Monday, July 21, 2014

The Ever-Fixed Mark

To say that She and He loved to send greeting cards to one another, is an understatement.  I found a large collection of the cards She had saved over the years, at her estate sale the other day. 

By looking at the old greeting cards and some of the other things at the estate sale, I was able to piece together something of the story of this couple.

She was born in California in 1929, the daughter of Japanese immigrants.  Those of you familiar with the dark side of America's involvement in World War II can probably guess what I'm going to write next: She and her family were interned at a "relocation center" in Arkansas in 1942.

But, the war eventually ended and in 1945, the family returned to California.  

She graduated from high school in 1947, and was awarded a Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Citizenship. 

She went on to become a Registered Nurse.  

She met a former serviceman, and they fell in love and got married in 1954.  They sent each other dozens of greeting cards -- romantic, silly, and somewhere in between.

Some of the cards She saved were still in their original envelopes.  They make this seemingly ordinary post-war love story, a bit more extraordinary.

Postmark: 1954, five months after their wedding.  Address: in care of the nearest Veterans Administration Hospital.

1955: in care of the VA hospital.

And 1956, cards from and to the VA Hospital:

And 1957.

The hand-written messages inside the cards never changed:

She wrote a poem for Him:

I think about you often
And I'd write you every day
But there's so very little
Which seems worthwhile to say
It either rains or doesn't rain
It's either hot or cold.
The news is all uninteresting
Or else it's all been told.
The only thing that matters
Is the fact that you are there
And I am here without you
And it's lonesome everywhere.
I think about the way you smile
And I recall your touch
And distance lends enchantment
And I miss you very much.

The old greeting cards show that She and He kept on quietly loving one another, and showing one another that love, despite His illness.  

They understood what William Shakespeare wrote about choosing to love the other person, in sickness and in health:

...Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken... 

...Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved. 

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