Love Letters from Carl
When the last hymn is sung and we are lovingly laid to rest, someone will go through our earthly possessions and decide what to keep; share with relatives and friends, and give away.
This was how I found my Mother’s love letters from Carl. She had carefully placed them in an album and kept them since 1945.
Obviously, she had not wanted to part with something that meant a great deal to her. Who was Carl? I do not know. My father’s name was Jack. Mother was also married to Archie and Al.
Carefully, I opened the letters, feeling a little intrusive. They were caring and somewhat poetic letters. Carl was a man who wanted to share his heart and his observations of nature. I was struck by one sentence that he underlined. “There is not a heart, but has its moments of longing for something finer, more nobler than it now knows” He was speaking of his love that for some reason they were not able to share on any permanent basis.
The longing to share was clear in another letter when he wrote:
Monday afternoon I felt as if I just had to get away from it all…so took off down near the lake, trying to relax and think. There, lying on my back, looking up at the sky through the branches of the trees (oaks_bare and naked) the sky was such a nice shade of blue. I remembered it was your day off and got to thinking of you_ and began playing the pretend game that children play_pretending you were there also. Suddenly, as if an unseen hand tilted the sun, it seemed to shine up from the ground and lit up the underside of all the branches_painting them yellow and gold. Where they touched the background of the sky, it was the deepest purple color. I remarked to you how beautiful it was, but realized you were not there. I learned then that the most beautiful things cannot be described, written or told…only shared.
The envelopes are turning yellow after sixty-six years. Mother was in her twenties when she received these letters. She was 93 when she passed away. These were real people with real lives ahead of them. There would be happiness and sorrow. Why did they part? What happened along the way?
Before my husband and I married, he was on a ship in the Persian Gulf, serving in the Navy as a Chaplain. We wrote love letters and tried to share our thoughts even though far away. I cherish these letters. They are carefully bundled and placed in my dresser drawer. Someday, someone will find them, just as I have found letters from Carl. Permission granted to read them and know that love and life…hopes and dreams were real.
Life has its twists and turns. Things change in our world. Not everything is for the better. It may be a little sad that what was carefully composed on paper; mailed and received …may be lost in our new world of emails and text messages. Generations to come may wish that they had love letters to handle and read that belonged to a mother or father. It is good to see the ink…to look at the handwriting…simply to feel and to hold. Thank you, Carl, whoever you were, for caring and for taking the time to share beautiful thoughts with the one you loved. We loved her too.