Several months back, I blogged about my grandparents’ love story. They met through letters when my Granny was fourteen. My Granddaddy met my Granny’s brother during World War II and after seeing a picture of my Granny, he was eager to get to know her better. By the end of his time overseas, he was writing her twelve page letters every day. Sadly, when they married and she moved from Highpoint to New Bern, she had to pack everything into a small space (they were travelling by bus), and she could not bring the letters with her. She burned them in her fireplace, so they must have been juicy ~smile~. If even one of those letters had survived, it would have been priceless to me.
She told me after my Granddaddy passed away that she wished she had saved them because she knew I would love to read them – and she’s right. I can’t think of anything she could give me that would be more meaningful than their written love story. She has told me what she can remember, but there is no way to remember all the little things along the way. She was seventeen at the time and I’m sure she wasn’t thinking, “I wonder if my future granddaughter will be sad that I’m burning these?” She was probably thinking two things: 1. I don’t have room for all of these and 2. burn the evidence or I’ll be teased for life! Considering the amount of letters he wrote, and how long each letter was, chances are she had over ten thousand pages of letters from him.
As you live life from day to day with each other, write your experiences down. Save letters that you write to each other (as long as they are appropriate, of course) and keep them in a safe place. Save ticket stubs, flowers, and small gifts. They may not seem like a big deal now, but in fifty years when your grandchildren are growing up, they will love going through your boxes and seeing trinkets from your love story.
Journaling does not come as easily to some as it does to others, but I would still strongly recommend that you take a few minutes each day – or, at least a few times a week – and write about your relationship. This is especially significant since your pre-engaged relationship is in the beginning stages. When you’ve been married a few years and you are having a rough patch, it will be good for you to be able to go back in time and remember what drew you together in the first place. There are a few special times I remember when I found that I was not appreciating Eric enough. Remembering our courtship, and early times in our marriage, has helped me to put things into perspective – especially when I’m angry about something trivial.
So, start documenting your love story now. Think about the things you’ll want to remember and the things you’ll want your children and grandchildren to know about your love story. My mom did not write much, but I love going into her old yearbooks and reading comments from her friends. She wrote something to my dad in French in his yearbook back in the early 70’s, but she won’t translate it for me ~smile~. The few minutes you spend jotting down your story day-to-day will be infinitely worth the effort when you have your memories available for generations after you to enjoy. Hearing about my grandparents during their younger years makes me better aware of who I am and from where I came. If you prefer to write by hand, buy a nice journal and create a volume series. If you prefer to type (as I do), then type it out and save printed copies into a notebook. Occasionally, add something handwritten. It is often gratifying to read older handwritten documents years after they were created. This is one gift that keeps giving even years after you’re gone – your legacy in your own words.
What written legacy do you want to leave your family?
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