In my Keepsake Box is a ragged piece of notebook paper, folded into quarters, that came in the mail on Valentine’s Day 1966. Here’s what it said:
This little missive captured my 10 year old heart (in spite of the writer’s notion that offering five children and a menagerie of animals was romantic!) I immediately hid it away in the bottom of my desk drawer, and obsessively re-read it until I wore the paper thin with folding and unfolding. Even now, 40 years later, those carefully penned words of love have the power to bring a little lump to my throat.
Just a few years after receiving that letter, I would be the recipient of dozens more love letters, the letters that Jim and I wrote to each other on a daily basis during his first semester away at college. The 35 mile distance between us seemed endless, and envelopes stuffed with 8 and 10 page letters passed back and forth between our mailboxes every day. All those letters now reside in two shoe boxes, sitting side by side on a shelf in the bedroom closet, a record of that time in our lives when we poured our hearts out on paper, exploring emotions, and dreaming of our future.
My most precious love letters of all, of course, are the hand scribbled, crayon drawings proffered in my son’s grubby little hands. Like the one written on a half sheet of paper torn from a spiral notebook that reads “Mama, I love you sooooo much! I want to kiss and hug you! From your best boy in the whole wide world!” (followed by his full name, address, city, state, and zip code!)
That’s certainly why I’ve safeguarded all my love letters. Like miniature time machines, they transport me back to moments in my history, providing me with a tangible artifact that lets me connect with the writer as they were at the moment of writing.
How about you? Have you written and/or kept love letters? Perhaps Valentine’s Day is a good day to write one to someone you love 🙂