It was the 1950’s. The decade of poodle skirts, car hops, Elvis, and Rock and Roll. My dad played the tenor sax in a big band for local dances around Fort Worth. The leader of that band was my mother’s uncle, Jimmy.
In reality, Daddy was smitten from the first moment he laid eyes on her. But he was really shy. An only child of older parents, he grew up sheltered and his parents had very high expectations for his prospects. That fall he went off to Notre Dame. A year and a half later, he was home for Christmas break and Uncle Jimmy needed a date for his pal, (my dad) so they could double date, and called my mom. Mom says she had a big crush on Daddy, though he hardly spoke to her at all, but he asked her out for the next 2 nights! In mid-January he left for the spring semester at Notre Dame. And, though he returned to Fort Worth during the summer and Christmas breaks, he wrote to her from the Indiana university several times every week.
January 12th, 1954
I received your letter this evening and was really glad to hear from you. After I read it I went to supper and then studied physics.
Be sure and write soon,
April 8th, 1954
There is a disc-jockey show that I have been listening to regularly for the past few weeks. They play real good records late in the evenings--Most of it is rhythm and blues and such stuff. What kind of music do you like?
May 26th, 1954
Well, I finished my last class of the year today. I’ll have a little extra time now with the exception of studying for and taking finals.
The folks will be leaving Sunday and we will be home the Monday after that. If you promise to be a good girl and behave yourself, I might phone you when I get home. (Though at first my feminist sensibilities were offended, my mom clarified two things here. 1. Daddy was jokingly referring to her dating other guys while he was away. 2. He most definitely was going to call her the second he got home)
Love and stuff,
January 18, 1955
…do take care of yourself. It’s gotten real cold. And speaking of, I suppose you realize that you’re going to have to hug me a whole lot this weekend just to keep me warm. No, on second thought, perhaps I’d better hug you.
Best of luck on your finals,
April 9th, 1955
…all morning, noon and afternoon, every time I looked at my watch I would imagine what you would probably be doing at that particular time, whether it was just getting up, or going to school, or eating lunch, or going to work. I can’t ever remember being so miserable. I can’t help missing you.
All my love,
After that letter, there are no more because my dad convinced his parents to let him attend TCU in Fort Worth and he never returned to Notre Dame. Mom and dad dated for two more years and were married on April 26th, 1957. They were married 44 years until my dad passed away from cancer.
Sometimes I think, with emails and texting, what a shame it is that we won’t have love letters written in our hand for our progeny to read. What do you think? Do you have any letters you’ve written that will someday be seen by future generations?
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