A few years ago I found a box of love letters from WW2 from a husband to his wife from an antique dealer. Claude lovingly wrote countless letters to Irene from 1944-1945 and they were so carefully kept, bound, and perfectly preserved. So many times I wanted to unwrap them but couldn't bring myself to do so. They were so neatly put together by Irene, that I felt it wasn't my place to take them apart. Maybe if I knew Claude and Irene, or was a family member these few generations later I would have. But I have a burning desire to find who these rightfully belong to, and have begun my search just recently. There is a power to holding and touching these letters. The softness of the paper, the velvet ribbons and the worn edges of the tears. The stamps are an amazing piece of history and you can even feel the love in the addresses written on the envelopes.
I decided for Veteran's Day 2020, it was time to photograph and post images of these absolutely beautiful letters. I kept all personal information for this couple private, because I wanted to respect that perhaps these letters were never meant for eyes other than Claude and Irene's.
On the top of one of the stacks, is a letter postmarked on my birthday, Sept 4th. I was able to wiggle it loose from its stack without harming the integrity of anything and read just the last page of this four page letter. Because there is no personal info and I feel these words are SO incredibly powerful for us all to hear in a time like this... I decided I wanted to share that page.
"Well honey, I guess I have written all that I can think of. Now please don't you worry one bit please just take good care of yourselves.And just keep that meeting day in mind. As we all know it is bound to come sometime. Then I am sure it will be worth all that we had to go through in order for us all to have a nice peaceful place to live back home. So please do best you can and try to keep things going until I can get back there to help you. That will be the day huh? Well honey must close will write more later and don't you forget to write. Will close with all my love as ever your loving daddy and hubby. -Claude"
In a pandemic, I found these words so incredibly powerful. As we approach the holidays, with a sadness that we can not gather in large numbers as easily as the past, I am moved by the reminder of this man's journey. I wonder, did he ever come home? Did they live a long marriage together until an old age?
As a wedding photographer, I capture love all the time. Engagement sessions and weddings are a part of my everyday life, and witnessing exploding love is a constant positive force in my life. I guess that is one of the reasons I just absolutely adore these letters and they mean so much to me, even though I do not know this couple.
To all of the veteran's who have given up valuable time with loved ones to help fight for our country, I value your sacrifice and thank you.