Sixty one years ago, today, January 23rd, my Gran & Pop were married.
In the fall of 2013, my aunt let me borrow all of the love letters my Pop wrote to my Gran in 1951/1952. He was in the army and stationed in Massachusetts. He had already been to war (the Korean War) and lived through some incredibly difficult things. Yet the sweet, young, and even a touch naive tone of his letters amazed me as I went through. I adored reading his words in a way I didn't know him, and anticipating what my Gran probably was writing back to him (since we don't have her letters).
I've gone back and forth about sharing these next stories, but they feel significant, so I'm going to. A few odd things happened to me (and my husband rolls his eyes when I tell these stories) however, when I received the letters they seemed out of order - things in the wrong envelopes, mostly. I categorized all of them, put them in the right envelopes and even made a check off sheet with each one. I put them away to take back out a few days layer. When I took them back out they were 100% out of order again. No one touched them. Letter #14 was in #2's envelope, not simple misses, but huge incorrect ones. I put them back together again... but it just felt odd. I'm a logical person. I'm an organized person. I make mistakes, but I don't put #14 in #2, ha!
To continue... I took pictures of all of the letters. I really took my time, doing just a few on any given day... so I can thoroughly read them, and take special care to shoot the details. Finally, after months of doing this, I was ready to create a book from the 200+ images I had shot, edited, viewed. I even typed up each one with his words, misspellings, etc. When I went to the file with all of the images, there were only 20 files in the folder. The rest were gone, just gone. Like I said, I'm organized - and that includes digitally, too. I haven't ever lost a client's images or personal images. I double back everything up to both an online site & a 2nd external hard drive. These images were G.O.N.E. Take from this what you will - but quite honestly, I don't lose files. Anyhow, I reshot all of the letters in one afternoon and it probably saved me time in the long run because it was a bit more orderly, better consistent light, etc. But it's still strange....
My Pop passed on my birthday, in 2007. My Gran is still here with us. They were/are really fun and loving grandparents, each with a bit of an edge to their personalities - helping to make me the fiery and passionate person I am today. I have so many wonderful memories - drinking coffee when my mom wouldn't let me, eating ice cream for breakfast and frequent visits to the dollar store with my Gran (she got a dollar store allowance from Pop). The way my Pop sat in one spot in their kitchen and him coming into the house, in the fall, in his referee uniform. In his older years, I once put all of his beer in the basement so he'd have to get more exercise. Everyone in the family recalls him being "so mad" at me, but he wasn't. It amused him, I saw it in his eyes. He knew I loved him. Their home was the first place I drove my car to when getting my license and that same home is now my sister's.
The two of them... they loved each other, alot. They could also argue and fight like the best of 'em! He began most of the letters with "My Dearest Darling" and in one even told her he'd "never have been drunk in front of her if he knew she would be there and that he swore to never do it again"... let's revert to how I put his case of beer in the basement so he'd get exercise... These are just so neat to read and makes me connect with their thoughts and actions even more.
Thanks to the internet I learned some new acronyms: SMRLH - "Soldiers Mail Rush Like Hell"
So what did I do with all of these images? On Christmas I gave my Gran a book of all of the letters. Artifact Uprising has these beautiful, simple, and old world feeling softcover books. I knew they'd be the perfect choice. I printed the books in size 8x6. They are wonderful and I got a few copies to share with family.
The will forever be together in Sea Isle City...