About 10-15 years ago, my sister, Sandy, was rummaging through our mom’s cedar chest. She came across some letters written by Mom to Dad right after they were engaged. In other words, the week after they met. When Sandy started to read them, Mom got really upset, told her they were personal, and took them away from her.
Later, when Mom wasn’t looking, Sandy sneaked out the letters. And thank heavens she did. They were rescued from the big fire and we have them to treasure. They mean even more to us now that she’s not with us. Tonight I will share one with Dad again, providing I can get his attention away from his computer screen game of Hearts.
Mom and Dad were introduced by Dad’s sister, a college friend of Mom’s. This was right after Christmas, 1946. Dad was back from the war and Mom, having graduated BYU, was continuing her education and working in San Francisco. She’d come home to Idaho for Christmas and then headed down to Provo, UT, to meet Dad. Their first date went great. But before their second date, Mom’s sisters, who were by now back in school in Provo, ratted Dad out because he’d taken another girl to a school dance in between the dates. When Dad picked Mom up she was pouting. He told her not to pout because he’d decided to ask her to marry him. She accepted, all was forgiven, and she went floating back to San Francisco while Dad prepared to move out there in February.
Here’s a part of one of her first letters. With the internet, it is now available to all, not just Sandy. Poor Mom! Sorry about that! Lucky us! (And I swear I can hear her saying, “You kids!”)
“January 26, 1947 – Sunday evening
Writing is a lovely way to spend an evening – especially when I am writing to you – but I do admit an evening could be more exciting and so lovely if I were spending it with you personally. Gee, Darling, only two more Sundays alone – and then you will be here. Really, it seems like I have been here a long long time, instead of just a week since I left you. I certainly was thrilled to talk to you on the phone Thursday. Perhaps I didn’t sound too thrilled talking to you – but Tony, my throat was choked up – & all I wanted was for you to be here, holding me in your arms – ….”
Imagine, almost 70 years ago–letters referring to long distance phone calls. Today we have all the impermanence of emails, texts, voicemails and Facetime. What are you preserving for your posterity? What will your children sneak out of your house to remember you by? For me, I love seeing my mom’s handwriting again. She was a young 22 year old country girl experiencing the Big City and a sudden engagement with stars in her eyes. As one of my folks’ 7 children, I love this! Thanks P.I. Sandy!