There’s History in Those Love Letters

Of course I never knew my maternal grandparents when they were kids because well, that just wouldn’t be possible now would it?

Grandma & Grandpa in 1936

Grandma & Grandpa in 1936

My memories of them are when they were in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

They were extremely hard working. They were running the all-in-one store/tavern/gas station in their small town. Plus my Grandpa was a farmer raising cows and tobacco. My Grandpa was a big burly man with muscles like an ox. My Grandma was a slight little thing with a ton of energy.

When I think of my grandparents I don’t conjure up images of romance. They certainly had a union that worked and I thought of them as a great team. They raised four children together and shared plenty of hardships and victories with one another. But I’m sure I never saw them kiss or hug. I never overheard an “I love you.” There was no gift giving among the two and no elaborate anniversary celebrations.

But I know how in love they were. I have the proof. I have a handful of love letters my Grandpa wrote to my Grandma when they were courting. He was 23 and she was 17. My aunts have the originals and my mom made me a binder of copies of them all.

When my grandparents were courting my Grandpa was a school teacher in a one room school house and my Grandma was still in high school. They lived a few towns apart so were only able to see each other on the weekends.

Enjoy reading the following letter my Grandpa wrote my Grandma and see how their love started and went on to create their family and many more generations. Their legacy lives on even though they are no longer with us. I have their memories forever in my heart and I have these words to know that my family was built on true love.

March 23, 1936

Dearest Charlotte,

Well Monday is almost past and all I can say is that it was just another blue Monday.

The kids were real good to school today, and I didn’t have to keep fire either so that helped. I had a new scholar to school today. It was Bobby Crumerine. He sure is the berries. He came up to my desk and asked me why I didn’t come over and take Marie K. to town anymore. I didn’t know what to say.

Gee I wish I could come up, but I don’t know when I will get to. I think I will have to take Dad to Viola tomorrow night.

George said he wasn’t going to Viroqua any more this week so I suppose I will have to come alone.

I sure wish you were coming home this weekend. I am afraid it will be an awful lonesome weekend.

It is almost eleven o’clock and I am sitting here thinking a lot and writing a little and all I can think about right now is you.

I am just wondering what you are doing. Probably out with some darn nice guy, and thinking how foolish you were to go out with me.

You said you liked me a little, but I just had a feelin you were foolin, but I hope not for I like you so darn much. I have been wondering whether or not it was love, but I guess it can’t be for I haven’t broken out with a rash yet although I have been looking for it.

I must close for it is getting my sleepy time.

With All My Love,

Eddie

P.S. Please Excuse Scribbling I can’t do better I wasn’t cut out to be a writer.

Page 1 of Love Letter

Page 1 of Love Letter

Page 2 of Love Letter

Page 2 of Love Letter

 

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71 responses

  1. I didn’t know these letters existed. I’d love to read them all. I have never heard grandpa referred to as Eddie before, by him or anyone else. Kind of gives him an all new spin on the young man that he was. I like it!!!

  2. So sweet! I love looking at pictures of my grandparents when they were my age, and wondering what it was like when they were falling in love and starting their families. Your collection of letters is quite a treasure–in fact, they are “the berries”! I like that expression, too, especially with my two small “fruit-itarians” in my home. I don’t know where it is now, but my mom has told me that her paternal grandma, a strict but kind German, passed away peacefully while writing a letter to her family in the front of her Bible.

    Your post also makes me lament the loss of handwritten letters in this age. Perhaps it’s time for me to send out a few!

    • You know, you’re right…the words are so good just themselves but actually seeing their handwriting is very special too! I have tucked away a lot of my grandparent’s and great grandparent’s things that have their handwriting on them! It’s just a little piece of them!

  3. Oh! you are so lucky to have these 😉 your grandpa was a romantic one 😉 love this part of the letter :” I sure wish you were coming home this weekend. I am afraid it will be an awful lonesome weekend.”

    • Yes, these words definitely show his frailty and vulnerable side. Knowing him as an older man I would have never guessed these qualities about him. He appeared to me so strong and serious. I think that’s why I love these letters so much!

  4. Pingback: I SIT AND I WONDER « hastywords

  5. What a wonderful gift to have these letters. Thanks for sharing one of them – quite heartwarming.
    It’s funny – I don’t remember my paternal grandparents ever touching or saying “I love you” to each other either. On their 50th Anniversary party they kissed and all three of us grandchildren about passed out. I’d say it was that generation except for my maternal grandparents were quite affectionate. Weird, isn’t it?

    • I’m very lucky to have the letters, that is for sure! Admittedly, I wasn’t around my grandparents very much as we lived in separate towns so I could be off base on their affection level but through my eyes I saw them as a very devoted husband and wife who were career driven and extremely busy. For the life of me I just can’t picture my Grandpa being sappy and overly sweet…it warms my heart to know he was though!

    • It was such a surprise when we discovered them after they were both gone! I’m always a sucker for a good love story too and though my grandparent’s story wasn’t weaved with elaborate gestures of affection when I knew them it always stuck out to me their level of commitment to each other, reaching goals together and overcoming hardships. The added knowledge that my Grandpa was sappy is just the icing on the cake!

    • Oh wouldn’t it though?!! The way my Grandpa had to sit and think about my Grandma and wonder what she was doing. Now all boys have to do is text a girl or look on Facebook! There’s no reason to ponder or pine for someone!

