This letter was written by my father's sister, Lillian. She was 11 years older than he, so was 28 when this letter was written.
August 29th, 1947
N.Y. Daily Mirror
New York City, NY
attn: City Editor
Since the recent Tennis Tournament sponsored by your newspaper is now over, I feel I can now write you this letter; not for the sake of pity or sympathy, but as a human interest story and a personal tribute to Eddie Zeitlin, from all of those who know him. An American youth to be proud of for his courage, fight and will to succeed in anything he undertakes, despite his handicap.
He became the Tennis Champion of the Inwood district on his own, meeting his opponents on equal basis. He lost the borough finals like the "good sport" he is. . . No one of the contestants, nor your newspaper knew of this boy's serious illness, for he wished it that way . . . just a fair contest of youth against youth for the title of tennis champion. Yes, he lost but he's won our Gold Medal of tribute. . .
If you can bear with me I shall tell you a little of Eddie's story and why we think he rates a letter to your paper.
He has been seriously ill for 12 years of his young life, with an unpleasant case of "ulcerative colitis" . . . He's rallied from death's door so many times, when all hope was given up, only because of his great courage, fight and will to live. . . This is a difficult letter to write, as Eddie does not know of its writing and it is not our desire to publicize his handicap. He has a diseased colon, (need I elaborate on his handicap) and we, who love him so very much, have hopes and prayers that some great stomach specialist will take an interest in his case. Medical Science has performed so many miracles, we feel sure they can do likewise for Eddie, by removing the diseased colon, building an artificial one; thereby, alleviating his present handicap, and allowing him the right to a healthy and normal American Youth and Manhood, he so very much deserves.
Thru all of his illness, he has mastered his studies and is a #1 student. . . And it was with complete amazement that we watched him master the sport of tennis, despite his uncomfortable handicap. . . Will it ever be enough to say "God Bless Him Always", for the kind of a guy he is. . .
An American Youth with the will, the courage, the heart to fight for his own, the American Way of Life. If he can but have his health, then we shall be happy, for the rest he can do himself.
Thank you for your kind indulgence in reading this letter. And as a newspaper for the people, I feel sure you would be interested in this human story of Eddie Zeitlin, age 17, 686 West 204th Street, New York City, Tennis Champion of Inwood, and a courageous, wonderful youth.
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Copyright © 2007, All Rights Reserved, Marc J. Zeitlin
Last Updated: August 30, 2011