MEMORY BOOK: Day 14 of 31 Days of Creative Caring

This post (originally published last December) is an example of a Memory Book.

Pick any subject and create a book for someone … to show you care.


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 List. Yesterday was the day. Letters were scanned. Text and pictures were added.

The photo book was ordered. I hope she loves it. (UPDATE: She did!)


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)
This is part of a 31-day series. To read previous posts, go HERE.
I’m joining Spiritual Sundays at Blogger Spirit and Seasonal Sunday at The Tablescaper.


  1. It’s early Sunday morning and I just dropped my husband off at the airport around 5:30 a.m. then took that long, lonely drive back to our empty house. I was sniffling along most of the 45-minute drive home, because I miss him already. Four days may as well be 4 months. After more than 21 years, I still love him as if we were newlyweds. Reading this just made my heart melt a little bit more. SO sweet on all counts. Not often do you hear of a man being the one pursuing that wedding date! That’s refreshing!!! So sad that he died so young. Five kids in the span of 11 years, though…wow! Just reading about what he was doing (back home working on the farm) and what she was doing (traveling around hanging out with friends) made me laugh. The movie “Sense & Sensibility” sprang to mind. When I think about it, though, that is the way many of my friends are present day!!! 🙂 It was SO incredibly generous and kind of you to go the extra mile to make sure each of the “kids” got a copy of the treasured letters and that your mother-in-law got a copy that she could actually see a bit better. And for you to sit there and read the letters aloud…what a good daughter-in-law you are! This was a very sweet & inspiring post for me to come home to this morning with my heavy heart. Very uplifting! Have a great day, Susan!

  2. Isn’t love wonderful? And, I love this post. Thank you for sharing, Susan.

  3. I remember when you shared this with us, Susan. Such a beautiful act of kindness.
    Peace exudes from your page, my friend.
    Off to more browsing.

  4. A beautiful post… and what a wonderful thing you did for your mother-in-law and family. My parents just moved into a senior retirement center and parted with most of their stuff. She asked me not to read them yet but my mom gave me all the letters she and dad wrote to each other during WWII. Someday I imagine doing what you did. And thanks for the idea of a memory book to do for them at Christmas! With limited space I was thinking of what I might do that they would enjoy. Glad I found your link on The Nester 🙂