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Letter from Bill Wilson to the Burwells
August 8, 1960

Box 459 Grand Central Annex
New York 17, N.Y.

August 8, 1960

Dear Rosa and Jim,

Very sincerely I feel not a little badly that the Convention gave you, and perhaps other very old timers, an unhappy experience because of the lack of recognition.

When you wrote me, not too long before the Convention, about the possibility of an old timers meeting, I did check this up.  The schedule was then in pretty air-tight shape, so far as the official sessions went.  Perhaps I should have followed this thing through more fully, trying to get some sort of informal meeting together.  As you know, Hank got awfully sick just prior to the Convention.  This threw added burdens on me.  I must confess to neglect and forgetfulness - at least to some extent.

As a matter of fact the Convention ran a little bit behind several thousands, we don't know just how much yet.  There was always a question of how many people we could bring long distances pre-paid, and on what ground we could fetch them.  In this connection, I did [not] give you and Rosa much thought because you near by.

But I did think a good deal about Henrietta Seiberling and Bob Oviatt in Akron, both of whom preceded you, I think A.A. wise.  Admittedly, I did not think of Clarence.  Probably this is because he has always disapproved of conventions and all of the doings of the New York headquarters - off and on he has had us under bitter attack for years.  I didn't mean to let that effect me, but subconsciously maybe it did.

In any case, you will surely remember that I tried to give all possible credit in "A.A. Comes of Age" to you, Bert, Dorothy, Clarence, and a great many others.

Considering the time at my disposal, I did not see how you people could have been introduced in either of my talks.  In the first one I could only show the bare beginnings of A.A. In the second one - which was altogether too long - I had to dwell on the development of the Traditions.  I really don't see where you folks would have fitted in - at least to the satisfaction of the audience in that respect.  Naturally I had to bring in Ebby because despite his lack of soberiety he was at the very beginning.

Sister Ignatia was certainly due for a bow after all these years.  After all, she and Smith ministered to 5,000 drunks - a number far greater than you and I ever thought of touching ourselves. 

In this connection I also felt not a little sorry that Henrietta wasn't invited. There was not only the question of cost.  Though she has been extremely friendly during the last two or three years, it must be remembered that she has never cared for the convention idea and indeed, was against the whole New York headquarters operation for many years.  For several reasons she wasn't invited.  Maybe that was a mistake.  I know that, for one, I was damn sorry she wasn't there.  However, I wasn't the entire boss of this whole undertaking, by any means.

I don't know whether you and Dorothy got to say anything at those Alkathon meetings.  Some of them were very outstanding indeed, and apparently rated much higher in many A.A. minds than any of my efforts.  If you were not invited this [is] surprising indeed, considering how prominent you, especially, have been out on the Coast, well known to everybody.  If this was  an omission, it certainly gives me cause for wonder, as doubtless it does you.  However, those arrangements were all made by the Coast people.  Nevertheless I suppose if I had been thoughtful enough about it - which I wasn't - I might have taken pains.

I guess the upshot of it is that life never gives quite the deal we would like. On one hand, you say that you suffer from lack of recognition, and I can say with certainly equal fervor that I greatly suffer from far too much.

Ever devotedly yours,

/s/ Bill


Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell
4193 Georgia, Street
San Diego, California

Index of A.A. History Pages on Barefoot's World

As in so many things, especially with we alcoholics, our History is our Greatest Asset!.. We each arrived at the doors of A.A. with an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That Do Not Work" .. Today, In A.A. and In Recovery, Our History has added an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That DO Work!!" and We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it!!

ABC Page 60 -- Barefoot's Recovery Pages



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