Statement by Joseph Spetly, Data Systems Manager, and Barbara Spetly McClung, Elementary School Teacher
As to the lie about the family: We, Joseph Spetly and Barbara Spetly McClung, brother and sister, refute the bald lie that study of Aesthetic Realism is against close relations with members of one’s family. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
While there is much to say about how our own relationship as brother and sister changed, how our individual family and professional lives are flourishing, we comment here on what our study has meant to our parents and grandparents. We have always been, both before and throughout our study of Aesthetic Realism, in close contact with our family, have spent much time with our parents in suburban Connecticut and made numerous trips to visit our grandparents and family in the Midwest and Canada. We frequently assist our father and grandmother in various ways, including through home improvement projects and accompanying them to medical appointments. And we regularly get together for barbecues and sporting events, and take trips together.
Through our Aesthetic Realism education, our relation with our parents has only gotten deeper. We learned to ask who they are—to see them as part of the whole world in relation to literature, art and more, not just in relation to ourselves. We came to see them with the respect and dignity that are deserved by all people and things, and for the first time they felt that we really wanted to know them, that they could trust us. This affected them very much and the “family feeling” among us, the real thing, has grown larger with each year.
Today we each have a relationship with our father, Joseph Spetly, Sr. that we cherish. At holiday gatherings, almost without fail, he heartily expresses how glad he is that we are together and are able to have the feelings of love for one another that we do. And while he does not study Aesthetic Realism himself, on August 16, 2002, he traveled to Baltimore to celebrate “Eli Siegel Day,” where he met Class Chairman Ellen Reiss. With tears welling up in his eyes he said to her, “I can’t thank you enough for what Aesthetic Realism has done for my children.” Clearly, to say the least, he respects our study!
Something that profoundly affected all of us occurred several years ago when our mother, Dolores Spetly, was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Through what we had the tremendous good fortune to be learning from Ellen Reiss in the professional classes she teaches, we were able to meet this situation in a way we respect ourselves for. Of course we made sure that she had the utmost in medical care. We also wanted to know what she felt and what could strengthen her most. Two months before she died, Dolores Spetly wrote in a letter to Ms. Reiss:
“I am grateful for my children’s study of Aesthetic Realism and to Eli Siegel. I am bearing the fruits of their education now—my heart is overflowing with the love and care they have shown….I am conscious I want to be useful to people. This [illness] brought out things in me that would not have been, and I can honestly say Aesthetic Realism has done this for me because I never would have been this kind to people.”
To this letter, Joseph Spetly, Sr., added the following postscript: “Truer words were never spoken.”