THE LETTER – dec 2010

Last summer my daughter, Candace, and I drove from South Dakota to Ironwood, Michigan, my hometown. We went east to attend my late sister-in-law’s funeral in Hurley, Wisconsin– just across the river from Ironwood.

The funeral gathering was a kind of reunion. My nephews and niece from Arizona were there along with a lot of friends and other relatives from the Hurley area.

My niece, Maria, brought along some pictures of my wife from her school days, and a mysterious crinkled item in a large Zip Lock bag. Maria invited me to sit down on the sofa, and then slid in on one side of me. She handed me the clear plastic envelope. In it was very flimsy, folded paper. I reached in and retrieved a love letter I wrote my wife back in October of ’46.

Candace and a few others were standing around the living room watching as I unfolded the treasure. A friend of Maria’s — a girl I didn’t know — was sitting on my other side. When I unfolded the letter and realized what it was, I couldn’t read it. I just held the prize and thought back to the time I’d penned it and the place in my life it represented. My wife-to-be, Audrey, was finishing up her nursing studies in Chicago and I was at home in Ironwood.

I sat for a while lost in reverie. The young lady sitting next to me could see the letter and I guess read the first part. She began to cry!

I did read part of the letter but decided to put it back into the protective sleeve and finish it in private.

Suddenly it was time to get ready for the funeral, so Candace took charge of the letter and photos.

Le (Aug.’10) adds, “Somehow when we got back to South Dakota, Candace forgot to give it to me before heading to her home a hundred miles away. Anyway, she called and said she will get the letter back to me soon.”

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