(This letter to “Gramma Lindsey” was handwritten by Clinton Wade Lindsey on “Saturday; April 15th or 16th or something, 1994”. I copy it here verbatim from the original, given to me by my Mother, following Clint’s death on Easter Sunday, 1996.)
A Father’s note: While reading and transcribing this I learned a great deal more about my son’s heart. Clint was born on February 14, 1973 (St. Valentine’s Day). He was 21 years, 2 months and 2 days old on April 16th (Saturday), 1994, when he wrote this seven page letter to Gramma Lindsey. Clint lived not quite two more years. He lost his battle with “methamphetamine psychosis” on Easter Sunday (April 7th), 1996. This letter was written close to two years before his passing.
Hello there, beloved one!! I bet this letter is a “real shocker”. If my memory serves me right, I do believe that this could be the 1st actual “telegram” that I have ever single-handedly wrote for you. So surprise! It’s a message from the oldest grandson…”the cackling Clintster”. That is my ALIAS! My good friends have this nickname for me—it’s “Jamoke”. Don’t ask how they came up with that silly nickname. I believe Jonathan Jared came up with it out of his lengthy vocabulary of strange, invented words.
I am up in Arnold right now, at the Central Sierra Nevadas, sitting here in my thinking place; “The Gazeebo” (I think is how it’s spelled) at Kline’s Fitness Center, where my Mother is employed. I have a beautiful view from this here picnic table. Green grass all around, waving in this cool breeze and tennis courts (where no one is) and the big ol’ building wherein my Mom is inside giving a customer a massage. She has a real good reputation as a masseuse, up here; and she is happy, I believe, for the most part. She makes me proud, even though we have our mother-to-son, son-to-motherly squabbles. She has just moved into a new house that she is renting. I think she likes it. She lives with our three Cocker Spaniels: Bill, Audre Roze and the li’l girl hound, Gracie Jonez. They are so cute. I love them to shreds. My hound, Bill, has got himself a bad case of heartworms. It is $600 dollars for his treatments. A bit costly, so I don’t think he’ll be getting his medicine.
Bill is a tough li’l fuzzball though, so I have total faith he will make it through.
As for me, I’m staying around with friends for a few more days and nights. If I do correctly recall, my Gramma Myers sent you a picture of my new truck. Nice, eh? Too bad I hit black ice while I was up here. With the downgrade I was on (in my truck) and the speed I was going (35-40 mph, on a subdivision road at the back of town) mixed with ice slick, I lost all control of my vehicle and crashed into a man from Concord (in his car—a Mitsubishi Eclipse). I pretty much totalled my front end and barely anything happened to the victim’s car. Nobody was hurt, luckily (except my poor pickup). Luckily, I have full coverage and the victim’s car was repaired. My pickup has taken like two months to fully restore, but it is completed now and “boy, oh boy” does she look beautiful! Just like new, again—fresh new, white paint that shines and shines again. The only thing different is I had him leave the blue stripes off the side. That request saved me $80 dollars of my deductible. So, instead of 500 dollars I only have to pay 400 dollars to get my beauty back. I can’t wait, at all. I highly recommend Nissan pickups. She does everything I want and some. She gets 27 to 35 miles to the gallon in the city. I have electric mirrors, heat and air conditioner, 5-speed manual transmission, cassette stereo and windshield washers. She’s got the works, I say!
I love my pickup to pieces…just now, I know I will be a li’l more cautious of road conditions. So, other than dealing with getting my deductible rounded up, I feel I am doing okay. OK.
My brother is having some rough times though right now, I assume. He had his head shaved really short. I cannot wait to see it. He is staying in Oakland, since Mom moved and I guess he got himself in a bind. Or should I say “between the HAMMER and the ANVIL”! I miss him though, ALOT! It’s been at least two months since I’ve seen him. But I did talk to him on the telephone. He sounded OK, considering. I don’t think he likes it much in the big city. But when he was up here is when I saw “Big J” lookin’ the best. What we both need is some employment. Desperately!
Me and Jared…or lemme say “Jared ‘n I” have seen it all together.
From food fights in McDonaldz (where we plastered each other with a 14 dollar grease meal), to cruizin’ Grampa Myers’ faithful truck across the high mountain ranges, from fights in the bathroom which could’ve went to the death, to being best brothers, faithful till the very end… From parties to tragedy, living and dying, laughing and crying… From cabin fever to life in the fast lane; through love and through hate; we’re like welded iron up to the Pearly Gate. I wish my Bro were here with me now. I have a recluse’s eyeview of highway 4—from here I can see everyone who’s driving around. Lot’s of them are people I know. Most are people I DON’T WANT TO KNOW.
Jared shines through the meaning of the word (name) Brother on me…he will forever be. He is RUFF and he will prevail. We will prevail.
