Monday, September 9, 2013

Yeah Write: Long Lost Love Letters

photo credit:

My friend came from a large Italian/Irish family with six kids. They didn’t have nearly enough nickels to rub and were squeezed into a seriously small flat in Queens, New York. He said life was chaotic in their household.

His mother was gregarious, the life of every party,  and Irish. She laughed, danced and told a great joke.

His father was soberly reserved and unemotional. A man who gave his son $100, shook his hand and wished him good luck as he drove himself to college in Milwaukee.

Both have been gone since long before I even knew him.

He said one of his sisters recently found a box of old letters. Love letters between his parents.

One letter stood out as special. Completely unexpected. There wasn’t enough opportunity, he explained, for outward displays of affection amidst the constant comings and goings of his family. It was dated after all six children were born.

The small block print of this letter told a different story. It detailed the deep love and desire a soberly stoic man had for his beautifully extroverted wife. Even then. During the frustration, disorder and confusion they called daily life.

As he shared more about the letters with me, I saw happiness radiating from him. And the romantic in me was intoxicated. I am in love with love letters.

His story immediately got me thinking of how exciting it would be for our children to stumble upon such private sentiments of love between their father and mother after we are gone. Words documenting our feelings for each other during decades of marriage. There are plenty of them.

But then I remembered there were other letters out there too.

Letters that were not between him and me but between me and someone else; someone who once held a special place in my heart. These letters, I sent to my best friend over twenty-five years ago asking her to keep them safely tucked away because I wasn’t ready yet to terminate their existence.

What if they resurfaced someday?

What if we are, all three of us, gone and they find their way back to our children’s hands?

What if? What if? What if?

A sense of panic washed over me.

That’s not what I want.

I want them to unexpectedly discover our love notes when they are parents themselves. To understand even though we seemed stressed out more often than not, we were very much in love. Even though we argued (mainly) over parenting and especially when they were in high school, we loved each other no less. To realize no love is perfect, but still beautiful nonetheless. Their father and mother had a romantic love that sustained a half-century or more. To feel intoxicated and proud in this knowledge.

That’s what I want.

I’ve never asked her if she still has those old letters; if she’s ever read them (and I wouldn’t care if she had). If she does, I will ask her to shred them so they cease to exist.

I need to call her.

This was written for Please wander over following this link. You won’t be disappointed with what you’ll find there!


Robbie K said...

Love falling in love with the idea of children finding the love letters.

Stacie said...

What a nice thing to find! We don't write love letters, but maybe we should. Instead we send silly texts.

Unknown said...

I like how this post sort of meanders back and forth in time.

Unknown said...

So beautiful to have letters like these and you wrote about it so beautifully. Sometimes to find some flaws with ones parents isn't such a bad thing--it would just mean that you loved someone else first, but I understand the panic too, ha. Thank you for sharing this.
xo Mary Jo

mryjhnsn said...

I want to go write a letter to my husband right now!

Anonymous said...

And often it's easier to write down what we can't express every day, those feelings that get drowned in the daily grind. Thanks for the reminder!

Christie Tate said...

This makes me want to write more letters!

psychochef said...

I too love love letters! Several years ago, our local bookstore had a Valentine's Day event that was focused around the reading of love letters. It was one of the coolest things I've ever been to. The letters ran the gamut (funny, sad, sweet, sexy, longing) - so awesome!


P.S. Don't you want to have one last glance at those old letters of yours before you have your friend destroy them?

Lizzi said...

I never got into love letters particularly. Perhaps I'm too much a native of that sad, digital age, where everything of import happens via email.

But the letters you wrote, if they were real and meaningful - don't destroy them, but write another now - an update, if you will - and ask her to keep it with them, to explain to your children, when they are adult, if they come across them, that this was all Past History.

A very touching tale.

TMWHickman said...

I think that letter writing is a lost art. It used to be a big deal, waiting at the mailbox for a letter. Now everything is instantaneous and gone in the blink of an eye, never to return.

This was beautiful!

Linda Roy said...

How wonderful to find another side to one's parents than the one that was only known during childhood and to see an even more human side to them. Just lovely.

Kir said...

Well first, I loved the way you wrote this, how you got us to the "meat", it was romantic and telling. I love a story of a stoic man that has love, passion, desire in his heart for his sweetheart.

I love that the children of that union, even if it was decades later could see that between the parents that raised them...but as for the other letters. Is it okay if I disagree with you shredding them, can we still be friends?

