Letters From Box 54

Letters From Box 54

 

lettters-from-box-54-stack

Do you ever wonder how a love lasts a lifetime?

We read about it and ponder it and imagine it and dream about it and watch an entire Hallmark channel devoted to it…..

….but does it really happen?

Forever and ever amen?

To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish…..

…..all the days of our lives.

Really?

lettters-from-box-54-drawing

For Christmas my sister found an old stack of letters written from my grandfather to my grandmother.

Worn and faded and dog-eared written in 1940 and tied with a piece of packing string….

….the letters were tucked away in a box in the top of my grandmother’s closet for over half a century.

lettters-from-box-54-stamp

My sister transformed the letters into a book for each of us at Christmas.

Those letters my grandfather sent to box 54.

Letters with pages full of sketches a few of the actual letters and drawings and tables and charts…..and words.

Wonderful scripted words tumbling over themselves to be read.

Pages and pages and pages of words.

Each page telling its own story.

Painstakingly written in great detail…..

…..to record the thoughts and feelings and hopes and dreams of a young couple in love.

lettters-from-box-54-door

And when I opened the book and the letters and began to read those words that whispered from decades long ago….

…..I expected to find flowery phrases and vows of love written with great flourish and fanfare.

Words that would make Dickinson and Keats and Byron blush.

I mean….after all…..

…..that’s how love letters in the movies always are.

lettters-from-box-54-picture

But the letters were surprisingly ordinary.

Just a life well-lived.

My grandfather wrote about his schedules and his day and the moldings in the library and what he ate and how his day was.

He added sketches of horses and houses.

And told her he was saving money.

And that he missed her.

lettters-from-box-54-letters

And as I read and read and read…..looking for the sweeping emotions…..for the grand words and the brilliant gestures….I suddenly realized….

….the love was right in front of me all along.

To him…..love was more than a hurricane….or a storm….or a hurling, tossing, swirling passion.

It was in the quiet words of love at the end of a letter.

In the simple turn of phrase.

In the everyday details of a life lived with his heart belonging to my grandmother…..full of love…..

….for a lifetime

lettters-from-box-54-quote

PS  I do think there was a little Hallmark movie in him after all.

I found this super flashy, flowery romantic quote……

…….“Your letters are for me like gasoline is for my car.”

Byron would have been proud. 🙂

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Comments

  1. The sweetest, what a treasure!

  2. That had to have been one of your best gifts received!!!! beautiful

    deezie

  3. Robin Stephens :

    I have a small stack of my daddy’s letters to my momma when he was in WWII. Truly they are priceless. Thanks for commenting that, for the most part, they were ordinaryily written words rather than flowery expressions of love….but nonetheless l.o.v.e. For isn’t that what love is anyway…living faithfully in the ordinary? Enjoy all of your blogs…but today’s was tops!

    • Robin,

      I think I ended up liking the ordinary best. 🙂 The letters were full of what life was like back then (like that a stamp costs .03! That was amazing!

      karianne

  4. Hi KariAnne, when I looked at the pictures of your grandfather’s letters I noticed the postmark and return address. Chester, Pa is where my parents grew up and the name Crozer is still a large part of the community (local hospital). It has peaked my curiosity to learn more about the history of Chester. Thanks for sharing your story.

  5. Marisa Franca :

    I think that love is the day to day. Those letters are a beautiful treasure!! Thank you for sharing. It is a great reminder also that sometimes a penned letter to someone who means a lot to us can be so much more meaningful than a quick email. BTW I still have my Honey’s letters to me. I wonder what my kids will think of them? They may not be poetic but lordy they are full of meaning!!

  6. What an amazing treasure to have all of those wonderful letters and to have your sister to put them into a book for all of y’all. So amazing! That first image of your grandmother looks like you, book in hand, sweet prairie styled dress, lady-like pose upon the steps . . . what a beautiful lady! You certainly inherited so much from your grandparents. Happy 2014! Many blessings to you and your family in the New Year!

  7. What a treasure!!!

  8. Wow KariAnne….how touching!

  9. What a treasure in these letters and a beautiful gift your sister made. x

  10. My Heart is warmed!!! This is such a treasure…one that is so special…there are no words! hugs my friend…

  11. What a treasure to have found those letters and what a beautiful gift your sister made. You and your siblings make the best presents ever.

