Putting together these letters was something I really enjoyed doing. It was a way to honor my parents with their actual love story that they wrote out.
These letters remind me how vibrant and loving my mother was as a teenager. I know how she was as my mother. I knew her as a caring and loving person. She was strong and stubborn but had a good moral value of what was right and wrong. That is the woman I know. She could make almost anyone smile and would take a sincere interest in almost anyone she talked to. She would remember their conversations for a long time.
When I read through these letters I realize that she too was a teenager full of puppy love. Someone who was still learning her way in the world and hoping to have a soul mate to spend the rest of her life with. It’s amazing how most of us think that times are so different now but I know so many people looking for the same thing.
Love is a common denominator that most everyone needs. They wish to find love in someone or something. As young children we think we fall in love with anyone or anything. As we get older we become more guarded and let our beliefs get in the way. Somewhere we lose the passion for simple things that can bring us joy.
Did you ever go into a bad situation and think about how to be thankful? I have to tell you I went to visit my mother the other day and it was all I could do. For those of you that don’t know she has dementia and it is in the late stages. She had no idea who I was. She is wheelchair confined because she can’t get up and she is mentally lost. She is around 90 years old, and it is hard to visit her this way. I stayed for over an hour but let me tell you it wasn’t easy.
She is just not aware of what is going on but she wasn’t very talkative. It is hard on days like this. It makes you want to run away. She did let me hold her hand which was nice. There was no conversation. She could not even comprehend what I was talking about. She looked at me like I was a complete stranger. One thing I learned to do was bring up the past, old relatives who were long since dead, but even this did not work. She was completely oblivious to that and didn’t seem to know anything I was talking about.
The one thing that helped me through the time with her was the fact I remember what she was like and all the good times we had together. It sounds crazy but I still can sit with her and think of what she was like when I was young. I can remember all the advice she gave me when I would be growing up. I still how she would cook for us and what Sunday afternoons were like. She would often make fried chicken on Sundays for lunch. She would make sure we had plenty to eat. I was able to look at her and appreciate the past, the woman I remember.
You may think this is trivial but at some point of your life this will be a cherished memory. I really am grateful for all the memories that I have. I know she lost her memories but I still have mine so I thank God every day for them.
One thing mom did while she was younger was write things down in a diary and keep them. She saved all those old letters she received. Some of them I don’t understand but the others mean so much to me. I am glad that I have those memories and that I was able to keep them.
Pictures are a great thing as well. It lets me look back on her life and see how they lived before I was born, so interesting. I get to see the woman she was and the woman I remember. I can’t change the present but I can cherish the past.
Thank you for listening and please, take some time to learn about dementia, especially if you know someone who has it.
I am thankful for the time I had with her, no regrets! If we can think this way and appreciate people for who they are, then we are doing something right!
I looked over the love letters in the book and I realize how the 1940s were so different. They were a time when communication was so important. You had to be able to put all of your feelings on paper. You had a chance to write them down and then read them to see if they made sense. Since the only way to get someone a letter then you had to mail it. Put it into an envelope and then put an address on it, then your return address, then a stamp.
In the 1940s you need to put some extra time into the plan. You not only had to write, but to send it by putting it in the mail box. Today we rarely think of a written letter and mailing it. I know I don’t except maybe to some relatives. Back then for a love letter to reach someone it took time. Maybe only a day or 2, but sometimes, in the 1940s, you would see someone before they would get the letter. So you may be talking to someone about something that they don’t know anything about. Think about that, mentioning something that they don’t know anything about because you see them before they read any mail.
So love letters in the 1940s were very romantic. I can imagine if a girl would put perfume on the letter or envelope how much it must have meant to the guy receiving it. Can you imagine how excited they would be when they could smell the perfume before they open it. WOW! What a feeling it must be. I don’t think that will happen with email. You would be lucky to get the XOXO because most adults are too embarrassed to express their feelings in something that can go viral. What a shame! It’s one thing when someone will show another a letter, but when an email can be passed to thousands of people in seconds, it really changes the landscape of what you will share. Of course if you see the news you hear about today’s teenagers that send embarrassing pictures of themselves to someone, and look what happens. What a shame that the meaning of the love letter is wasted and someone feels a nude picture to someone they really don’t know well becomes the new love letter.
Just a few thoughts.
So where I live I just lost power for over 30 hours. I complained but after an ice storm there isn’t much you can do, except maybe move. We were lucky because I remember how many people in the northeast lost power for weeks last year. It is a major inconvenience, but we were OK thanks to my fireplace! We kept it burning all night and day and we did alright. I had to go somewhere else to work because I work from home but I need the Internet to do it. So I worked in a coffee shop in a grocery store where they had hot tea and free internet. Not to mention some awesome eclair.
I thought about this experience, and when my parents first got married power was a luxury. You had to plan for winter, and if you did have power then it wasn’t stable. Can you imagine, maybe the lights will stay on during a storm, but probably not. You just had lamps and candles and kept the fire burning.
So this is how they lived, oh, let’s not forget that when they dated they didn’t have indoor plumbing. So, raining and snowing and very cold, they had to go to the bathroom outside! In the cold, so when you did your business, you didn’t mess around! To the outhouse and then back to the fire. Can you imagine that this is normal? Well back then it was normal, the normal way of life.
So they also had to have plenty of food somewhere near the house. Most people had cold cellars to keep the food in. They also kept water on the fire all day. My mom had a propane stove, even back then, to keep the food warm. My aunt had a coal stove, which she cooked on even when I was growing up. Hot or cold, the stove was lit! Think about that! In the middle of summer she had a coal stove going to cook!
So I quit complaining about the loss of power as I sat by my fire with the candles lit. I was so grateful for all that I had. I was in a nice house, warm, and I have plenty to eat and drink. Life is good!
I often read the letters in my book to contemplate how hard it must have been back then for everyone!
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You know, even back in the 1940s kids had drama. I guess I should say problems and that they would make issues bigger than they really are. However, to a kid, these all seem so real! Things are so real, that is until they are history, then they don’t seem like a big deal. Isn’t it funny how perception is so strong in our lives. If we think that someone is mad or upset with us then we worry about it. We get so much stress thinking how something might turn out. Trust me I had a lot of things turn out bad and you know what I came to realize, I had no control over most of it. I just didn’t. That doesn’t make it any easier or take the pain away, but it keeps from worrying about something I can’t change. Remember the serenity prayer;
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
by Reinhold Niebuhr
So when thinking about all the problems you have today, and when you blame technology, get a grip! Do you think that in the 1940s people were living a simpler life? Maybe they had all the same drama we have now without the technology and more time to dwell on it. Get a glimpse of a young teenager’s view firsthand. Just because there wasn’t today’s technology doesn’t mean teenagers didn’t have drama, read about it firsthand at http://astore.amazon.com/midageguy-20 in the love letters collection.
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