Last night, I heard the line ‘tenderness of time’ and tucked it into my memory bank for future use. Which today’s Writing 101 challenge invited with a 20-minute fast-write.
I am reducing. Again. Not my personal physical self but the Stuff that I carry from one house to the next. This time, sure it will be my last move, I want to get it right. Instead of (once again) toting boxes of moldering letters between my parents during their 1924 – 1931 courtship (they married June 24), I decided to take a stand. And the only way to do so was to sit down and read.
What I found inspired me, delighted me, and reduced me to tears. Tears of tenderness for how young and optimistic my parents were when they were new in their love. And tenderness for how time weighs down even the most ebullient of spirits through imperceptible shifts. Until the day we ask, somewhat bewildered, “HOW did I get here?”
But the tenderness I most noted was that of hope and longing. My father had been away from his intended for an extended time, seeking treatment for a potentially career-threatening vision problem. In the end, the eyes were not cured but he did have a highly successful career.
During this separation, however, details of the eyes seemed far less important than the minute nuances of feeling for one another. My father explored multiple creative ways to start each loving note to his future bride, and ended each with declarations of devotion and his desire to learn how to show his love, all ways.
What a gift to a daughter some 80+ years later, to uncover the heart of a parent as young adult. What joy to witness a side not truly experienced during the living of the years we shared. What a tenderness of time, to be brought into his present excitement of impending marriage. I am indeed blessed to have taken my own time to pull these letters out, read through them, and discover just why I have been carrying them with me all these musty years.
Dear Sarah, your posting brought tears to my eyes, remembering not just the letter I read from Pop to Momma from early in their marriage, but also attempting to read my own letters to Barbara, from when we were seventeen, when she brought them forth from an old cardboard box a few years ago. The tenderness of time.
Thanks so much for sharing this reflection, Phil. My experience of these letters has caused me to think through an entire new line of writing . . . but between renovations, selling, celebrating ten years of WWfaC and planning the upcoming retreat, I just haven’t found the time to get started! So looking forward to reconnecting with the clan in August. I love this annual opportunity we are creating just by still being alive 🙂
What a gift from you Sarah, to write about this. Thank you,
I appreciate your stopping by, Rita. I hope to write more about, to, with and from these letters in the coming period of time. . . no promises as to a timetable but do stop by from time to time to see . . .
tender thoughts about tender memories — thank you Sarah.
Thanks for stopping by, Anne! I’ve been transported to another time, that’s for sure. Very sweet.