  12. What a wonderful discovery. You are so lucky to have found these!

  13. Grandpa was a hottie!

  14. That is too cute!

  15. Sometimes the greatest gifts are the ones with the most thought. My husbands grandparents had a long and loving marriage. He was a doctor in a mash unit in WWII and arrived in Normandy the day after the attach to save who could be saved. When he died Grandma Anne burned all of the love letters that he had written her over the years. Only one survived and it was very special. Her family was with her when she cose to burn the letters. They begged her not to that these little special pages of history should live forever as a monument to their love and family. But they were grandma Anne’s to do with what she wanted and she said that they were far to personal for her to share them with others. Luckily, your grandmother felt differently.

  16. It is that every day enduring love that sustains us to forever.

  17. What a priceless gift from your sister and your grandparents! It brought tears to my eyes.

  18. Your sister is the real star here. What an incredible gift. I’m envious of your wonderful family history and the obvious love your sister has for her siblings. Thanks so much for sharing.

  19. What a treasure your sister is! What a special gift to share with you. Warms my heart; give her a big hug.

  20. Such an amazing gift……..I would read it over and over!!!

  21. A few years ago my aunt died and I as I was clearing out her drawers, I found the love letters from her first husband, the only true love. She was married three times, but never got rid of those letters. What a shame they never stayed together. They both wanted to according to the letters. Thanks for sharing this, and your sister did a cool thing.

  22. What a perfect example of ordinary love…expressed in an extraordinary way. 😉

  23. Oh Karianne, How Wonderful!! There is nothing more beautiful than constancy… Those simple words formed the solid foundation for your family to build on year after year… that we all could have such a firm base to build a life on.
    I believe you have ( had?) a birthday this week pretty red wearing lipstick girl! Wishing you a very happy one surrounded by love.
    C

  24. This was a treasure for my heart! Having just celebrated our 50th anniversary, our own love story continues , thankfully, and your sharing today encourages me to reflect upon our married years, to gather our thoughts and to creatively make them available to our family. May God continue to bless you and yours!

  25. I loved reading this post. How very precious to have those and what a wonderful idea to put them into a book. The words of your Grandfather might be ordinary, but reading your post was like reading a little love story in itself, with all the flowery phrases your Grandfather didn’t write. Beautifully written post! Thank you so very much for sharing this with us!

  26. What a treasure – love the images and yes, it’s not always the flowery words…thank you for an inspiring way to start my day!

  27. Saved text messages are a poor substitute for a bundle of ribbon-tied love letters! Or is that just my age (56) talking?

  28. Your Sister gets the Pulitzer. How I would love to have something like that. Bravo.
    Cindy

  29. The handwritten word is something that our current generation knows nothing about. What you have is such a precious treasure. Your sister sounds very special too since she was willing to share this gift with you. I have written post cards and letters that my grandparents wrote to each other when they were children and those continued on til they married many years later. Some of our greatest treasures that can’t be purchased at a store are the family heirlooms that are passed down to us.

    Be Blessed !

  30. What a wonderful treasure to find! I love the yellowed paper, and the curled edges and the handsome pictures! So great of your sister to put them together for each of you. Have a great “ordinary day”!

  31. What a find! I love hearing the history of our families but no old letters have been found. What a treasure! And now, it’s forever kept in book form. What a great idea!

    I think you’re right. The high passions are not what keeps a marriage; it’s the day to day camaraderie and friendship you have with each other.

  32. Miz karianne…..you lucky girl! What a blessing to have been double gifted; first with the inborn, natural gift of love, as well as the gift of prose and the ability to communicate all of it to another. Second, to receive a tangible source that identifies who you are…partly because of the stock from where you come, and how your family members who came before you contributed to help define who you are today! Awesome. Your posts about your ongoing romance with your husband falls naturally in line with your grandparents love history….what a special inheritance they left for you!
    You lucky, lucky girl!

  33. How wonderful!! I have a ton of my parents letters from WWII and would love to do this. How did your sister do this project? Would love to see a post about it.

  34. Gorgeous post and what treasures to have found. Thanks for sharing this part of your life!! Happy New Year!!!

    Cynthia

  35. Sweet! I know you will treasure that gift from your thoughtful sister.

  36. Dang. That is so, so sweet!
    You need to create a piece for your home – a box with 54 on it in which you keep the letters. 🙂

  37. How sweet

  38. Beautiful KariAnne! Your so lucky to have those memories. By the way you look just like your grandfather!!

  39. What a wonderful gift! What a wonderful find! So glad they were preserved and that you got them and that you shared with us!