Wish you were here Gramma…I think you owuld like my thinking place. It is peaceful. Not only that…I MISS YOU! I barely get to see you or to talk to you, but I’m quite sure you will like this “telegram”. In fact I know you’ll love this letter—and it gets longer.
I had a nice talk with DAD today in Mom’s office on the phone. I miss him, too. I always have. And I will always love him, but we don’t get much time with one another. I’ll always treasure my memories of us doing fun stuff like rafting and boating, camping ‘n good ol’ times like those. I just wish he could’ve been with me ‘n Jonathan all of the time. He is not just my Dad; he’s my partner, as well; and if it came down to it, I’d back him 100%, as it is. He is not only my partner, he is my hero in many ways and I look up to him as a Brother, as well. And, although, we are not together all the time, it will always be this way in my eyes. There is so much we still have to share with each other and my brother, and so many more days to have more good times and laughs and food n’ the good ol’ great outdoors. And I know 100% that my DAD wishes he could’ve lived every day with me n’ my brother, in our quest of manhood. But I don’t want there to be any regrets or ill feelings about any of it—Because me n’ Jared are solid in our love and respect for our DAD and, like I said, we will prevail. I love my Dad and Barbara, too, and I love my sisters too, alot, and I am proud of them, too, and it makes me very happpy to see them both grow from two li’l BRATS into two, beautiful, intelligent, young women.
I can remember the day when Erin (or Stephanie) was born and I take PRIDE in being their Ol’ Brother, no matter how much I disgust them.
The year that I lived with Dad in Petaluma was the best, the very best year of my life. I wish that I could’ve stayed there. Me ‘n DAD were tight like best friends and I value that friendship more than I value any other. It is one thing to be a big old grungy, big brother; but it it a whole different feeling to be friends with your father. It is a bond that will only become strong as iron and shouldn’t ever be lost track of or chipped at. And even if these feelings should crumble, I will always feel the same.
I strongly believe now that we do need each other—without Family what else is there? Lonely faces on an empty shell. I wish I could say these things to my DAD, but it would be hard—I know that he feels the same. There are so many things that I pray for. And visions and dreams. I can picture my DAD with us at our stomping ground “Mount Lassen Territory” with our trucks ‘n knives ‘n food and fishing and hunting ‘n hiking ‘n story and joke telling with my brother laughing and grinning and being happy with me playin’ guitar and DAD playin’ his harmonica playin’ the blues or some rockin’ ramblin’ style country licks. I can see it so clear I can taste it.
I dream of my DAD playin’ with his granddaughter “Heaven Leigh Kaelani Lindsey”, your great-granddaugher; my daughter, the love of my life, where all my heart and soul and dreams ‘n wishes go and smiles to her in silent lucidity. I wish you could see her, Gramma. You would be filled with joy. She is goin to be three on May 19th and I’m going to get her something very special. She is SOOOOOO smart and can say lots of sentences ahd she has the biggest, bluest eyes and long brown hair and a joyous sense of humor. She is the spitting image of me, but made beautiful. I will be with her very soon.
As soon as I can support her and her Mommy “Lydia”…you met her once when you came up here. Do you remember her? She is so gorgeous to me that to picture her smile ‘n her big green (hazel) eyes and her firm, li’l sleek physique makes me want to melt. She has the biggest heart and soul that I have ever found of a woman. Her artistic talent is professional and she has a scholarship for college. She was valedictorian in Junior High and High School, even raising my child.
Heaven can even write her name in capital letters. We had loads of laughs last time I visited them. Lydia is a true friend and perfect mother. The only thing Lydia can’t do is drive a car. There’s always time to learn though. I will be with them real soon. I am hoping and praying that I have a job and a place by May 19th, so my li’l girl can be with her DADDY. I know her Mommy would want the same. Together, we can raise a beautiful lady. My little lady. She loves me so.
I guess Heaven saw a pickup like mine in their town, Modesto, and she started to cry because she misses me. I am going to make a point, as of now, to bring my li’l family down there in my truck just so you can see my Princess. So keep thoze words in mind, because once I get on my feet and get this all underway, I’m going to get directions from my DAD and I’m gonna come down to spend a li’l bit of time. Who knows? My DAD will probably come, too, and Jared…but for sure, me ‘n Heaven are going to come down so she can meet her family. I know Uncle Jeffrey want to see us. I know you all do!!! I want to see you all, Too…SOON!!!
Welp, my hand is tired and I’ve been writing for a good two hours. It is 4:19 p.m. and this is Clinton W. sittin’ up here in Arnold, California, Central Sierra Nevadas, enjoying the shade ‘n a mountain fresh breeze; signing out…
Bye, Bye Gramma…
Stay cozy and happy and say “hi” 2 everyone in our dear family…K — O.K. This letter brings lots of love and good wishes!!