Thursday, February 07, 2002

This is why every day is Valentines Day for Doug and Chris

March 6, 1988
Beaver, PA

"Dear Chrissie
... I was thinking of you today - I think you're pretty special. That's it in a nutshell. If I really started writing about it this letter would be too long and I want to get some sleep soon anyway.

"...I keep thinking about you - but there's really not much to write about. Actually it's kind of late and I'm supposed to get up early & help Bonnie (*) do some stuff, so I'd just like to say I love you, I miss you, I look forward to seeing you very much.


"S.O.S. 4:1-15 (**) (discard all the goats similes and geological references -- I just want to say you're beautiful to me)."

Beaver, PA

"Dear Chrissie
"...I know I am not explaining things very well -- I'm just not concentrating much on communication I guess, because I'm trying to write but I'm thinking about you too much, but trying not to think about you so I can write -- hence it ends up as sort of a mess. I look forward to hearing from you again soon and seeing you in June. Things are going well here, but I'm aware that there's just something missing here (that's you) -- the picture is fine but just isn't complete, my little bruin. (***)"

5-30-89; 12:21am
Beaver, PA

"Dear Christine

"...All I can say is I wish I was there to be with you because you could need that now. ... It sounds as if maybe your whole world is crashing in (again) - a prolonged period of crisis maybe. I was just thinking last night of how calm my life is now & how everything goes so well, and I was very thankful to God for that -- and I knew something out of the blue would come & shake me out of it (such is life -- a series of trials). You see, when you're all upset, well I'm upset (like that stupid song about smiling). It's at the point, at least for me, I think we share the burdens & joys of one another. I wish I were there to put my arms around you. But maybe in some ways its better this way if everything in your life has tarnished and it all has a malaise and all I hope for is you'll truly find your rest not in earthly things...I pray that peace comes to you afresh and in abundance. Seek diligently and you shall surely find. And hey, I love you."

No Date Indicated
Gordon College

"I am in this building looking for you. Don't leave it. Cordially, Douglas (#)"

No Date Indicated
Gordon College

"This is what I'd like to do:

1) Study my notes until I have a good grasp of the information
2) Go to WHP (##) with YOU
2b) Mess around with YOU after WHP run
3) Sleep for a while
4) Wake up early - maybe a light breakfast - and study the book (I have a lot to do)
5) Go to Marvelous Marv's class
6) Skip chapel & study
7) Maybe have lunch with you & do the mess around if I'm well prepared for the exam
8) Review & take exam
9) Play loud music in my room & maybe read some
10) Have supper with YOU
11) Do some studying w/you & do the mess around in my room


11) Do some studying and go to the Cabot (my treat --unless it's something really queer (###) looking or dull), and then do the mess around until the wee hours of the morning and beyond
12) sleep

etc., etc.

14,568) Have our fifth child (!!!) and take another vacation to Cancun
14,569) Share a romantic dinner with you & make you moan with ecstasy on the beaches of Cancun
14,570) Pay bail to get us out of Mexican prison

etc., etc."

That is just a small sample, excerpts from the many letters I've received from my husband, who was then my boyfriend. Reading through them this afternoon has totally cracked me up and made me smile. There are moments in these letters that I'd like for him to re-read, where he talks about his family and his mom and dad and their relationship, and I want him to keep them in mind as we grow older together.

I have a box of letters from him, the letters folded nicely inside a birthday card he gave me years ago, tied with an army surplus shoe string from when we were in Oregon. Some of them don't mention his love for me at all but instead narrate scenery passing as he's riding a bus from home to Pittsburgh, poems about sodium vapor lamps and mall construction ruining his views of the rivers in his town... Each letter is a gift, whether it is directions on how to drive to his house or a quick note left on my desk in the library when he came looking for me and I'd wandered off for a break. And each letter, even if it isn't a gushy love letter, is a love letter, letting me know that at that very time, no matter where he was, he was thinking of me enough to write me a letter.

I am a very lucky girl. And I swear I will never take that for granted.

Footnotes, necessary so you understand, not to confound you...

(*)Bonnie is Doug's mom's name. He was home that summer.

(**) Song of Solomon... the passage reads, and I've totally killed the poetry by removing the indents, the spacing and everything by just slapping it up here... :

"How beautiful you are, my love, how very beautiful! Your eyes are doves behind your veil. Your hair is like a flock of goats, moving down the slopes of Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of shorn ewes that have come up from the washing, all of which bear twins, and not one among them is bereaved. Your lips are like a crimson thread, and your mouth is lovely. Your cheeks are halves of a pomegranate behind your veil Your neck is like the tower of David, built in courses; on it hang a thousand bucklers, all of them shields of warriors. Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle that feed among the lillies. Until the day breathes and the shadows flee, I will hasten to the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense. You are all together beautiful, my love; there is now flaw in you. Come with me from Lebanon, my bride; come with me from Lebanon. Depart from the peak of Amana, from the peak of Senir and Hermon, from the dens of lions, from the mountains of leopards. You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride, you have ravished my heart with a glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. How sweet is your love, my sister, my bride! how much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice! Your lips distill nectar, my bride; honey and milk are under your tongue; the scent of your garments is like the scent of Lebanon. A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a garden locked, a fountain sealed. Your channel is an orchard of pomegranates with choicest fruits, henna with nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all chief spices -- a garden fountain, a well of living water, and flowing streams from Lebanon."

(***) My little bruin. I had a Boston Bruins jersey in college and wore it a lot. He thought it was amusing, and seeing a bruin is a bear, it became his nickname for me once in a while... a cuddly, fat, hockey-loving brown lump of a bruin. That's me!

(#) Okay. This one is NOT romantic. But it is one of hundreds of little notes letting me know he was looking for me in the library. He also left weird things, like he'd draw a picture of a skull, and write "this is here to confound you." Just to be weird and different and indeed confound me. I have about five of those. They make me laugh. He once left me a letter in greek letters... like I can read Greek weirdo!

(##) WHP is White Hen Pantry. A 24 hour convenience store kind of place that we'd drive to down in Beverly for snacks and just to get out of the college and get a break from there. A residential college experience when you're living in the dorms is often a 24/7 thing. And sometimes, it just is a good idea to go to WHP.

(###) Aaah, the 80s... when saying "queer" meant lots of things to people, and to us it was "stupid." No offense to the gay/lesbian population of readers... it's historically relevant and I'm not editing the word. I love the word queer meaning peculiar, odd, kind of stupid, and so wish someone hadn't come up with using it to rag on homosexuals. Darn.

(!!!) fifth? was this seriously on his list of things to do?!! Two is fine, thanks baby. And I'd still love to go to Cancun, get sand in the crack of my backside while making love on the beach, and, pay the bail.

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