  40. What a find KariAnne..sweet story..I think it must run in the family..

  41. My car-loving husband would totally get the gasoline reference! 😉 So sweet! I’m glad you all have it and can share that legacy with YOUR children!

  42. dreamboat Annie :

    Wow…your resemblance to your grandfather is really something.. The shape of your mouths is identical..how awesome. And so is your sisters gift.

  43. What a sweet and treasured thing to have. I would agree with your grandfather, after marriage to the same sweet man for 40 years, it’s his kind and thoughtful day to day show of love that I treasure.
    Happy New Year.
    Karen

  44. What an amazing gift! Happy New Year! Melissa

  45. Such a sweet story. Your posts always make me – laugh, cry or smile. You have a remarkable gift for writing. I know this because I come from a family of writers, including a Pulitzer Prize winner. KariAnne, you bring blogging to a new level with your humor and wonderful way of looking at life – thank you!

  46. Love the book! My parents are going on nearly 50 years of marriage. I agree it’s not in the mushy lovey dovey stuff, but the everyday experiences you share with each other and the ability to allow each other to grow together and as individuals…I think it can last forever!

  47. What a timely post! I have 40+ letters written by my husband’s grandfather to his wife while he was stationed overseas during WWII. He died as a prisoner of war in Germany and my husband’s grandmother never remarried….she said that she couldn’t find another love as wonderful as his. I’ve been wandering/thinking over the last several months as to how I could best share them with the rest of the family…a book is a fantastic idea! I had already framed three of the letters which happened to be written on the days of my children’s births…not the year mind you, just the day! Think I’ll be working on a book for everyone else this winter! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  48. I so love to read your blog, KariAnne. This one was so special and so perfect in the way you wrote how you were waiting for the “grand words and brilliant gestures…” only to see “the love was in front of me all along”. I can’t help but keep repeating those words. I’ve thought them so many times. You are blessed to understand it’s the every day things that make love last more than just a lifetime.
    BTW, your grandparents are very good looking people and I could absolutely see the resemblance between each of them and you. And no doubt your humor was inspired by the same Hallmark style comment your grandfather made! I can imagine you and your husband have made some of the same to each other. Am I right? I think in the end it’s the laughter we remember (and miss) the most. I guess that’s why I married a man that made me laugh. Thank you for sharing this!

  49. Beautiful!

  50. Kudos to your sister for creating a book of memories of these for you and the others in your family. What a thoughtful idea! I find it sad that letters have become a relic of the past. The written word is powerful, even if it is simply about day to day routines. It’s in one’s own hand and the care given to putting pen to paper is to be admired. I’ve saved many of the letters I’ve received through the years written by my parents, family, or friends. They’ll mean nothing to others, but to me they are treasures. Thanks for sharing yet another lovely thoughtful post, Karianne.

  51. Your post reminds me of a tiny handpainted box that my late husband bought me while we were in Europe on our honeymoon. On the top was painted : “Love is an ideal thing….” When the lid was opened, the sentence continued: “but marriage is a real thing. ” Goethe
    Things weren’t always romantic, or idyllic, or prosperous, or exciting. Life was just life- good and bad, highs and lows, ups and downs-. There was, however, never any doubt that we were living life as a team- never any doubt that we loved and supported each other no matter what. Although I will likely never get over losing him, I do feel blessed to have had this very real, simple, honest, and unconditional love in my life.

  52. KariAnne,

    What a Christmas present to treasure forever! That was a great idea for your sister have and do! You favor your granddad. I love reading your blog and your style of writing is inspirational! Thanks for sharing your stories.

    Charlotte

  53. Great story and gift from your grandparents. I have picture of mine when they were very young and it’s framed in silver on my other grandmother’s round end table. I have several things from both grandparents and my grandfather’s fishing lures I mounted in a glass display. We found our father’s postcards to home from boot camp and they make me smile to read them. Family heritage through the ordinary things means a lot.

  54. Wow. That was amazing! That is, the BEST KIND of gift to recieve. What a labor of love from your sister….and love letters from your Grandfather. Simply beautiful!

    On a side note, I was reading one of your older posts and came across the one about your brother. He has an Etsy shop with all of the wonderful gifts made from reclaimed wood. I have spent hours online trying to find a gift for my sister and brother-in-law. Wellllllll I finally found the perfect gift, something hand made by your brother. Many thanks.

  55. What a beautiful treasure to have. Cherish this always this is just awesome.
    Kris

  56. Sheryll & Critters. :

    Beautiful.

