We all have our stories to tell, don’t we?
On a whim, I stopped in Ocean Grove Pet Boutique to see if an old friend from my childhood was working that day. Happily she was! After the shock of me walking in unexpectedly sunk in, and hugging , it only took an hour to catch each other up on the past 40 years. Marriages, deaths, children, dogs, cats, siblings, schooling… you name it, we covered it all. We talked fast!
Cindy and I had been friends all throughout high school. Actually, I was on a double date with her, her soon-to-be first husband, and a friend of his who was enlisted in the Army… when it was the very first time I lied to my mom… and I got caught! I knew my mom wouldn’t care for the guy… as he was too old for me, so I led her to believe I was going out with my EX boyfriend Kevin. Mom didn’t know we had just broken up, so when I left the house she assumed that is who I was with, and I didn’t set her straight. So see? I didn’t actually lie… right?
Any way… I didn’t make it home by the time I said I would and mom got worried. Remember, there weren’t cell phones back then and to be honest I lost track of the time. When I arrived home… finally… my mother glared at me and announced I needed to call the Ocean Township Police Chief. ACK!!! She described Kevin’s car, an aqua Ford convertible with a white top (although it was really black) and had the police looking for him. YIKES!
My conversation with the Police Chief was brief, and humiliating. He made me promise if I were ever to be late again and couldn’t contact home, I was to contact the police and inform them of my whereabouts so they in turn could contact my mom. Yeah, right… like I was really going to do that. However, I yes’d him to death, died of mortification and hung up the phone; my mother still glaring at me. The lesson I learned that day? Never lie to my mom… pay back’s a bitch! I never went out with the guy again either… he was way too old for me… and he wore too much cologne… or was that booze?
In our conversation today Cindy mentioned she had been married 3 ½ times. Half? I wondered how she got the half… and wanted to ask, but didn’t want to interrupt. Eventually it all came out. She was in love, and engaged when he suddenly passed away of a heart attack. Tears sprang to my eyes and goosebumps ran like ants at a picnic up and down my arms as Cindy looked me square in the face and said, “He was the first guy I ever kissed where my knees buckled.”
I know that feeling. I’ve had that kind of kiss. Not only did my knees buckle, but the first time he innocently grabbed my hand (in a parking lot on the way to dinner… at 7:30PM on a Thursday night many years ago) electric shocks went flying through me like a fourth of July Grand Finale… gee, not that I remember the fine details or anything 🙂 Truth be told, a moment like that is never forgotten. They don’t come around that often.
Cindy’s comment stuck with me the rest of the day. It was still in the back of my head when I began to sort through some of my mom’s papers. While cleaning out her house to put it up for sale, I stumbled over a large, heavy suitcase filled with old letters. Many of which turned out to be ‘love letters’ from different suitors.
Men were ga-ga over my mom back in the day, but the only way to communicate was through the lost art of letter writing. As I read a few my heart pounded. I realized I knew most of these men. My dad passed away when I six years old and I remember some of the men my mom dated. One letter in particular caught my heart. It was from an old neighbor of hers,Tom. As a matter of fact mom told me the story of going to the doctor for fear she was pregnant because Tom kissed her on her front steps (Yeah… that was the extent of my sex education lesson from mom; You can’t get pregnant with just a kiss). I wonder if her knees buckled? Tom left for college, mom moved away, and each married other people. You would think that was the end of the story… but no.
Tom was in and out of our lives. He worked for an ice cream company and always arrived with a gigantic box filled with ice cream treats and dry ice! We were the cool kids (get it? Cool? Dry Ice?) on the block as we pulled our wagon around the neighborhood leaving a white, foggy trail of dry ice gas behind us. Oh yes… and don’t forget the freezer of ice cream! I’m sure we were the only kids EVER to be allowed to eat ice cream for breakfast.
Today I ever so carefully unfolded a brittle and torn sheet of legal size typing paper written in small cursive letters. It reads:
It’s been many a moon since I last wrote you a letter. The last serious letter writing spree between you and I was about 18 years ago. As you can see by the start of this letter my technique has not improved much in the love letter writing field. They just didn’t teach me to write love letters in college. I would like to write you a great masterpiece telling of my love for you. The urge is there and I know what I’d like to say, but the words never come out on paper the way I want them to. To sum up my great masterpiece, (that I know I won’t write) in a few words, I miss you, I love you with all my heart, and wish we could be together forever. I’m surprised I got that much out.
The letter continues on with sweet words of how he feels when he is around her… and how he wished he could ‘sweep down on my white charger and carry you off to a faraway castle and we’d live happy ever after.’
He ends with… ‘I’ve loved you since the first day I saw you getting on the bus, and I’ll continue loving you the rest of my life.’
Sniff! Where did that damn tissue box go?
The top right corner of the page is torn off. I can read it was written in November… but the year is gone. I would love to know when he actually wrote it. The condition of the paper suggests mom read it many times.
Tom was married, not happily from what I remember and had children. It was not an ideal situation, but he stayed with his family and supported them as best he could. Many, many years later life became too much for him and he committed suicide. I knew my mom was upset, as any close friend would be… however I never really knew how much they meant to each other, until now. My heart aches.
So… have you all learned a lesson from this???? If you love someone… LET THEM KNOW!!
I, for one, don’t have the courage to write a letter like that. I take that back… I could write it, I just wouldn’t have the nerve to actually mail it. Funny, I have no problem writing about my life and plastering it on Facebook and my blog… and even my book. But to tell the guy who makes my knees buckle how I feel? Never! Besides… it’s too late.