tency here. “You can accuse me ofnbeing a bleeding heart,” the local newspapernquotes Keeshan as saying,n”but … we should be raising ournchildren to be good taxpayers.” It’s thatnsimple. ccnHerbert Schlossberg, an investmentnadvisor in Minneapolis, is the authornof Idols for Destruction: ChristiannFaith and Its Confrontation WithnAmerican Society (Thomas NelsonnPublishers).nLetter Fromnthe Heartlandnby Jane GreetnSome of us come later in life thannothers to . . . well, to adulthood. Inwas nearly in my 30’s before I had evennan inkling of the realities of civicnresponsibility or how to be a friend ornwhy I should fasten my seat belt ornhow to keep my temper. I grew to wishnI’d paid more attention in history andnFrench classes and been more pliablenduring my decade of piano lessons.n(My mother is avenged; she told me I’dnbe sorry.) And I finally began to understandnsome things about that deepestnroot of all conservative flowerings:nmarriage.nNow, I’ve seen good marriages andnbad—more bad than good, in mynestimation, but then I’ve always beennunreasonable. I had a bad one myselfnand lived to laugh about it. All my life,nit seems, I’d watched various peoplenbully or nag each other, cheat or trynto, chafe and fret and complain untilnI’d nearly decided on a monastic vocation.nYet many of these same peoplenhave been married — and to eachnother—for longer than I’ve been alive.nThere had to be something to it, ornwhy would so many attempt it repeatedly?nUntil my enlightenment, marriagenwas, to me, an empty socialnceremony, functionless; private commitmentnwas what really mattered,nand tenderness, and I’d seen too littienof either.nBut something hit me during thenchore of copy-editing 1,500 pages ofnnearly illegible (and nearly illiterate)nfamily histories for a miniscule NorthnDakota town’s centennial book. Manynof the writers—children, grandchil­ndren, and great-grandchildren ofnpioneers — merely listed names andndates and places which melded behindnmy eyes after the first plodding hour ofnediting. A few enthusiastic souls (hadnno one ever asked them before?) setndown accounts of adventures they’dnlived through or been told about earlynpioneering days on this wild edge ofnthe North Dakota Badlands. But evennthese tales, although they differed fromneach other in content, were identicalnin style, brimming with the samenphrases and perceptions regardless ofnthe writer’s nationality.nStrangely, for me, I found thisnsameness beautiful: a clue, perhaps,nthat I’d grown up enough to appreciatenthe similarity in which lies community.nThe littie town I read about was notnmade up of half a thousand eccentricsnbut of the whole cloth—a strong,nrough homespun — of Englishmennand Norwegians and Hungarians andnGermans-from-Russia and Scots,nCatholics and Lutherans and Congregationalistsnliving pretty much identicalnlives and agreeing pretty muchnabout what mattered. And for no reasonnthat I can think of except the gracenof God, I was struck with epiphanyneach time I read the words “life’snmate.”n”Lars worked at the elevator for sixnmonths until he learned English; thennhe persisted until he found a life’snmate, Lina, our grandmother, andnthey purchased the south half of thennorth half of Section 86, where ournson still farms.” “Magdalena and hernlife’s mate, Frank, brought into thisnworld 17 children (four of whom diednin infancy), from which there are nown111 grandchildren and 326 greatgrandchildren.”nLife’s mate. Thenphrase sounds trite now, laughable,nnearly anachronistic—but these writersnmean it literally. Back then—backnonly a littie ways, so close that we cannalmost remember it ourselvesn—people did marry “for life”: that is,nin order to be able to live.nFew bachelors or spinsters prospered,nand when they grew ill or old,nall they could hope for was the charitynof neighbors. A man needed a wife: tonkeep house while he worked the fields;nto help with the farm, if it were to benprofitable enough to support them; tonkeep him from promiscuity. A womannneeded a man to coax the uncompro­nnnmising clay on land they both wouldndie for. And they each needed childrennto help them work. It wasn’t childnabuse; it was family. Hard work wasnnot only our harsh sentence in thisnvale of tears but our nourishment andnjoy. And marriage was a matter of lifenand death.nThese littie accounts I was forced tonread happened neither long ago nor farnaway, yet they seem to belong to somenbrave lost time. For brides and grooms,na wedding is always necessarily full ofnprivate excitement and forgivably selfishnpleasure; that is human nature andnhas a purpose. But the rings of weddingsnused to travel outward, wideningninto the community where the weddingnbecame important in a muchnmore concrete way. Today’s weddings,nlarge and small, are almost purelyntheatrical, for show; the bride andngroom ask neither for the blessing ofnthe community nor for its support.nGuests come merely to wish the couplenwell (for perhaps the second ornthird time), not to promise their helpnFormer U.S. Permanent Representativento the U.N. Jeane J. Kirkpatricknanalyzes the “Kennedy-KhrushchevnPact”, the 1962 agreement that guaranteednthe security of Fidel Castro’snregime, and asks what the implicationsnof a similar accord betweennWashington and Managua would benfor the Western hemisphere. InnEnglish and Spanish. $3.00.nCUBAN AMERICAN NATIONAL FOUNDATIONn1000 Thomas Jefferson Street, N.W., Suite 601nWashington, D.C. 20007nAPRIL 1986/53n