  57. What a wonderful gift! What a wonderful heritage. I so enjoy your blog, and these kind of writings mean as much to me as your wonderful decorating ideas. I have to admit many of your readers’comments were right on the mark and much more eloquent than mine. Enjoy your book, although you may have to have copies made if you have children who might fight over it someday.

  58. Debbi in Michigan's "Thumb" :

    I see your grandparents were from Michigan!!
    In the ’40s, Saginaw would have been a wonderful city.
    I can picture a young lady sitting on the stoop of one of those big old houses.
    She is, of course, wearing a day dress and heels.
    She is so engrossed in the letter the postman just dropped off that she doesn’t even notice all the neighbor kids running around.
    Ahhhh….the “good old days” that we are too young to remember!!!
    (Can you imagine wearing heels to do housework!!!)
    What a wonderful, wonderful gift from your sister.

  59. Oh how sweet and very, very special, Karianne!

  60. Such a precious treasure! Thank you for sharing ~

  61. Natalie Klemek :

    Oh that was the best thing I’ve read all day! And what a thoughtful and amazing gift to be given. I’m glad your sister made the book to keep those words, sentiments and pictures alive and even more treasure for many more years to come.
    Your story reminds me of my parents love story. During their time of dating, they wrote to each other and my mother still has all the letters. I simply LOVE it! And that’s probably why I keep all the silly little notes my husband lease for me ever so often.

  62. What a priceless treasure! I can’t even imagine this gift. As a scrapbooker you know I would be beyond thrilled! When I was responsible for cleaning out and selling my parents home when they had to move to nursing care, I did find letters from my sister (who passed away in 2000) when she was in Japan when her first husband was in the service. They are in a box waiting for me to put words with pictures.

    By the way, I want to be you when I grow up and be able to put my thoughts into beautiful, brilliantly crafted words. Gah. Love you!

  63. This post inspires me to write to my guy now. We live in the same house spend tons of time together and at least four times a year I send him a surprise card in the mail. It would be lovely to start writing actual letters. Some times its so hard to find time to say the truth in your heart, there is nothing so sweet as rereading cards and letters saved for any length of time! Thanks again KariAnne

  64. Beautiful gift, from the past and from your sister 🙂

  65. Karianne, thanks so much for sharing this idea. My mother passed away in August at age 100. I have several letters my father wrote to her before they got married in 1932. I think my daughters and my nephews would love to have copies of the letters.

  66. As I pondered the new year and being in my 60s, I decided I would get moving on my”bucket list”. Love that movie. One of my big things with my kids growing up was gratitude, to develop an automatic gratitude attitude. Check. So it occurred to me that with 60plus years of life, I should express my gratitude to those in my memories, my life and for the lives of those who have left us, by communicating with their families, if I can locate them all. Communication by notecard, real words written by my hand. I’ve mailed one…I’d like to think I could do one daily but…naw, won’t happen so 1x weekly is doable. If we all speak a little more appreciation what a great year we might have. My list of “to whom” is growing. Your post touched my heart, as we too have discovered letters of our Texas grandparents and our WW2 moms and dads. It’s really something and that generation thinks “who would want this”? Quick, check with your elders, there might be something precious about to go out to the curb.

  67. How blessed you are to have those beautiful letters…I so love this beautiful post Kari!

  68. Kari Anne,
    What a wonderful gift from your sister. Although I didn’t live in Saginaw in 1940 I do live there now. If there is anything you would like to know about the city please contact me. Your posts are daily spot of sunshine and a wonderful way to start the day. Thank you.

  69. stephanie brown :

    I loved this and your blog! Your sister should give a workshop on this.. I would come!!!!!!!!
    I have letters from the time my husband and I met at ages 14 and 15 in 1980 until we got married in 1987. I would love to do this with my letters too. love your blog from KY too!

  70. Do you ever wonder how love last a lifetime? I was a witness to that love between my mother and father through their marriage. My father passed away in 1994 and my mother in 2012. They were both a wonderful example of that day-in-and-day-out-love. My father was only 62 when he passed, my mother lived another 18 years without the love of her life. This summer while getting ready to sell the house we lived in for 55 years we came across a box of love letters my mom and dad wrote while he served in the Korean War. I was only able to read one letter from each of them which melted my heart and the waterworks would not stop. In time I will read the rest and share them with my family, but until then I am most thankful to the Lord for giving me parents who loved the Lord, each other and their family with all their hearts. KariAnne, thank you for sharing from your heart.