The Love Letters

The conversation began several months ago when Renaissance Man’s mother was here for a visit.  I learned that my 91-year-old mother-in-law has a collection of love letters written by her grandparents … in 1888.  Actually, the first letter was written December 16, 1887 – 124 years ago this week.

 
Frances asked if I would help her divide up the letters between her three children. I told her NO. I couldn’t stand to think of treasures like those getting separated!  However, I said I would make a nice set of copies for the boys — and her daughter could have the originals.  She liked that idea and said she would mail the letters to me.  NO again!  Let’s keep them where they’re safe until I can come get them in person.
 

 
Because she’s virtually blind, I also told her that the next time we were together, we would get out the letters and I would help her decipher them — then make a large-print manuscript for her to read whenever she wants.  She really liked that idea!
 
So last Memorial Day, while in Texas, I not only walked through rose garden and cemetery as I shared in previous posts, but I kept my promise to “work on those letters.”

 
What fun we had!  Sitting at the dining table in her oldest son’s home, I sorted the letters, admired her grandfather’s beautiful penmanship (much better than the grandmother’s!) and struggled to “make heads or tails” of a few sentences.

 
As I read the letters, I transcribed them … often stopping to listen to story after story of people and places they recalled.  How I hoped for something “juicy” with which to shock my prim-and-proper mother-in-law, but alas …  The letters were really quite tame, almost juvenile in places … kind of refreshing in its own way.

 
As it turns out, the letters were written over a 10-month period while young Ada Langley was traveling around Texas visiting friends.  William Wright was farming … and waiting for her to come home to marry him.  She hadn’t lived long in the “lonesome place” in East Texas she now called home, and it seems she was having such a fun time being away (except when she had the mumps – and then the measles) that she didn’t seem any too eager to return.  In fact, though Ada vowed her love for William, we laughed and wondered if today the two would have ever gotten together.  He kept trying to set a wedding date … and she kept putting him off.

 
But Ada finally promised she was “coming home if I have to walk all the way … to stay forever and forever Amen!”  Her last letter said she planned to arrive the fourth Sunday of August.  She and William were married one week later on September 2, 1888.  Ada was 18 years old; William was 30.  Together they had three daughters and two sons before William’s untimely death at age 41.
 
Although I’ve already given Frances the transcribed letters, I decided that I’d make a photo book of the letters for her for Christmas. I put that project on my Sally ListYesterday was the day.  Letters were scanned.  Text and pictures were added.


 
The photo book was ordered.  I hope she loves it.

 

Do you write love letters … or have any old family love letters?
Has anyone ever written a love letter to you?

 

 

 
If you think not, you’re mistaken.  The most truthful, beautiful love letter ever composed has your name on it. The pleasure of a relationship with you is requested…

 
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  (John 3:16)
 

Believe and receive.  Experience the ultimate Before and After …

 
Suggested reading: Crazy Love by Francis Chan
 
I’m joining Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch, Inspiration Friday at At the Picket Fence, and Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound.
 
More Sally List projects going on at My Place this week. How about you?  Click Sally and tell us what you’re working on!

Comments

  1. What a lovely post Susan and what a labor of love. I am sure your mother-in-law will love her gift. How very, very special 🙂

    CHRISTmas Blessings!
    Gail

  2. Susan, this was so beautiful. What a treasure to have these letters in the family and what a treasure of a daughter-in-law you are for your mom-in-love. I have a box I rarely look at of letters from my husband in 2003 while he was in Kuwait and then Iraq as the war began. I will always save them but to look at them proves a bit painful. We had such uncertainty in our lives them and had no idea what may lay ahead or even if we would see each other again (except in Glory). My box is full and gratefully, filled with letters from us both, returned home just like my husband.

  3. Susan…what a wonderful lovely Sally List accomplishment for you and the people you care about! I’m so proud of you! xo

  4. What a good daughter-in-law your. I loved everything about this post, love letters, you making copies and a book how wonderful! I love vintage letters and postcards. I’ve done posts on vintage postcards and holiday cards. If you get a chance, please stop by, I am your newest follower, Laura

  5. what a fabulous story, what a wonderful gift it will make, and what time you took to do it ALL. that is truly special!

  6. I love this!! We don’t have a single love letter from this family that I know of. Apparently, we were not a letter writing bunch or something.

    I just loved the story and what you did with the photo book.

    I also think you are a wonderful daughter-in-law to leave that original with her daughter. You’re special. It shows.

    And the way you ended this is inspired and full of TRUTH.

  7. What a wonderful post. Those letters are quite a treasure, aren’t they? I also like the way you made them into a book. I think there are some letters that my parents wrote each other before they were married. They’ve been married 64 years. I need to look for them. Thanks for the idea.

  8. Oh this brought tears to my eyes. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your faithfulness to your MIL. What a great idea to make a photo book. Just beautiful. I have a book that my grandfather wrote of poems.
    What a merry Christmas your MIL will have!!!
    blessings to you,
    Meredith

  9. What a treasure trove of letters! I adore old letters and the penmanship back then was breathtaking. I have all of The Man’s love letters he wrote to me pre-wedding. Nothing more special than old letters.

  10. Yes, I know I have already commented, but I just noticed that we are next door neighbors At The Picket Fence.
    What are the odds of that?

    Just wanted to say it.
    Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. There goes the neighborhood.

  11. Very pretty!

    Beside the Christmas Tree, happy holidays!

  12. Wow such a treasure collection!

    Pink at my page, please come and see. Have a wonderful holiday from my family to yours!

  13. This is beautiful, Susan, the love letters and you making time for your MIL. I love what you did with the photo book and good job on your Sally List accomplishment! And I couldn’t agree more on the greatest Love Letter.

  14. What a touching post. And to see these letters survive time. You are a smrt lady to stop the letters from being separated, and helped shring them with all the kids. What a nice christmas present from the heart. May you be blessed.
    Merry Christmas
    Ellen

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