Category Archives: soul mate(s)

Handwritten Love Letters

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Collections of notes and love letters carry such important

messages. Sometimes connecting the world with the past,

sometimes bringing hope and love across the miles and

through dangerous times. Bill Shapiro went around the world

to collect his findings of such varied subjects, but mostly

he wanted Love Letters. (Check out his book, “Other People’s

Love Letters: 150 Letters You Were Never Meant to See, October,

2007.)

Bill Shapiro’s book can be studied to help you write a moving

and poignant love letter. His collection of letters range from

the very serious subject matter, includes the humorous to the

sublime.

Bill gathered notes and cards, too, that were sent from the

youngest age of kindergarten to the oldest age of beyond

ninety was a fantastic project for him to undertake. I would

have enjoyed this project and cherished the memories of the

faces on the people sharing them and who I would have met along

my journey.

I think that finding letters in an attic is such a wonderful

way to connect to your family’s heritage and see into the

way their thoughts and feelings were during the period the

messages were sent. The subjects of history, war, Depression

and the Holocaust have given us fascinating missives.

My Dad’s love letters, sent from Cleveland to Middletown,

Ohio were beseeching and searching for the way to capture my

Mom’s heart. They ‘cinched the deal’ while my Mom dated a

few men after college, living at home with her parents and

teaching high school. Their love life was always passionate,

filled with the continued promise that it would last forever.

The packet of shoestring tied cards with each personally

filled out, by my Dad to my Mom, found after his death has

been on my mind, especially as their 59th anniversary is

fast approaching.

You see, four years before my Dad’s death he suffered a

life-changing stroke. It was debilitating in a devastating

way. He was not able to read nor write for months. Once he

‘passed’ the occupational and physical therapists’ time

limit, my mother had helped to find the interesting twist of

fate that had switched his right and left sides of his brain.

He was walking in the winter, through the Sandusky, Ohio mall,

where he kept bumping into people. My mother quietly and gently

would move him back by her side.

When he would reach for his silverware or cup of coffee, she

would note, he would be reaching in the opposite direction

from where he wanted. He would look at my mother, with a

somewhat confused and childlike look on his face. She said it

reminded her of a wounded puppy.

She started by telling him to place his left hand on the table

and remember that was his left side. When he would physically

do this, it helped. It placed him more in the realm of awareness

and also, this became quite helpful for him to read again.

One of my parent’s favorite activity, as they drank their coffee

on retirement days, they would combine their brains and complete

the crossword puzzle in two newspapers daily. What he knew in

science and technology balanced her knowledge of the world,

history and of course, her favorite subject, English and

languages.

My mom found the squares in the crossword puzzle to be rather

helpful for Dad’s orientation and re-introduction to writing

left to right. Why do I think this is significant to love letters?

The way he was childlike had concerned my mother’s mind and their

budget. Her ‘last straw’ was when he chose to buy six ‘expensive’

Vermilion, Ohio beach towels from one of the souvenir stores in

their retirement village of choice. The total came to $120!! my

Mom yelled! My Mom took his credit card away, even though the

thought of his six grandchildren, my three plus Rich and Susan’s

three, were not worth the extraordinary cost! She returned the

towels to wait until a local store (now closed) called Alco’s

had their beach towels on sale, at the end of summer clearance.

So, my Dad was sadly commissioned an ‘allowance’ of only twenty

dollars a week.

Four wonderful years passed. He had been given a new lease on

life, his heart had stopped in the hospital while recuperating

from the stroke. He had gone, he believed ‘to Heaven and back.’

Pulled back to life, by the resuscitation process with those

handheld electric shock pumps on his chest.

Of course, if you have read this before, it never hurts to hear

these encouraging words that my Dad exclaimed, once ‘back from

his spaceship trip to Heaven:’

“If I can make it to Heaven, anyone can!”

My Dad found out he had cancer in late Summer, 2000. He was

told it may be a year or less, he took the chemo and the other

treatments. He was ‘chipper’ but nauseous. He continued to find

wonders in each day, since that stroke had made him a big kid

again. Mom and he had some special and romantic moments, despite

his knowing he was not going to live long.

The fact that he bought, over the short period of September, 2000

when he found out he had cancer and not long to live, until the

beginning of January, a total of 42 cards is outstanding! He used

his budget to buy a few each time that my parents were out, my

Mom swears she never even noticed him wandering around the stores

towards the card department. She also said when she was buying

candy at the local Hallmark Shoppe, she did not notice him looking

and searching for ‘just the right one.’ None of us knew until my

Dad had died on January 27, 2001, that my Mom’s treasure trove of

cards and messages was still waiting for her to find.

It took my Mom past February to even think of going into Dad’s

clothing drawers. She found a few things in the laundry and

was not even wishing to wash them. They had my Dad’s scent on

them. She wore one of his sweatshirts for a month of nights

to bed. She finally got herself ‘geared up’ for the heavy task

of cleaning out the drawers.

Three stacks were made on the bed she no longer slept in. The

day that my Dad passed, she chose to start sleeping on the sofa

with the back of it, like his own back, pressed up against her.

