Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: MAIL (02/18/16)
- TITLE: Timeless Love
By Ruth Tredway
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Who would send a package? Had she ordered something online, and forgotten about it?
At the dorm desk, she traded the yellow card for an express mailing box. The assistant said, with a grin, "It's from your grandma, but it's not homemade cookies this time. I did the shake test."
Ronie thanked her and headed to second floor, box in one hand, key in the other. Inside, she tossed her jacket and books on the bed, and poured the last of the coffee into her mug. Her roommate left it on - again.
She sank into a beanbag chair with the package. Even if it wasn't cookies, Gram's mail was always a treat. She pulled the tear strip to open the box, and dumped the contents into her lap. There were two bundles of old letters, and a separate envelope with her full name - Veronica Strong, and under that, the words "read this first." It seemed like a scavenger hunt, and here was the first clue.
My dear granddaughter,
I'm so thrilled that you have found a young man to love forever. Yet, my heart aches because your parents are not here to share this exciting time. I have loved every minute of watching you grow up - Grandpa helping you ride a bike, your first dance, and those chaotic teen years with youngsters in and out of our home.
When your father went away to war, he didn't know you were on the way. After he died in a military hospital, his personal effects were returned, and your Grandma Kathy gave your mother the letters she'd sent him, bundled with twine. She put them away with her letters from him, tied with a yellow ribbon.
Your mother's sorrow brought on early labor, and giving birth left her weak. Her reason to live was gone, and her despair deepened when she realized you would never know your father. In her frail condition and with a broken heart, she died before your first birthday.
The small photo album, containing their wedding picture, and your mother holding her infant daughter, and other photos, is yours when I'm gone. However, the best images of them are blended into their beautiful child, now a young woman full of life and hope.
As you dream about your future with Michael, I know you've wished you could ask your parents many questions, and talk with them about your fears. You've wished you could have seen their love being lived out. You may have wondered:
What was my mother like?
How did she know he was the one?
Is this real love, the kind that lasts?
Your mother's letter to her infant daughter - you, precious one - is tucked into this envelope, written for the day you are ready to enter your own happy ever after.
When you came home from your first date with Michael, I knew the time was close.
Your mother and father had a timeless love. They would have wanted you to know. In their absence, let them speak to you through their letters to each other.
Times have changed a great deal in only two decades. We express love differently now, with email, and texting, and long phone chats. Extravagant dates and destination weddings. A huge glistening gem for your hand.
Maybe letters and cards are old fashioned these days. It wasn't always so, for ordinary folks. Your parents exchanged simple silver bands on their wedding day. And your grandfather sealed our engagement with a beautiful Lane cedar chest, my hope chest, to store my collection of household items before the wedding.
Real love, that lasts a lifetime, has some characteristics that don't go out of fashion. Your mother and father had that kind of love. Let these letters, their expressions of love and devotion, be their way of wrapping you in a warm hug. Let it be an invitation for them to walk with you as you discover and celebrate your own love that lasts forever.
All my love,
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