Friday, June 13, 2014

Love Letters

I was reminiscing the other day about love letters.  You know what I'm talking about....those letters you wrote to that cute girl who sat three seats in front of you in English class, who really didn't know who you were, but who was the object of your dreams.  Maybe you never sent them.  Maybe you only wrote the letters telling her all about how much you loved her, and never had the nerve to send them to her.  Or maybe you did send a letter, and you never got a response, or she never indicated to you that she ever received it.  And then there were the letters that you sent and she actually did reply, but not in the way you expected.  Maybe she just wanted to be friends.  She didn't like you in THAT way.  Or maybe you were an item and wrote to each other regularly.  Anyway, you know what I'm talking about, right?  This is back before there was Twitter, or Facebook, or even email.  The only way to communicate was to write a letter and mail it, or hand deliver it to her mailbox.  Or maybe you passed a note to a friend and that friend passed it along to another friend until it ended up in her hands.

I wrote my share of letters. I never had the nerve to tell a girl how I really felt.  It was the old introvertedness that always seems to get in the way.  But I had no issues with writing a letter.  And I could write!  I would pour out my soul in a letter like nobody's business.  I might not get a response, or the response I wanted, but I made no bones about the point of the letter.  It was to let the object of my dreams know that I liked her.  I liked her more than just a friend, and this was the best way to tell her.  I wrote many of these kinds of letters.  I remember writing them in Junior High, and I continued to write them all the way through my college years.  There are probably more than a dozen such letters.  I got a response less than half that.  And, believe it or not, I did get positive responses.  One young lady, let's call her Alice, lived down the street.  I was crazy about her, but I had known her for years.  We were adults now, and I decided to finally let her know how I felt about her.  The timing was a little bit awkward, however.  She had just gotten engaged.  She responded to my letter pouring my heart out to her in unrequited love that she had felt the same way, but she couldn't understand why I never told her.  Of course, it was too late now, since she was getting married and nothing was going to change that.  I guess, in hindsight, the timing was pretty bad.

Another young lady, who I dated for just a short while when we were in high school, was still a good friend into our young adult years.  I still carried a torch for her, and decided to tell her... in a letter, of course.  And I got a nice response letting me down easily.  She, too, was engaged, and there just was no chance of us getting together.  Ironically, she ended up breaking up with the guy within about six months, but she neglected to let me know that.  She found someone else shortly after that, and is now happily married with two grown kids.  Again, my timing was impeccable.

There was another young lady who I was crazy about, even though she was a bit younger than me, Kelly.  She went off to college, and we stayed in touch.  I finally told her how I felt in a letter, and she wrote back saying she felt the same way, but she was dating a guy at the time and it was serious.  I quickly backtracked and said that she should stay with the guy she was with.  A few months later, she was pregnant with the guys baby, they had broken up, and she had dropped out of school and moved back to her parent's place.  I didn't find this out until several years later.  I happened to visit her church (I knew a lot of people there from my time working as a youth counselor) and bumped into her sister, who told me all about what Kelly had been up to in the years since our last contact.  Her sister told me I should call her.  Well, I never could get up the nerve to call.  I have no idea if there ever could've been anything more to our relationship.

I'd like to think that God is endorsing these letter writing campaigns, though I know he certainly wouldn't endorse me breaking up a potential marriage for purely selfish reasons, which is what many of these letters were.  Why did I write them?  I think I figured that this was the best way to get my point across without the shame of a face to face meeting that might not go well.  I guess I'll never know whether the letters I wrote were kept or actually had any impact on the young ladies who received them.  I'm guessing they did not.  They were more likely just the babbling words of a desperate guy looking for one last chance at the girl before she walks down the aisle.  And nothing good could come of that.

I sure am glad that we now have emails.

Have a great evening, everyone!

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