Saturday, July 11, 2009
The lost art of love letters.
Both of my grandparents (dad's) have passed away. My grandmother in 2005 and my grandad just a few months ago. My dad and uncle are slowly cleaning through their house. I went there yesterday to help dad sort through the memories. On a small table beside the door was a stack of letters that were now a light brown from the aging. I had heard of these letters but never read them. They were love letters from my great-grandfather to my great-grandmother when he was dating her. He worked for the Atlantic Railroad Station and wrote her so many letters that she saved. Here is one letter I found. My great-grandmother's name was Effie but we called her Deedee. His name was Joe but was "Dick" back in the day (both of my grandad's parents).
November 21, 1915
My dear, sweet Effie:
Yours of the 18th just received a few minutes ago & I sure did enjoy reading it. That was a funny dream you had about us. With that part of it, about us being married and having a little Dick was so true. If I can get a job that will warrant our support, want to get married right away & if I don't get the job we'll have to wait until Spring when I come back here. I would like to quit railroading & am going to make an awful effort to do so. Effie, I sure do want to see you bad. Seems like I haven't seen my darling in two years. I know there hasn't been a second since I left you, that I wasn't thinking of you & wishing we were together. I am not making much money now. Just about breaking even. Have only made $47 so far this month. Well my sweet sweetheart, don't know a thing, so will go to bed now & get a little hay. Will take my annual bath & Sunday shave when I get up. Am feeling all O.K. Be sure and take good care of yourself & and above all, don't work too hard. It sure does get my goat, when I think that my little girl has to work. With love and kisses.
I love his writing, his penmanship, and his eagerness to marry my great-grandmother. I love that he wants to be with her so badly that he is trying to line up just the right job so he can provide for her. I love that he says things like "my sweet sweet Effie" and "my darling." I was saddened that letters like this are so rare now. It made me realize that letter writing like this was definitely an art in our nation's past-time and that emails, texts, and facebook messages are now our primary source of communication. Whether it's through email, text, or letters, I think the most important thing is that "love" is expressed.....but the art of love letters is so captivating and just straight up romantic.
Hope this art never fully leaves.
Here's a pic. of the letter envelope.