Will Hays and son outside their
A letter from son to father, October 1, 1926.
Together again at a camp by Lake Michigan in Muskegon.
"I received your telegram about not coming home and it makes me mad, by heck!" So begins a letter from then 10-year-old Will Hays, Jr. '37 to his father.
As Republican National Chairman, Postmaster General of the United States, and President of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, Will Hays, Wabash Class of 1900, spent most of his days away from home and his young son.
That separation did not diminish the affection father and son had for each other. Their numerous letters are included in the book Come Home With Me Now, in which the son defines their relationship as that of an "apart-close father and an occasional-always son."
Here's a composite of two letters from his father, written in December of 1925 and February 1926, after reviewing his son's report card.
I have been studying your report for last month and am delighted, indeed, to note that you have advanced from G-plus to Excellent in spelling, reading, geography and history.
In arithmetic I note that you have held your own. To hold your own is good, but not as good as you can do. Anything that is worth doing at all is worth doing well, and we will have to jump on that music thing just as hard as you tackle Maurice Lee in football.
I realize that music is not a necessary equipment of a good lawyer or hard boiled businessman, but music helps the soul, improves the taste, softens the disposition and has been an inspiration through all the ages.
The only thing in the report that worries me a little is the self-control grade, which seems to have slipped. If a man can't control himself, he can't control things. He could not even control a pony. To succeed a man has got to control things, and I know you will, just as I know you are going to: a) stand up straight; b) get fat quick by drinking a lot more milk and eating a lot more green vegetables.
I appreciate your splendid grades and assure you of my absolute knowledge that you can and will clean up the few weak places. I will be home in a few days for Christmas and we will have a great visit.
You are and will continue to be always the source of my greatest happiness.
Will H. Hays