| July/August 1977

R. R. 2, Brandon, Wisconsin 53919

When another growing season comes upon us once again it is indeed true 'that hope springs eternal in the human heart; Man never is, but always to be blest.' These lines, which came to me early on a Sunday morning in late April, sent me into a quest for authorship.

Browsing through a few of my over five hundred books I was amazed to find so much of Alexander Pope's writing in the poetry section of my library. I have been missing something extraordinarily helpful by not reading this man's work. He was born in 1688 and lived only 58 years.

The account of his life call him 'strangely misshapen, hunch-back, dwarfed.' He acquired a curvature of the spine, and some tubercular infection which limited his growth. This seriously impaired his health. His full-grown height was four feet and six inches. He was mainly self-educated. He eagerly read Latin, Greek, French, and Italian, which he managed to teach himself. And he was an incessant scribbler.

But as I continued to search, I found a man of tremendous stature. He is described as being 'nearly always ill, often petulant and spiteful. Pope was, nevertheless, loved and respected by his peers.'

We who live in a well-formed, reasonably comely body, know very little of what the deformed and ill face every day. I planted two trees and four shrubs this past week, and believe you me, it helps to be strong, tall, and tolerably heavy when you are pushing a spade or fork into solid sod. When I remember how I used to resent being such a 'big girl' I am ashamed. After a winter of massaging my husband's back and muscles I have developed some lively muscles of my own. So I was all set for spring's work. I am happy to report that Mr. B. is just fine after knee and hip replacements.


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