The Construction Project
Thursday, November 11th, 2004
Once upon a time, when Tod was about eleven years old, his family lived in a rented manse in Toronto, Ontario. After a summer spent in the heights of a pine tree, Tod and his friends hit upon the idea of constructing an underground laboratory in our backyard. They were well into the digging stage when we discovered what was happening and of course, we immediately discouraged them from continuing, but they insisted. The boys had visions of a huge underground room, well lit, and fully outfitted for elaborate and secret scientific experiments and they were not going to be deterred by mere parents with so much at stake.
Fortunately, we thought to point out that since Dad was on a temporary assignment in Canada, our home was rented from the church next door, and permission would have to be granted by the church board for such a project. Tod admitted that he hadn’t considered this and agreed to write a letter to the church board. The following is the response he received from a very wise member of the church’s board of trustees:
Here is the text of the letter for those who find the image hard to read:
This will acknowledge your letter of October 30, 1980, regarding the construction of a small underground room in the back garden of the manse.
Careful consideration has been given to your request. However we are somewhat at a loss as to the purpose of this excavation that you propose. If it is to be a bomb shelter we believe the seven foot thick ceiling would be inadequate for maximum security. Furthermore the cost of installing adequate support columns would be enormous.
The time of year is also an important factor. The ground will be frozen in a few days and such an underground room, even if it could be safely constructed by you young gentlemen at this time of year, would be extremely cold and uncomfortable.
May I suggest that instead of undertaking such a project, which would also probably require a building permit from the municipality, and which might also be very detrimental to your parent’s lawn as well as the nearby shrubbery, that you obtain any physical exercise you may wish by jogging and then curl up with an interesting game or enjoyable book before the fire-place in your parents’ recreation room.
Wisth best wishes to all of you, I remain
Very truly yours
Board of Trustees.