After my Nanie had passed in 2006, we discovered some letters that my Papa had written her while he was in the army. I had since put them away in an old chest, that was my Nanie’s, for safe keeping. However, yesterday for some odd reason, I felt the need to pull these letters out. Maybe because it was Memorial Day, but I had this overwhelming urge to dig through the chest and find them.
Their love story is something like out of a movie. They went to school together. My Nanie never really cared for him much. After she had graduated, she was walking down the street one day when my Papa saw her as he drove by. He yelled out his window to her and asked her on a date, to which she basically told him off and said NO! When my Nanie got home, she told her mom what had happened and her mother made her call my Papa back and accept his date offering. She told her that everyone deserves a chance. From that moment on, they were inseparable.
The year they became engaged, he was recruited into the army.
From the moment he left, he wrote her a letter nearly everyday. Almost every letter began with, “How is my sweet little girl?” and usually ended with, “I love you more and more my sweet.” This was usually followed by a P.S. that continued to say how much he loved her. He talked about life in the army. He talked about being on the ship that was taking him and his battalion to Korea. Mostly, however, the letters were just plain and simple love letters to my Nanie. He would talk about how he couldn’t wait to hold her in his arms. He would talk about how he couldn’t wait to marry her. He would say that he had “the cutest little girl in the world.”
As I scanned and read each and every letter, I could feel how much he missed her during those times and how absolutely honest and pure their love was. Now a days, it’s hard to visualize this type of devotion and anticipation to see someone you love and miss so very very much. His words were simple, but powerful.
He was honorably discharged in February of 1947 and they were married in March of 1947.
About 13 months after their marriage, they had their first child.
I don’t remember much about how my Papa was before his stroke. After his stroke he had a difficult time talking and walking and doing a lot of things for himself. My Nanie tended to his every need, never complaining. When he passed in July of 1989 at the age of 69, I remember seeing my Nanie’s whole world just crumble. I was only 9 at the time, but I still remember the despair and pain on her face. She lived 17 years longer and I still remember, before she went into the operating room, her saying how much she missed my Papa.
She was in the hospital for about 3 days after the operation, which ended up being a no go because the cancer had spread so far and so fast that there was nothing they could do except make her comfortable, before she moved on from this world to the next. I can only imagine how much joy there was when they finally were able to be together again. In some way it creates a sense of comfort for those of us still here, missing them both.