On, May 6, 1919, at 11PM, my grandmother wrote a love letter in English to her fiancée — my grandfather. It seems from the letter they were apart for a short time due to a family obligation.
Armenian was their primary language, but my grandparents corresponded in English and French. This is the only letter in English, a couple more I have are in French.
Suppose she had thrown away it away — “decluttered” it. (Gasp.) She would have only been my grandmother to me. This is an extraordinary glimpse into her life as a young woman in love. The passion she feels for her soon-to-be husband is obvious.
“I can never forget your sweet eyes full of red blood fibres when you are too excited or extremely sorry, isn’t it so sweetest? . . . . I thought of you . . . . of two day’s absence, things which made me think over, especially having your eyes before me, oh your eyes! eyes!!”
“ … when will the time come when we will shall never be separated from each other. I am alone tonight, alone. I will not feel your breathing and charming body …”
I found the letter among some photographs and other keepsakes in a box after her death at 92.
Part of the envelope is missing, and the paper yellowed, but it’s a treasure. A family heirloom. I’m sharing this post on May 6, 2019, exactly one hundred years later. My grandmother saved her love letter. Likely she read it from time to time, and remembered that sweet time in her life.
A little background
My grandmother graduated college and was a teacher when she met my grandfather. She spoke several languages by that time. My grandfather also spoke a few languages (self taught) and was in the export/import business. They married on October 13, 1919 and raised two daughters. Their marriage enjoyed periods of prosperity, endured financial hardship, and also political hostility. Until my grandfather’s death in 1959. (I never knew him.)
“Goodnight dearest, thousand kisses — wherever you want to place them.”
What we save now, is all we will ever save.
And I’ll say it again, as I did in this post — keep sentimental items. Cherish them. Please don’t throw these types of things away! Love letters and yes, less glamorous items. Correspondence, mail, report cards, SAT scores, even. Some may be embarrassing and cringeworthy, but keep them anyway. Especially now that these items are becoming rare in the digital world. It’s not like you can save a text, random e-mails, or information on some website.
Hang on to what tangible treasures you can find. Pass them along. Let your children and grandchildren get to know you after you’re gone.
Don’t “Kon Mari” that s#*t!
And that concludes today’s public service announcement.