"the nicest and the sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple pleasure, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
Lucy Maud Montgomery

Sunday, June 8, 2014

the box...

 I came upon a box.  Nothing special.  No marks or dates on it.  No reason to think it was anything but an old dusty, musty box.  It had been in the bottom of my closet for quite some time,  how long I don't know.  I didn't remember putting it there or why I was keeping it.  I pushed it aside with every intention of throwing it in the trash.  But I couldn't, so I put it aside and went on with my rearranging. ...
That box, it stayed on my mind for days.  It pushed it's way into my dreams.   I wondered why it had such a strange hold on me...then I decided to open it.

It was full of letters.  Love letters.  Love letters from my father to my mother.  And love letters from my mother to my father.  Before they were wed,  before they were parents, before the burdens of life would bear down on their beautiful lives.

They talked of ordinary things that are not ordinary at all when you are young and find love and passion.  They talked about their families, vacation, work, and counted the days until they could see each other again.

My father talked about his last trip to Montreal to gather his belongings and how the last night he was there they had a big party with all the cousins together, 14 Henault's gathered in the streets singing on the trolley and counting how few of them were left and if the boys didn't marry and father boys it would be the end of the line.  As fate would step in many years later there were no boys who survived and fathered sons.

 He spoke of the difficult border crossing and having to have all his papers in order, his birth certificate and passport, some others that I couldn't translate (all in French), how they had to unpack their suitcases and let the conductor search through everything.  This was 1945, not 2002.
 Air mail was 3 cents and as they wrote each other every day it must have been 'expensive.'

 He called her 'darling, and 'sweetheart.'  She called him 'honey,' but signed her letters with her first name.

The old box, tucked away in my closet for at least fifteen years and holding the dreams of two young lovers just after the war.  There were at least twenty before they were married and then many more after.  The hopes, the dreams, the everyday lives of the people who would be my parents.

Excuse me, I have something in my eyes, and more reading to do.


  1. That's a treasured find. I think that stuff you have in your eyes is contagious.

  2. I so loved this simple post
    Thank you

  3. What a treasure in that box, Joanne! Something to hold on to and pass on to whomever wants them......such a part of your family history.
    Funny, lately we have been going through a lot of Ron's parent's things that have been packed away for decades as far as his father's goes. He decided to part with some and keep others.
    This can be a very emotional time Joanne, obviously. Happy that your parents had a life before 'life' set in and sad that they are gone.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Wow, what a find. I recently found a letter my dad sent to me from aboard a ship. It was printed, so I must have been in early grammar school. There was no date on the letter. He told me he was proud of my last report card and reminded to be a good girl and help my mom. I plan to frame it.

  5. Oh, Joanne. What a beautiful, wonderful history you have there in that box. Isn't it a treasure that you will enjoy for all of life? I love it. I have a lot of letters from my father when he was in WWI and wrote home to his family. Aren't we lucky to have been privy to something so precious? xo Diana

  6. I have no words but my heart has been touched beyond measure. May more meaningful boxes come your way. Love you.

  7. What a treasure, will you preserve them all in an acid free album? Might be a good idea also to take digital photos of everything .

  8. This is so special. My Mom has all the letters my Dad wrote to her when he was overseas during WWII and some when he was home. I'm going to get them put into book form like I do my blog. The paper is getting very frail! I hope you can continue to preserve these memories for your family. How cool that you have them! Now go wipe those tears!

  9. how lovely!!!! what a treasure to find!!!


  10. How precious!!!! So glad you looked inside! I have been going through stuff and letters are something I keep. I tossed one can full and that wasn't easy. It's so fun to reread and remember; or in this case find out! A very special gift for you.

  11. This is wonderful. What a gift to find this box. You are so lucky.


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