  6. Thank you for sharing a lovely piece of your family history. It makes me want to sit down and write something with a real pen so my grandchildren (imaginary as yet) will be able to pass it on. Your grandpa sounds so sweet.

  7. awh – so sweet! It’s so great that you have these! As my grandparents have downsized through the years, I’m not sure that our family has anything like this! I can relate though, as my grandparents also were farmers (doesn’t everyone in Wisconsin know someone who farmed?). It’s amazing to think of everything that they lived through in their lives.

    • After my grandfather died, my grandma moved to a small home in town. She downsized immensely with this move. As her health began to deteriorate she moved to a small apartment downsizing even more. Lo and behold, after she passed away is when we found these in her chest of drawers. So perhaps you’ll stumble upon some letters someday too! And yes, living in Wisconsin I think it is a requirement that you know someone who farms!!!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it Colleen! I wasn’t sure if anyone would like it except for me or my family but I think love is something everyone can relate to and root for. And just seeing how people wrote and talked back then is always a hoot!

      • It is actually something I do enjoy, very much. I have things from my family’s past that touches me like this. Letters from my dad. And yes, the writing is wonderful. Just imagine, that letter was a time investment back then. WOW. 🙂

  8. Love the line,”All I can think about right now is you.” Your grandfather was one romantic guy. The irony in this is that at the end pf the letter he says, he wasn’t meant to be a writer. If he only knew how many generations his words would penetrate. These letters are a beautiful family heirloom.

  9. I wish I had something like this to leave my kids. All I have is a few lines in an email. Letter writing is something that should not be let die!
    Thank you for sharing. I feel like I’ve dipped into a novel and want to know more about how the story goes!

    • “Berries” is a phrase my grandparents used quite often in several different contexts. You can give someone the berries (yell at them). Something can give you the berries (a difficult situation) and of course someone can be the berries!!! I have no idea if this was something they made up but I’ve never heard anyone else use it…it sure is a good one! I’m sure I will share more stories with you!

      • Thank you Mel, that in itself is so interesting. I have never heard of that expression before I guess when they said ‘berries’ we now say ‘shite’ :-)…in the difficult situation that is 🙂

  10. That’s just so darn sweet 🙂 Such innocent times.

    My MIL pointed to a cabinet and mentioned that it was stuffed with letters that my FIL wrote her from Vietnam. She said she needs to get rid of them, but I really hope she does not. I’d love to have a look at them.

  11. I loved that he was looking for a rash.These are the coolest things ever.Please write more about them.It reminds me of my dating years.Did I ever tell you I was in love with Micheal Landon when he was Pa?

    • You never told me, but I can believe it! I started watching Little House when I was a pretty little kid so he didn’t do much for me then but watching the episodes now I certainly can appreciate his hunkiness!!!

  12. Wow – from your grandparents. This is precious. I mean, you can tell with my blog how precious I think things are, as I record the life of my son & me.

    I have a page, yellowed, with Polish writing along it which I had interpreted into English for me, and found it was a poem by my Mother. It was how she missed where she had been, and she called Australians ‘those freckled ones’. I think that’s what I named that particular post, actually.

    So what I’m saying is the piece of writing from my MOTHER was precious, but imagine from your grandparents….

    An absolutely precious post.

    • Oh, thank you so much! I may be adding more soon as well! They really gave me such more insight as to who these people were in their early days! The poem from your Mom sounds incredible! You mentioned it is a post so I assume it’s on your blog…I’m going to see if I can find it!

  13. Thank you for stopping by my blog! What a treat that it made me come and find yours and these wonderful letters! Thank you so much for sharing! When my grandma died, all I wanted was her little green leather five year diary. It was filled during a time when she met my grandpa fell in love and had my mom… all within the lines on the pages inside the little gold lock… I am sure she never dreamed that her granddaughter would be reading it someday! Great blog! Thanks for sharing!

    • Oh Diane, that sounds amazing! Of course I’m jealous you have that! My other grandma from my father’s side apparently kept diaries too…many of them. From what I understand there is about 20 of them. My uncle has them all since she passed away and I really hope to get to read them someday. My dad says he remembers peeking at them when he was younger and they were pretty mundane things like, “Today I cooked pot roast” but I would still love to see for myself because I bet I would be enthralled with what she cooked each day!!!

      • Lol.
        That was pretty much like my grandma’s until she met my grandpa. He was 9 years older. She was 18! The diary was a little 5 year one… you know the kind with room for a little paragraph… but it was from the time she was 16 to 21 and she had my mom at 20. When I was reading, and I realized what I had… I felt like I had struck gold… my cousin lived near by and had her pick of many things… I feel I got the best thing ever! By the way I love your blog… it is the kind that I feel I can go into the archives and hit gold there too! 😉

  14. Pingback: There’s History In Those Love Letters Part II | Motherhood Is An Art

  15. Pingback: There’s History in Those Love Letters Part III | Motherhood Is An Art

  16. Pingback: There’s History in Those Love Letter Part IV | Motherhood Is An Art

  17. I stumbled upon these and like everyone else wow…what an unbelievable treasure and gift you have to hold on to here ❤ . So very special. So so special Hard to picture our grandparents in these times as 'romantics' but your grandfather obviously was very expressive and boy could he write a love letter ! Gave me goosebumps feeling the love he expressed for your grandmother. 🙂

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