions of changing my stand. If it makes her happier for me to stay here and go home a Doctor Sun, I shall do so. I presume, the longer the delay, the sweeter the reunion. What I am worrying about is what is liable to happen in the meantime. It might suffice to say that nothing will happen, but if anything should happen, then everything will be too late.

I do not know what to advice you to tell my father when you write him. However, I think it is best to leave out whatever I said about mother entirely. Just tell him the circumstances as you have done in the past. Constant reminding of the matter to him is liable to bring about a change of mind on his part. Mary is going home this summer, and she will make Father understand, I am sure.

I think she understands my point as well as anyone. Then she can have a heart to heart talk with him which is liable to bring about another point in his way of looking of things.

I do not dare to write father exactly what I have in mind, and so far no one knows the real significance of my wanting to go home, and chances are that no one will. I am ready to stay here another two or three years rather than let my thoughts be known. But when it happens, everyone shall know about it.

Personally--"just between you and me"--I am sick of studying, especially under regulations and routine. I think I will enjoy it if I am allowed to study whenever and wherever and whatever I please. But one can never get a degree that way. There are a lot of things which I will like to do but can’t just because I am tied down here with classes six times a week and staggering amount of work. Next semester I plan to take twelve classes and if they won’t allow me, I like to take ten. Anyway, I like to get in as much as I can in as short a period as I can. I realize that is not exactly the way to look at things, but I want to get through sometimes. However, I hope you will not tell father that I am sick of studying.

I hate to change my mind again. As you said that you were glad that I have decided that I want to go home. I have decided that long ago, but I never dared to make myself clear because I am afraid it might cause father to be uneasy. That was the reason why I wrote you confidentially last time as I am doing this time. I hope you have not divulged anything I said to anyone.

There are so many things that I want to talk over with you, and it is impossible to tell them all to you through one letter. I hope you will have a chance to come down to New Haven some time when you happen to be down this way on business. I am in the Law School Dormitory (Sterling Law Dormitory) room 2641. In the meantime, I hope you will write to Father and tell him just what you have told him in the past except with a little more emphasis. Tell him that you think I ought to have a little interval at home. He may refuse, but then the next time you or I write to him, he is just so much more converted to our idea. It will have to be a slow painful process, and by the time we succeed, it will be time for me to go home anyway, I think you will be rather angry at this letter, because of its uncertainty of tone. I can’t help that, I want to go home, and yet I do not want to offend father. If he has his heart set on a Ph.D,, he is just as firm in his convictions as we are in ours—hence the uncertainty. The last letter was father written purely from my standpoint and I did not take into consideration at all.

I don’t know what to think, and do not know what to do. I think you will have to do the thinking and doing for me. I am determined on my stand of going home, and I am just as determined to give father whatever he wants, and still I am just as determined to know for sure that mother is well and is not suffering too much--nay, none at all. What is the result, I do not know. Such is the condition, and I am afraid to say that I can’t solve it to the satisfaction of all.

At any rate, I hope you will write father sometimes in the immediate future and ask him. But please don’t bring in anything I said about Mother in the last letter, I don’t think father will like that. Undoubtedly it is a good argument, but I refuse to use it in urging father to let me go home, because, then, he is liable to decide against his own view. And I do not want that to happen. If father wants me to go home, he should decide in his own way. I hope you will understand.

I am afraid I will have some bad news for you soon. I will be needing some money in a few weeks. I have kept a graphic account of my expenses to the cent.

Sincerely yours


Thomas Sun


Phillips Academy


January 22, 1931


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