Letter from Thomas Sun, New Haven, Conn., to Alfred E. Stearns, January 16, 1931


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Letter from Thomas Sun, New Haven, Conn., to Alfred E. Stearns, January 16, 1931


Letter from Thomas Sun, New Haven, Conn., to Alfred E. Stearns, January 16, 1931


My dear Dr. Stearns,

There is one thing which has been on my mind, and which I have been cherishing for the last three or four years, and this thing has never before "gotten” me as strongly as this year. To speak frankly and boldly I want to go home.

I have written to you several times previously concerning it, and I venture to bring up the matter before you again for any possible decision. I will have to admit that, for a man, I am a little sentimental, and the home always appeal more to me than it does to most men. For the past ten and a half years in the United States, I stayed in no one place long enough to enable me to call that place home—even Middlebury. I have now reached a certain stage and age when I need a home--a permanent home where I can be with my parents. I may be a little bit too young to speak thus, but one can not deny his most treasured desires.

As you know, Father and Mother are getting old. They have gone through uncountable sacrifices for my being here. I like to tell you everything, but that will be impossible--it is something very personal and private which I can not divulge. Therefore, I hope you will take my decision and think that it is the best thing for me to do, I have thought this over for the past three or four years, and after such a lengthy deliberation, I am bound to think that my decision is correct—inequivocably [sic] so.

You may think that since Charlie does not take the same attitude as I do, and there is no reason why I should want to go home any more than he does. To tell you frankly and most confidentially, my position is different. Why, I can not tell you. Beyond that I can not tell you, but I hope you will trust in my judgement in something in which I am vitally concerned.

I am not at all ashamed to say that I have cried some this year from sheer homesickness for Mother and Dad. I wish my English is good enough to tell you how much I want to go home, and what it means to me. To me, nothing matters except my home. I have lost interest in everything, and the work here is becoming to be a grudge, contrary to what I said to you in my last letter to you.

It is a grudge from which I learn little, because I have not my heart in it.

I can not help but think that Mother has not seen me for over ten years, and it will be, at least, eleven years before she can set her eyes on me again. I am the one for whom she has been living for--this I know--waiting anxiously, patiently, hopefully, and courageously to see her son come home a man of whom she can be proud. I left her when I was a child of ten. I have never been with my Mother at an age when I can appreciate her. Now I am old enough to understand and know what she means to me, and I do not want to be deprived of the most beautiful love in existance [sic]. The picture comes before me often--a picture which I have always remembered. When I was boarding a boat, which took me from Tientsin to Shanghai, I saw Mother crying in some darkened place so that she would not be seen. I did not even know enough then to go to say good-bye to her. Curse me! I did not even know enough then to cry. I did not even know enough then to realize that I was going away for eleven or more years. I did not even know enough then that I was not going to see her for a long time. After all, I have a heart. And that heart beats for my Mother. Am I to be denied of the person to whom I owe my very existance[sic]—Mother?

Since I received the news of the three deaths from home, I can not help but realize that my association with Mother was cut short by eleven years and may be more. Eleven years of the best part of my life--when I ought to be with her—when she ought to have me. Suppose the inevitable happens, and the last time I saw her was eleven years ago! Then, indeed, then, there will be little for which to live. I dread the thought of it, and yet I can not escape from it. God, give me strength.

I will lose nothing by going home. Home means more to me than any degree in existance[sic]—more than all the degrees put together. I can go home for a year or so and then come back again to finish my studies. If that is the condition under which I go home, I will keep it if Mother will come with me.

Can’t you do something? Something? Something so I can go home? Please try. I can not tell you what it means to me. I wish I can tell you everything, but it is impossible. Please do something, I beg of you.

Most sincerely,


Thomas Sun


Phillips Academy


January 16, 1931


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