Valentine’s Day has brought back memories of the love my parents had for each other. I really never remember my mother and daddy exchanging valentine gifts or cards but the proof of their love was all around.
They met sometime in early summer of 1943 just before he was shipped overseas to fight in WWII. It was on a Sunday afternoon in a small pharmacy and soda shop much like the one on It’s a Wonderful Life. My mother, one of her sisters and a cousin were on their way to Centennial Park in Nashville and stopped in for a soda. A group of soldiers came in from Fort Campbell and started talking to them and asked if they knew how to get to the park. Of course my mother, sister and cousin said they could walk along with them. From that day forward my daddy was smitten!!!!
He was shipped overseas several weeks later and began writing my mother letters. She kept all of his letters throughout the years and would never let anyone read them.
At one point, a few years before she passed away, I asked her about the letters and she said she was going to destroy them. She didn’t want anyone to read them for fear we would think they were silly. After a lot of begging and promising we wouldn’t read them until after she was gone, she agreed to keep them. When we were going through her things after she passed away, we found the letters as well as a lot of other memorabilia from, my sister, her grandchildren and me. I got the letters and took them home. I began reading them and it took me a week and many tears to get through them.
I knew my daddy loved my mother but until I read those letters, I really didn’t understand how much. He wrote her for over two years and with each letter you could see his love growing for her. He was in the 101st Airborne Division of the army and needless to say very busy but he found time to write her and profess his love more and more with each one. He spoiled her, even evident in some of the letters, and I can never remember them having an argument. I’m sure they probably did but I never saw it. He worked hard to provide for his family and she did also. He would get her up every morning and have her coffee ready as well as her bowl of “Cornflakes”. He would get home every day before she did and have the coffee waiting and most days would cook supper. Don’t get me wrong, she did her fair share of work around the house but daddy took care of her.
Mother returned his love in so many ways but it was no more evident than after he suffered a stroke in 1990 and she took care of him until his death in 1993. He was bed ridden after his stroke and she saw to his every need. She sat by his bed hours at the time and read or crocheted to bide the time. His stroke affected his speech so their conversation was limited but even then he would reach over and pat her and smile. He was her everything! She thought he was the smartest, hardest working, most humble and giving person she knew. She was lost when he passed away and never got over missing him.
That kind of love, smitten forever, should always be present. It was a great love story in my eyes and I’m sure my sister and the rest of our family witnessed it the same as I did.
Happy Valentines Day and I hope you are struck by cupid’s arrow!!!