One stack of clothes was for my brothers to search through,

one was for the grandkids, my own three children choosing to

pick a t-shirt and a tie, with my son and oldest daughter

wanting a leather belt each. The third stack of clothing went

to the Vermilion Goodwill Store.

When she opened the socks drawer, she was digging through

it, transferring the great number of tube socks directly

across the room, into her own sock drawer. She, to this

day, wears men’s socks that are leftover from Dad or buys

new ones to remind her of him.

At the bottom of the drawer a pile of cards over 12″ tall,

about 8″ wide, was tied with a brown shoe string. It had

a note at the top. It said (the gist of it):

“Rosalie, I hope that you will find comfort in these cards

that I searched for you to open. Please read only on the

dates that are given on them, so they will last quite

awhile. I hope to make it to our 46th anniversary, but if

not, that will be your first card to open. Now, you know

I love you and will be with you always. Don’t be sad when

the last card is opened. Maybe you can have a party and

celebrate then, on our 50th Golden Anniversary.

Love you, pardner! Bob.”

My Mom called each of us to share the news. We had had a

meal on their 46th anniversary with Mom, my oldest daughter,

both brothers, myself, my sister in law and my ex-husband.

We had eaten at one of their favorite restaurants by the

Sandusky Mall. She had not yet found the hidden cards.

When Valentine’s Day came she had not yet discovered the pile.

But by the rowdy holiday of St. Patrick’s Day and the rest of

the years leading up to 2005, she had several to open on important

dates, along with some silly ones thrown in to fill in gaps in time.

There were six non-holiday ones, that tickled his ‘fancy,’ and had

some nonsensical reference to a memory that they shared. All major

holidays we celebrated, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and New

Year’s. Each had some quick thoughts jotted down after the printed

message. My Dad utilized some of his clever and sarcastic wit. Her

birthday ones and the anniversary ones seemed to my eyes to respect

their serious nature and therefore were very elaborate and ornate.

These were the ‘special’ ones, that if you were there, you would

note a tear shed by Mom. The Halloween ones had silly things like

witches and one time, as if she were a child, one had a ghost that

opened up into three dimensional and whispered, “Boo!”

We had that celebratory party, in a fancy hotel restaurant

halfway to my aunt and uncle’s house in Chardon, Ohio. It was

a lovely feast, where each had put their thirty dollars in to

pay the total bill and include a grand tip for the servers.

It included cousins and three female grandchildren, one great

grandchild, Skyler, (age 4 months), we three siblings, two

spouses, my Aunt Amy and Uncle Orrin and Mom, in all her glory,

at the head of the table.

Gifts were humorous or simple, no expense was stressed when we

planned this celebratory occasion.

Mom ‘kept the card’ but I practically memorized Dad’s message

written here are the words on my Parent’s 50th Anniversary card,

which was absolutely gorgeous,

written five years prior:

“Dear Rosalie,

You were my help mate, my editor, my best friend, my anchor,

my co-pilot, and the mother of my children. You were the love

of my life.

And to Robin, Randy and Rich, our 3 R’s (reading, writing and

‘rithmetic!)

And to Carrie, Jamie, Felicia, Katherine, Jonathan and Libby~~

And to All the Possibilities!

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

(he included 9 ?’s)

I LOVE YOU!

I wish to have you understand what an impact this has been

on my years since. It is hard not to compare the love between

my parents, one raised in the ghetto, working nights at age 11.

My Mom says, “He was such a punk!” While the other half of the

pair (dynamic duo!), my Mom, was raised well. To the long list

of men who have been my suitors (husbands, friends and boyfriends)

I have been disappointed. They “did not hold a candle” to him!

My optimism mixes with some dashes of cynicism, then I get

a little nudge or message in a dream from my Dad:

“Don’t give up the search!

Protect your heart.

He is waiting for you to find him!”

Lovingly sent.

Faithful and True Loves

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To start this with a great big smile, I would like to say

“Happy 50th Birthday, dear Brad Pitt!” I am so glad you are

joining the “ranks” of over fifty year olds. It seems like

only yesterday that you were in “Thelma and Louise” and

breaking out as a handsome “new” actor! My, oh my! When you

took your shirt off, driving those poor women wild! And you

were 28 years old. I was 36 years old, back then. You seemed

so much younger… (By the way, Keith Richards turned 70 years

old today, on December 18, 2013.)

But now, Brad, you are only a “few” years younger and it is all

an “even playing field,” with similar aches and pains. You ‘rose

to the occasion,’ recently handling a personal trauma with your

longtime partner and mother of your children. I admire your

adopting children from many countries and also, raising your

children with a world view of life.

Angelina shared her having a double mastectomy and reconstructive

surgery, bravely to the world, with you by her side.

If we are making a list of the Twelve Days of Christmas and come

to that line, “my True Love gave to me…” We may wish to consider

that these fine men could have easily been persuaded to leave

their wives, but didn’t. They stayed with their “true loves.”

Last post, I wrote about “lying, “false advertising,” mentioned

how corporations “cheat” and sometimes break the laws… and

other ways that deceit can happen, like unfaithfulness.

