Coping with the Dawn of a New Age
Roger’s health was generally steady, but he still required an intensive shot regimen. He maintained a very satisfactory relationship with his doctor, who was even willing, at times, to barter for his services – on one occasion receiving an emulsifier that Roger built for him. Roger’s vision started to worsen, and he began to diagnose and theorize as to the nature of his condition. He gained a great grasp and understanding of the activities which made his asthma worse and continually reminded his associates and friends of his general need to take things easy, declining a great number of invitations and activities because of difficulties relating to his breathing. The asthma shots had several side effects that affected Roger, including the weakening of his teeth, but he also required more frequent injections when stressed by the presence of others or after overtaxing himself. The adrenalin shots also began to affect his work, as they contributed additional shakiness to his hands – and he would at times need both hands to hold the pen, “one to steady the other.”
On a lighter note, Roger was simply smitten by The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, books by J. R. R. Tolkien. He often mentioned what he was reading to various friends throughout his life, but the Tolkien books surfaced much more frequently in his correspondence during and after his time reading them. A particularly structured quote that appeared most often when talking about the books, albeit with slight deviation, was as follows:
“I read the trilogy of The Lord of the Rings about a year ago and was indeed entranced. The one magic property of the rings which isn’t mentioned in the work is the fact that if anyone can read about a hundred pages of any of the volumes, he is under a spell and condemned to read it all. Now I am reading The Hobbit, which is the introduction to the trilogy – but I like to read things backward. I hope you don’t think I have gone off my rocker. But I was always a sucker for fairy stories and consider the best of them quite adult fare.” (May 14, 1967)
Well into his retirement, Roger experienced several difficulties in working with the new federal social security system. He was also constantly plagued by accounting errors during the decade, both in terms of compensation for various projects and work, as well as missing issues of several subscriptions. Nearly all of the errors tended to be related to computer software, vividly portraying Roger’s experience with and shift into the computer age. After years of referring to the “idiot box” with critical indifference, the Haywards finally broke down and acquired a television set, after which various letters were sent to television broadcasters by the Haywards about their programming.