Monday, July 7, 2014


The first letter in Margie's file of my letters to her. Months
before, while I was overseas, I had written another letter,
which she never received. I had also sent her a Christmas
card in December, 1945, which she did receive. 
        Margie and I saved all the letters we ever wrote to each other. She had numbered and put my letters to her in chronological order, beginning with one I had written while still on board ship at the end of World War II. I had arranged her letters to me in chronological order as well, and all of our letters were stored in shoe boxes in the basements, attics, or closets  of our various homes. The shoe boxes were neatly packed in a much larger box, which was carted off by different moving vans, untouched and unopened, along with our other belongings, as we moved from place to place. In the nearly sixty-six years we were married we lived in 14 different apartments or houses in five different States.
        When Margie’s terminal illness was diagnosed, I brought up the boxes of letters from our storage bin in order to search for a particular letter I had written to her after we had been dating for some months. We both remembered the letter because it was the one in which I first told her that I loved her. In fact, it was the first time I had ever committed myself to any girl, especially in writing. It was easy to find, because Margie had "starred" it.
        No one but the two of us had ever seen any of our love letters, but I intended to make copies of that one letter for our children, after Margie died. I wanted them to know when, how, and why I fell in love with their mother. My good intentions were postponed, however, because of all the
other things that had to be done following Margie’s death, and because of the tremendous amount of catching up I had to do. I had had to let go of many things, while fulfilling my role as Margie’s primary care giver. That's why for months I had been posting very few articles on this blog.
        A couple of weeks ago, in anticipation of another article I am planning to add to my historical series on the Princeton Nassoons, I was looking through some of my early letters to Margie to confirm the dates of certain events. At her request I had postponed writing the article while she was still alive. Margie was a very private person. But browsing through some of the letters convinced me that I should scan all of our letters to each other and make copies for our children. The letters contain so much interesting information about what was going on in each of our lives and in the world about us. I have begun that process and have now scanned all of my letters to Margie and am about to start on her letters to me.
Some of our letters to each other. I had transferred them
to plastic containers.
        A few nights ago I got out the boxes, sat down at the kitchen table, and began reading our letters to each other in tandem. I had hesitated doing that, because I was not sure I was emotionally ready. I can be easily moved to tears when I accidentally come across one of Margie's marketing lists or a note she had written to herself. I expected the wistful memories aroused by my reading the letters in that way would be too emotionally upsetting.
        I was completely mistaken! Those were the most comforting three hours I have had since she died. I felt as if I were speaking with Margie, as I became completely absorbed in our on-going dialogue. It was amazing! I could almost hear her voice saying the words I was reading. I was feeling the same emotions I had felt when I wrote the letters sixty-six or sixty-seven years ago, the same love. It was not the sorrowful love I have been feeling ever since she died, a love seemingly unrequited because of my constant awareness of her absence, her permanent absence.
        But as I was reading our letters to each other I actually felt Margie's presence. She was right there, not visibly of course, but somehow there with me, whispering her words of love to the ears of my heart. Her love was no longer just a beautiful memory; it was being powerfully communicated through her hand-written love letters. I was experiencing her love again. I cannot begin to do justice to such an ineffable experience. My words are inadequate.
        I hope, nevertheless, that my attempt to describe this experience will encourage you who have lost a beloved wife or husband to read the love letters you wrote to each other. Let yourself become totally absorbed in the process. Lose yourself in your letters and you will find yourself amazingly comforted, knowing how much you were loved and feeling you are still loved, even as you loved and still love.
More letters to, from, and
about Margie
        So far I have read only a portion of Margie's and my letters to each other. It will take me many hours to finish reading the rest. Most of the letters were written before and during our engagement, and in the early years of our marriage, when because of the children she was unable to accompany me on my vocational travels. In later years, when our children were "out of the nest," our occasions for writing were fewer and farther between, as I seldom went anywhere without Margie. Rarely were we ever separated for even a day or two.
        I'm sure that the final letters in the boxes will reflect an even greater love, a love seasoned with gratitude for the gift of loving and being loved for so many years.  
        How well they deserve to be called love letters!

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