Dear Old Love Letters,

Dear Old Love Letters,

I found you, in the bottom of the big old box. There you were, tucked away safely, all this time. You have stayed so true, so loyal over all these last thirty years. You have not seen the light of day nor felt the warmth of hand to open you and turn your sweet pages.  Thank you for your patience, and knowing, that perhaps now was the perfect time to find you. Read you. Rediscover you. 

As life brings closure on a significant chapter of life, you bring me back, so sweetly and innocently, to the one that began the history of them all. The first.

postage

It’s been thirty years since you were penned and mailed, with a stamp that cost twenty cents. It’s been thirty years since your words have been read and savored. Thirty years since feeling that flutter of happiness upon seeing the yellow envelope on my dresser when I got home from school.

You were written for a sixteen year old girl, and you were written long before you could ever know that letting those words flow freely from your yet unbruised heart would begin the first of all bruises yet to follow. Your wordy news and little updates of seemingly mundane moments pre-date any form of text messaging that today, would surely consume hours of our days. Every little detail, so important.

Your sweet innocence and vulnerability is almost too much…

“My mind is on other things, so I decided to write to that one other thing – you!”

Your uninhibited words play across the pages – the slightly sappy, but so very endearing Snoopy stationery, chosen by your author – in your own unique way; you convey his heart, his thoughts, his cute little sighs.  You reveal a heart as yet unbroken. You tell me that I am missed, appreciated, and while the word graces not the page, in between the lines it’s there. A naive first love.

To find you now is perfect really. A time of re-calibration. A time of reflection. A time of being intentional. A time of new direction. It’s like you knew, that you waited for me somehow.  You remind me what is possible. You remind me that the heart is beautiful, resilient and wise. And that the telling of one’s heart is in fact an act of courage.

“I’m sure extra glad that things are working out with your parents about me. If I come up to visit, I’ll probably get real nervous and blow it though. So, they said it’s ok to come up and visit and stuff? Well, I’m interested in the stuff 🙂 “

Letters, you are a landmark of sorts; a familiar, even if so very vague, place worth remembering, perhaps keeping an eye out for.  I would like to somehow convey to your author  – the sweet boy who was brave enough to pen his heart on your pages for me, for to be so transparent is truly an act of bravery – how grateful I am. That he owns a corner of my heart. Always. How could he not?

“I sure had a super great time on Sat. Thanks! We didn’t do much, but it didn’t matter. Just being with you made it worth it.”

Letters, sweet old letters, thank you for staying safely tucked away and finding me again all these years later.  I grin and blush just thinking about you and feel almost sixteen again.  I am comforted by your presence, for the 16 year old girl then, and the woman now old enough to be her mother.  Like muscle memory, our hearts have a memory too. It is good.

Love,
Bonnie

______________________

*These letters are real, and were from my first boyfriend when I was 16 yrs old and he 19.  We met while working together at a summer camp. I attended his wedding years later and we danced together, talking and sharing, knowing we’d always think fondly of the other. While I congratulated him on his big day, and said I wished he and his bride so much joy,  I told him I still had his letters. He said he still had mine.  

I could tell you what happened or who broke who’s heart, but when a first love ends, isn’t it both hearts that twist and crumple, never to be quite the same ever again?

How the story ended is not so important as remembering the sheer openness and accessibility. Every girl should be so lucky to have letters so sweet and that remind her that she’s been cherished in the eyes of another. 

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28 thoughts on “Dear Old Love Letters,

    • Denise, thank you for stopping by here, so nice of you! It was sweet to go to his wedding and know that yes, we’d always be friends. Your comment is so great, thank you!

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  1. Oh, I love this post Bon! So, so sweet. And the little details – Snoopy stationary! – make it seem that much more accessible and real (and stinkin adorable, quite frankly). How wonderful that you kept these letters, and that you founded them again right when they needed to be (re)read. xoxoxoxo

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    • Amb, this boy used his words. And so many. And so well. The stationary is just too cute, and he had chosen it just for writing letters to me. He lived only 45 min away, but this was way before email or texting or cell phones..thank goodness, right? And yes, PERFECT timing! xxoo

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  2. This is so lovely, Bonnie 🙂 I have a box somewhere and having read this post I’ve realised I have absolutely no idea where it is. The last time I saw it was before we moved house. I’m hoping it’s not lost xxx

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  3. awwwww…. love that history. How many letters? I have all of my old ones, too, save one set that needed to go. The best is the letters my husband I and wrote when we were apart while dating. Good reminder that we weren’t always overworked, exhausted, middle-aged parents too tired to spend a decent amount of time on our relationship. (If that isn’t a ringing endorsement for marriage, I don’t know what is haha)

    Even cooler, my mom’s mom, now passed, had always kept letters she and my grandpa wrote when they dated. I knew my grandparents as hard-working older folks, parents of five children, one of whom died when she was 20. So to read my grandpa’s romantic and sweet words to his bride-to-be was lovely.

