Don’t call me Pappy!

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” –  The Great Gatsby

I stumbled across a series of selected letters written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Some addressed to friends and others to his daughter; Frances Scott ‘Scottie’ Fitzgerald. In particular, there was a letter he wrote to Scottie at the age of 11 whilst she was at camp that caught my eye. Such wise and touching words from father to daughter. However, this is also a sad reminder of the lessons that Scott Fitzgerald himself never learned. By the time he wrote this letter, he was suffering heavily from alcoholism and his health was deteriorating rapidly. I found it quite amusing and in parts, endearing. Below is an extract from the letter:

August 8, 1933

Dear Pie:

Have had no thoughts today, life seems composed of getting up to a Saturday Evening Post story. I think of you, and always pleasantly; but if you call me “Pappy” again I am going to take the White Cat out and beat his bottom hard, six times for every time you are impertinent. Do you react to that?

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage
Worry about cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship…

Things not to worry about:

Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions

Things to think about:

What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:
(a) Scholarship
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?

With dearest love,


Scott + Scottie

I particularly love that he tells her not to worry about popular opinion or dissapointment unless it comes through her own fault. It is understandable advice and ones that I try to live by.

What advice would you give to your loved ones?

3 responses to “Don’t call me Pappy!

  1. Pingback: That really was the Cat’s meow! | The Velvet Lady·

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