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My grandparents, Mildred and Roger, kept everything. When Roger died in 2000, I inherited all of the family photographs and Mildred’s cedar chest along with all of the ephemera it held. Consequently, I have the holiday cards my father, Chilton, and his brother, David, sent to their mother; letters that Mildred received from her brothers …

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I never had the pleasure of riding in an airplane with my father or of going on a trip with him that didn't involve hitchhiking. In the mid to late 1980s, when Chilton’s parents, Mildred and Roger, were both still alive, Chilton made annual trips to visit them in Arizona. Because he had more time …