I don’t count Brad Pitt in the “bad apples” pile, since he did

‘redeem himself,’ (after leaving Jennifer Anniston.) He could

not help it, as I feel anyone who has been through divorce or

a break-up can empathize. Brad Pitt had not chosen the right

love for what values and direction he was heading. It took

making a movie with Angelina Jolie to find what the world can

view as his true ‘soul mate.’ He has shown great caring as a

father and supportive partner.

My final words on Brad,(today) are I am thankful that he

helped financially support the film “12 Years a Slave” through

being one of the executive producers. He also performed in a

small part of the film, doing a fine job once again. This movie

needed to be made for all the young people in the audience that

Bill and I saw, taking in the pain, anguish and horrors of slavery.

Those of us who grew up watching the mini-series, “Roots” or seeing

the movie, “Glory,” somewhat known what the African Americans went

through during the period of slavery and the Civil War. Although,

nothing could compare to their actual experiences. I am ‘plugging’

this movie since it is now up for Globe Awards and the Academy Awards.

I am sure the Actors’ Guild Awards will have this movie on their list

of the ten best last year or it may win “Best Picture of 2013.”

I have a wonderful “nice” list of men who have been in the ‘limelight’

plus the spotlight in the media and news for a long time. This is a

list I found in the October “AARP Magazine” of men staying faithful to

their first wives. (As far as we can tell, from no media massacres,

no angry exes writing their memoirs or complaining on “The Talk.” All

the editorial comments, hopefully somewhat amusing, were written solely

by myself. I am a movie buff and most are from memory. If you have a

favorite movie or television show with one of these “good guys” in

it, let us know!

Here goes a fine list of longtime marriage partners with only one

spouse:

1. The gorgeous Andy Garcia. (“Godfather” fame, also acted as a sweet,
but disconcerted husband in the 2013 Hallmark movie, “Christmas in
Conway.” In the movie, he has a wife who has cancer and he rebuilds
the ferris wheel that he proposed to her on, while they were young.)

2. The humorous comedian and actor (I loved him in “My Girl” as
a father and mortician, also in “Driving Miss Daisy”) Dan Aykroyd.

3. Director and supporter of many causes, Spike Lee, a quirky
but handsome black man! I like a man who looks good in glasses.
My favorites are “Malcolm X” for serious material and “Crooklyn”
for a family movie. There are many more on his directors’ list.

4. Christopher Walken, can be scary but has managed to hold onto
his wife for many years! He is also funny, like on Saturday Night
Live. “Pulp Fiction” and “The Deer Hunter” are serious, but the
movie, “The Stand Up Guys” has some humorous parts.

5. “Welcome to My Nightmare,” singer and writer, Alice Cooper has
been married to his wife for many years. I still like his sensitive
song, “Only Women Bleed,” and that may explain why once he takes off
the makeup, he can possibly give his wife a back rub or foot massage.

6. Funny man, sensitive actor, (“MASH” television series, movies)
Alan Alda has been married for years on end. It would be nice to have
someone to make you laugh and yet, hold you while you cry, too. He may
have driven “Hot Lips” Houlihan nuts, but he showed a lot of compassion
on MASH, too.

7. Nolan Ryan, former Major League baseball player and an Executive
Officer for the Texas Rangers, is a “hunk” and we know the way ‘groupies’
can try to seduce athletes traveling on the road; probably just as often
as movie stars! He is still married to his first wife.

8. Jeff Bridges, raised in a family-oriented acting family, remember his
Dad on “Sea Hunt?” I liked Lloyd Bridges and Beau Bridges, too. Jeff is
still married to his first wife, has been in movies as recently as the
remake of “True Grit” and “Crazy Heart.” (Both very good but quite
different movies. In “Crazy Heart,” he won awards for his playing an
alcoholic country western singer.

9. The handsome singer and actor, Kevin Bacon, has a beautiful wife,
who just quit her role as “The Closer” (a police show on television
which I was a faithful fan of). Their marriage has stood the test of
time and spaces apart, while she was filming and Kevin stayed home
with the kids for awhile, too.

10. Martin Sheen, activist, movie actor and family man. He has been
married for quite a number of years. Raised a wild bunch of men,
including Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez.

Here are the last three in a group, I have run out of steam, but

give this trio a round of applause for their staying in their first

marriages without any controversy or lawsuits: Jon Bon Jovi, you

are an attractive man with a great voice, I love you, man! Glad

to see that you have made the list of “nice guys” with funny

man and actor, Jerry Stiller (whose wife, Meara made them a

famous couple/duo of comedians while I was growing up!) Last,

but certainly not least, Billy Crystal. You are one of my

favorite hosts of the Academy Awards, I liked your light

hearted comedies and hope to see more of you in the movies!

No “Fatal Attraction” news of women and affairs with any of

the above men!

Hope this balances out my negative post yesterday.

We could have some birthday cake to celebrate Brad’s 50th or

Keith’s 70th…

Or how about some Christmas goodies, while humming the song,

“12 Days of Christmas?” Now you know a few more ‘true loves!’