I didn't meet and marry my husband until I was 31 (married at 33) and I lived and LOVED men before him. Men who shaped my life, my heart, who supported and cared about me. Men who loved me and who I LOVED with my whole heart at that time in my life. If my sons knew that , knew about the men before their dad that wouldn't hurt me or them. I was a young woman, I was capable of feeling deep feelings and great desires (and yes even for someone beyond their dad) and I don't want to be ashamed of that or have them hear about it and feel shame for me.

I am teaching my children that the people they love are going to be very lucky indeed just because they cross their paths and were part of their lives for a short (or even a lifetime) of time.

I loved this piece, but Please don't shred those memories, they made it possible for you to be the wife you are today and the friend that I adore.


Gina said...

Oh, Robbie! I was so enthralled with his story. Especially letters written by a man who no one thought had great emotions

Gina said...

That is so cute. We text but it's usually more functional texting. We see each other a lot so there is little need for calls or texts.

Gina said...

Thanks, Shmoo. I'm happy that came across. It was meant that way.

Gina said...

I get that too. There may be some explicitness in them that I might not want them to read. I probably shouldbcheck first. Thanks for the visit, Mary Jo!

Gina said...

Do it!

Gina said...

You got it. The stuff that gets drown in the daily grind is exactly how to put it!

Gina said...

You should. I think I like writing them even better than getting them.

Gina said...

That is so awesome Karen!!! Where is this book store?

P.S. I very much have mixed feelings about doing that.

Gina said...

I have a love/hate relationship with the digital age. I'm old enough to miss what once was...

That is a fantastic idea. We all have a past. Makes us who we are.

Gina said...

Ought! The sometimes excruciating pain of the waiting. I remember it well, mostly in college! Same as waiting for that phone call (instead of a quick text). Nothing to savor it seems!

Thanks so much, Tina!

Gina said...

Sometimes, I think, that generation (the one before me) didn't share as much detail about their personal lives as we do now with our children. Maybe that's just me. Of course, not everything like deep seeded feelings and emotions. Thanks, Linda?

Anonymous said...

That is such a sweet story. Love Letters are a lost art we need to bring back!

Jack said...

If my children came across love letters to or from someone other than their mother I would hope it would be at an age where they understood that I loved and lived and lost and that is ok.

Like Kir said, it helped make me who I am. Certain letters are probably best left unfound because they don't need to see the details of some things, but I am cool with them knowing I had a very full life.

Gina said...

We can always be friends!!! Kir, those letters mean too much to me. At the time I heard the story, one of my first thoughts was about the "old" letters. I worried about our love legacy.

What I didn't add is that m daughter has met he person who wrote them (Hello, you!) and I did some explaining. She's almost 23. She gets it. Plus she has a boyfriend herself, whom I believe she loves. If he isn't her "forever", he is still par of her personal history. That is truly how I feel about this.

I won't lie. I was panicked for a bit about them. I nned to check with her.

All my mistakes and successes, friendships and loves, contribute to who I am. That makes me happy.

xox right back!

Gina said...

I agree!

Gina said...

At least one has that sor of detail. That one probably. The few others are from a very good, romantic letter writer. My kids strongly suspect a very full life from mommy dearest!

Anonymous said...

I love this! Our daughter recently found a silly card of two children sharing one umbrella (caption You hold the umbrella, I hold you) I gave my husband on our 3rd date. I hadn't even known he kept it!

Gina said...

THAT IS FANTASTIC!!!! I love it! See, that's exactly what should happen.

Unknown said...

After being in relationship with Paul for seven years, he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that don't believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I meant a spell caster called Dr. Cuba and I emailed him, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything. CAN NEVER STOP TALKING ABOUT YOU SIR. CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS.

Adele said...

It’s no secret that a man’s ego has a powerful pull on him.

In fact this hardwired need to impress and to WIN is so deeply embedded into the male mind...

That nearly everything a man truly desires is based around this biological “drive” to prove, succeed and to win.

It’s why so many men become workaholics, gym junkies or become obsessed with their hobbies.

But what most women don’t know... how deeply this “drive” is connected to his love, desire, and attraction for the woman in his life.

And I’m about to show you how you can “tap into” a man’s ege to refocus that same drive and gut level obsession...

...on pleasing you, romancing you, and proving his love for you like you’re his sole purpose in life.

Here’s how: ==> The “Go Ahead” Signal That Makes Him Obsessed With Winning Your Love

Mr Gix

P.S. When you tap into a man’s ego this way, you can cause him to literally become obsessed with proving his love for you. So please don’t use this on a man unless you are ready for something serious.

Thanks again.