Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Gift of Letters

I received an amazing treasure a few days ago. I found bundles of letters, probably at least a hundred, written by my father to my mother. Some were written during their courtship and early marriage, in 1937-39. And the others he wrote from the Philippine Islands and the Admiralty Islands where he was stationed with the Navy during 1944-45.

I cried many buckets of tears while reading the love letters. They have shown me a side of my dad that I didn’t know existed. I always knew he adored my mother, but I never knew that he was so articulate about his love, as I see in those first letters. He was always soft-spoken and a little shy—I guess, around everybody but her. He died in 1988.

I wrote an article about the experience and submitted it for a contest connected with a literary nonfiction conference. I really would like to win a prize—but if I don’t, it won’t matter one bit, because I mainly wrote it for my family. My mother has read it several times, and she said she felt romanced all over again by him.

The value of such letters and personal journals is inestimable. When we leave those records of our thoughts, straight from our hearts, we are giving our families—especially our children—a piece of our living selves that they can always keep. What a wonderful gift.

3 comments:

ts said...

do you think you could post your essay on your blog if it's not too personal. oh, by the way, i got the job we had prayed for!

Judy Callarman said...

I am so glad you got that job! Congratulations. Prayer works!

Well, about my essay--when I submitted it to that contest, I had to sign a voucher saying it had not ever been published anywhere, including web sites. So I guess I'd better wait and see about how it fares.

ts said...

i see. fair enough!

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