Letter from Thomas Sun, New Haven, Conn., to Alfred E. Stearns January 3, 1931


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Letter from Thomas Sun, New Haven, Conn., to Alfred E. Stearns January 3, 1931


Letter from Thomas Sun, New Haven, Conn., to Alfred E. Stearns January 3, 1931


My Dear Dr. Stearns,

I received a letter from home yesterday and the contents therein gave vent to rather sad feelings. It occurred in the family three deaths consisting two aunts, who had been living with us ever since we were born, and our third sister, Dorothy.

The news took me by surprise, but I managed to keep rather composed. I guess the ten or more years in the States hardened me to face such circumstances. However, I do feel deeply affected by it, but, at the same time, I did not go into hysterics. What is worrying me is breaking the news to Mary. She, being a woman, naturally will take it more to heart.

Originally I planned to have a face to face talk with her, but she is, at the present moment, sick in bed, so I told her over the phone about the deaths of the two aunts and refrained to disclose the news concerning Dorothy. I did not expect that she will go into tears to receive the news which I did give her. I thought that, being a nurse, she will look upon death because of old age is a natural thing, but she did not apparently think so. But, I am sure that in a day or so, she will feel much better and will be cheerful again. But to tell her about the death of Dorothy will be real difficult, because she is so young when she passed away, and also because they are such good pals. I shall use my discretion in doing so. But on the other hand, since Dorothy passed away last April, I see no reason to tell her about it right away.

I went to the New Haven Hospital this morning and had an occasion to talk with the Director and Superintendent of nurses and they were very kind to me.

I arranged matters with them so that Mary can have a few days off if she wishes.

But if she insists upon staying on duty, I have also arranged to have her put on call duty thus leaving her little time to mourn, in which case, she will be fully occupied for the better part of the twenty-four hours of the day.
I did all this all within my own responsibility, because I think it is best for her. Being her brother, I feel that it my duty to look after her although she is older than I. I think, under such circumstances, my judgements will be better than hers because of her softer heart. However, I think a cheerful letter from you with no mention of the deaths will also add much to her disposition.

In the mean time, I shall do all I can to cheer her up. I plan to take her to a concert given by Roland Hayes, the famous Negro tenor. I am sure it will be a good thing for her. I shall also see her to-morrow after she comes off duty.

I am getting along nicely, although the work here is very difficult and volumnous [sic]. At the present rate I am goin [sic], I see little chance to finish so as to receive my degree ahead of time as I originally planned. But with a little work during the two summer vacations to come, I hope to achieve some toward that end.

I have had several talks with Mary concerning her future after graduation from the hospital. I am of the opinion that she wants to go home in June. Personally, I think it is the best thing for her. Because of the acute unemployment situation in the nursing profession, it is rather difficult to find the position she wants. If she means to remain in this country, I strongly believe she will have to take a position at the New Haven Hospital under contract for at least one year, which she has no intention of doing. It is almost next to impossible for her to secure a position at some other hospital either in New York or elsewhere, because of the fact they all have their own trained nurses on their registry. Furthermore, she will be able to secure a better position in China where nurses are in great demand, and her value there will be of greater opportunity for her.

As for myself, I am ready to do what Father says. I have been in this country so long now that it is of little importance whether or not I stay another year. However, I am looking ahead anxiously---to the day when I shall embark for homeland. After all, I have a home there where Mother is waiting, and she is getting old, and also Father. That is my field of my future work, and I can never neglect it too long.

I am moving either to-day or to-morrow to my new quarters in the new Law School dormitory which has just been finished. I am sure I will like the room there, because I shall be right in the midst of intellectual surroundings which undoubtedly will give my greater incentive to work. The house where I am staying is rather distanced from the library or the classrooms where I spent all my time, but my new quarters is only next door to the new library and it will be immensely more convenient.

I had an occasion to go to New York for a two-day vacation during the Christmas holidays and found out to my surprise that I can speak Chinese much better than I expected of myself. However, I am still painfully ignorant as to reading and writing. I hope, in time, that will also come back to me with some practice.

I hope you will have a very successful 1931. Please give my regards to Miss Clemens and Marjory. I am

Very sincerely yours


Thomas Sun


Phillips Academy


January 3, 1931


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