    So glad you have those letters! Wondering how I’ll handle my daughters’ heartbreaks. Time heals, but oh the pain.

    Great post!

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    • Liz, thanks! And, how cool that you have the letters that passed between your grandfather and grandfather, just goes to show that love is love, no matter what year or century. I mentioned to Amb, how great it is that we have all this from before the age of texting and emailing. It’s just not preserved the same way. The set of letters I have (not sure exactly how many) continue on the point of two years after we broke up, but remained friends. The affection was still there and the sense of connection. Just so sweet to revisit all of that. Glad you have kept the letters/notes between you and the husband! You make me think – about the heartaches to come for our kids. Ouch. That will be so hard to watch, but oh so much a part of it all!

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    • Yvonne, so great! i just love hearing how everyone has their own special box, it’s just so sweet. It makes perfect sense, it just wasn’t a thought that occurred to me while writing and reflecting on this post. I love that some memories were brought to life even if for a moment!

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  4. Oh my…I, like you, had such a box. This box was as loyal a traveling companion as one could wish for…always there, ready to open itself when I needed it, or remain silent beside me for years on end, protecting its precious cargo…the declarations of love from the first one who’d seen the true beauty and innocence of the other who’d only known that love was very dark and full of pain. This cardboard treasure chest of little white envelopes filled with lined white notebook paper, covered with the scribbled and barely legible thoughts of a teenage boy, proving intuitiveness beyond his years, charm belying his age, and guilelessly penned with loving ink, were held together with a silver chain with a diamond chip heart pendant he sent to me, over the thousand miles that had cruelly (in teenage speak) come between us, saying I’d always have his heart. As happens in life, time and distance proved too much at that tender age, yet the reality of it then is still the truth of it now. I do still hold part of his heart and he still holds part of mine. That will always be…even though the box disappeared two moves ago. I hadn’t visited it in a long time prior to its disappearance, yet can still recall every word…for how could I ever forget the one who taught me, that kind of love in my life was possible. I love this post BonBon…thanks for bringing it home….xo

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    • Oh Rhon…it’s like your own mini post here, I love this reflection and memory of your own box and revelations of first love. And yes, we always hold a part of those hearts that were the first to come knocking and stay for awhile. I wish I could go and knock on the door of the boy who wrote those letters to me and just stand there and say, Thank you. To come full circle and let him know what a difference he’s made would be amazing. I wish you still had your box, to think it lost is almost just too much. But, that you have it so etched in your memory is beautiful. The heart has memory. I love that you loved this…that makes me happy. xoxo

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    • Maureen! I love that you took note of that part, and yes. I had to spend some time with myself on that, because yes, when a first love ends, both are forever changed. I love that we see that the same way. It helps too, with reconciling the past – all the good and all the heartbreak!

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  5. I thoroughly enjoyed this post, enjoyed reliving the anticipation of waiting for a letter, tearing it open, reading it over and over again. Thank you for bringing me back to a sweet and innocent time.

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    • Carolann – you are welcome, but it is I who says thank you. To find such universality is amazing. I love knowing that others of you were reminded of your own sweet and innocent times, first loves – crumpled hearts and delightful memories. So glad you’re here.

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  6. What a sweet and touching post. I still have a box of love letters too, and took them out after thirty years of being tucked away. As I sat on my bedroom floor reading each one, I was truly taken back to that wondrous time.

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    • Kathy – I love that, that you have a box like this too and have kept it and sat with your letters on your bedroom floor. They do transport us to a whole different time. So glad you shared that with me!

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  7. Such a poignant post, Bon, and one that really speaks to my heart. I had a group of letters like this that were lost to me, for reasons that don’t bear getting into, but I can still picture them, and recite sections in my mind. First love, so trusting, so “all in,” is a beautiful thing, and something that deserves to be cherished. I’m so very glad these missives waited for you and reappeared at the moment when you needed them most…. Xo, l

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    • Lori – thank you so much. First – it’s means so much to know this spoke to you and I am so sorry that your letters have been lost to you. I realize only now how much these mean and how much there is to learn from them. I am glad you can see and read them in your mind; they are imprinted upon us, these letters. And thank you for the words: Trusting and All in. I searched within all while writing this post, seeking a word or phrase to capture a particular essence and it for some reason eluded me. I love that it came across to you despite me not having the right word, clearly enough for you to give me the word I needed. It was trusting. It was all-in, in such a beautiful way. To first loves and lasting imprints. xo

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  8. Dear Younger Bonnie, Now do you see how wonderful you were even when you doubted it? You will see how the heart breaks and heals, with scar tissue and time and a little love of one’s self along the way. You’re gonna learn this as a grown up – and your heart will be even more magnificent with each memory of love – won and lost. A fabulous post BonBon. xox

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