November 12, 1968
Dear Joyce and Ken—–
Thank you so much for your recent concern—and the warm thoughtfulness expressed in your message to me while I was at St. John’s hospital.
Unfortunately, I seem to have overmatched myself a little; too many messages to answer properly—and insufficient energy, as yet, to get the job done. It was a rough operation and I have a hunch it will take a lot longer to get over than I had at first imagined.
In any case, just remember I wanted to say “thanx”—-and next time I’ll try to do better.
Robert Taylor (signature)
This letter was written a month after Mr. Taylor had surgery to remove part of his right lung. He was very dubious about being “cut up” but Mrs. Taylor convinced him that it was the right thing to do. The incision ran from his chest around to his back and Mr. Taylor used it to scare his son Terry away from smoking (successfully).
What impresses me so much about the letter is the complete lack of self-pity. Robert Taylor was eight months from death and his concern was for others. He actually apologizes to Joyce and Ken for not answering them sooner. His excellent manners lasted until the end.
The legion of whiners in Hollywood, in Washington and all points between could really learn a lesson in courage from Mr. Taylor. His generation is often called of the “Greatest Generation.” Robert Taylor was a good representative of that generation.