Posts Tagged ‘Richard Nix’

Three Engineers Named Rounthwaite


19 Apr

engineer

The Engi­neer’s Case

samplex

Date: Sat, 19 Apr 1997 11:56:21

I apol­o­gize for the intru­sion, but after stum­bling across the name, I was won­der­ing whether you are the George Roun­th­waite, for­mer­ly of Hous­ton, TX, a sur­vey­or (engi­neer), or are you per­haps his son, Robert, whom I knew to be liv­ing and work­ing in the Red­mond area?

I am the for­mer Richard Nix, now Gabriel Thy, liv­ing in Wash­ing­ton, DC, but I won’t bore you with sen­ti­ments except to wish you good health and fine pur­pose. If you are not this Roun­th­waite clan, I apol­o­gize again.

Part Two…

Yes, that is the same Robert I knew as a young boy of 8–9 way back in the late 70s. His father, George, whom I con­sid­er one of three post-parental men­tors of my ear­ly 20s had a debil­i­tat­ing stroke about five years ago, and from what I gath­er over a cou­ple of very awk­ward phone con­ver­sa­tions and a short jum­bled let­ter he is still reluc­tant­ly estranged from the fam­i­ly he loves very much. When I saw your name on one of the Inter­net Reg­is­ters (I for­get which, already, sor­ry), I was hop­ing on a long shot that George had relo­cat­ed to Wash­ing­ton in the care of his son Robert, who does indeed work for Mis­ter Bill, and had embraced the Net. It’s been about eigh­teen months since I last talked to him. My sin. I’m afraid I have few com­fort­ing words in my vocab­u­lary. Thanks for your offer of locat­ing Robert’s phone num­ber, but I think I must decline your gen­eros­i­ty. I have not seen Robert, or George for that mat­ter, since 1980, and frankly I would find a cold call to him rather unnerv­ing, not to men­tion how he might feel. I am much more com­fort­able with E‑mail in cer­tain, well no, MOST sit­u­a­tions, and real­iz­ing the Roun­th­waite fam­i­ly unit as some­what in ill-repair, I hes­i­tate to step in.

Actu­al­ly the whole tale goes on for some twen­ty or so pages in an unpub­lished nov­el sit­ting on my hard­drive, as secret­ly as if it had nev­er been writ­ten, because nat­u­ral­ly, being of sound mind and not mere­ly out for kicks, there were con­tribut­ing facts both pri­or to and after the utter­ances and the writ­ing of the name, as you might imag­ine, but since I hard­ly dare bore you with those details at this point in our com­mu­ni­ca­tion, I’ll just say thanks for ask­ing…
It was aston­ish­ing­ly dif­fi­cult even talk­ing to George. Four­teen years had passed before I called him out of the blue back in 1995. You see, old friend George is a hard­core Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ist, a very bright, very well-edu­cat­ed man who sought to please God more than the most strin­gent the­ol­o­gy can ever per­mit. The very pas­sion of health and fit­ness, George suf­fered his stroke rather pre­ma­ture­ly while still in his ear­ly to mid-fifties. It is my per­cep­tion, not with­out hints of val­i­da­tion, that his inten­si­ty for reli­gion final­ly cracked both his fam­i­ly ties and his phys­i­cal well-being. It’s a very sad tale of which I was hop­ing a reunion had over­come…

As for the name change oper­a­tion, it’s quite a long sto­ry, but the short ver­sion is that after a peri­od of twen­ty months or so of utter­ing on a whim to strangers in Cor­pus Christi TX when­ev­er I was being intro­duced that”…my name is Richard Spald­ing Nix, but I’m in the process of a name change oper­a­tion,” the deed was final­ly accom­plished on Novem­ber 13, 1983 in Atlanta when I wrote the line in a poem that “I took the name Gabriel Thy…”, a day that also hap­pened to be my moth­er’s birth­day, what­ev­er that has to do with any­thing. It was only three days lat­er, after going back to edit the poem that I actu­al­ly noticed the line for the first time. “Eure­ka!” I shout­ed, and the rest is his­to­ry. Actu­al­ly the whole tale goes on for some twen­ty or so pages in an unpub­lished nov­el sit­ting on my hard­drive, as secret­ly as if it had nev­er been writ­ten, because nat­u­ral­ly, being of sound mind and not mere­ly out for kicks, there were con­tribut­ing facts both pri­or to and after the utter­ances and the writ­ing of the name, as you might imag­ine, but since I hard­ly dare bore you with those details at this point in our com­mu­ni­ca­tion, I’ll just say thanks for ask­ing…

Yes, Gabriel Thy is my legal name now, since 1984. Being the cre­ative sort who tries to live by the strength of his words (fail­ing mis­er­ably of course), while sport­ing this nasty habit of try­ing to coerce oth­ers to live up to their own, I took the plunge and made it offi­cial. But life goes on, under any name, and any ban­ner, and it’s a damned shame God is such a mys­te­ri­ous force in the his­to­ries of man, offer­ing much con­so­la­tion and pom­pos­i­ty to so many and so much pain, so much con­fu­sion to so many oth­ers with­out rhyme or rea­son to sift out the dif­fer­ences…

GT

S A M P L E X

"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""


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