love letters


Love letters straight from the past …

Just reading a couple makes me feel odd; the sentiments expressed here, written ten years before I was born, are the reason I exist.

My Darling Robert …

And so I say to a friend, ‘Here’s the thing. Someone is interested in writing a biography of my father and I found these love letters before my parents were married, nothing salacious just rather sweet. Should I …?’

She cuts me short, ‘Oh yes, I found some of those between my parents and I spoke to my brother about it. He said they’ve got nothing to do with us, so I threw them away.’

[My hands come to my cheeks, my mouth opens; too late I realize that, right in front of her, I am enacting Munch’s scream.]

On one, my mother has sketched her wedding dress

My father’s to her are wrapped in blue ribbon

A month or so later, in other company, I say, ‘Here’s the thing …’ and then another friend leans forward and bellows, ‘Of course you should.’ He’s practically shouting at me, ‘… because you want the biographer to know the TRUTH …’ and then, as if speaking to a child, he spells the word out: ‘T-R-U-T-H.’

Oh, that, I think, that slippery old eel.

I want to smother you with kisses.


Is that really you?

11 thoughts on “LOVE LETTERS

    • Hi Andrea – there’s something about love letters that are so particularly for the reading of those involved and yet on the other hand they do show a particular side of someone that may not be shown so much elsewhere – their vulnerability, their passion. In my father’s case, because he married quite late, I think there was a huge sense of relief and gratitude involved when he met my mother and that comes across in the letters but I didn’t read all of them that would have been too much!

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  1. A slippery eel, indeed. I hate the idea of thoughts, words, exchanges being lost. When I read the correspondence between Le Corbusier and his wife Yvonne it opened him up in my eyes, the little words of affection shared, the show of care, of humanity, so different from the austere view of him in academic books. So valuable to me. As your parents’ letter will be for others. (And yet I’ve never dared yet to look at my own parents’ love letters, bundled up as yours are in ribbon.)

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    • I absolutely agree about love letters showing a different side to someone. There is a real sweetness and vulnerability in them. I suppose when people fall in love there is all that excitement and openness and passion. I didn’t read all of them, just a few and I did decide to hand them over because they throw a different light on my father and show a part of his character which is only manifest in them. I didn’t know they existed until I started sorting through boxes and boxes of stuff I brought from his house after her died. I wonder if you’ll ever read your parents’?

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  2. Oh the envy! My parents had a fairly loveless marriage, by all accounts, and my father would certainly have been horrified at the thought of committing any, well, commitment to paper. What I would give to have any tangible evidence that they cared for each other! How wonderful to know that your father longed to smother your mother with kisses – I am so very, very envious.

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    • Thank you, Susan – the letters are really touching and they do show a side of my father that wasn’t as visible as time went on. How we are when we fall in love is such a very particular state! There is an openness and vulnerability and I suppose authenticity that is very specific to that time. I’m very sorry you don’t have anything similar although Colin in the comments above has letters like these but doesn’t think he will ever read them!


    • Thanks for the link. I love your post Pam. I had that same experience of disconnect but when I discovered the letters both my mother and father were dead. I’m really grateful to have seen that side of my father. We are vulnerable and open when we’re in love and my Dad married quite late for the times and there’s this strong feeling in the letters of ‘Oh I can have this too (family life). I can.’ Which is lovely.

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