boxes of love

On any given day in my junior high career, I had a bunch of notes folded into squares stashed inside my notebook. As I passed friends in the hallway, we'd exchange these notes. Sometimes we'd have a running conversation on the paper. I kept a lot of them in a curling iron box. 

In college, I can remember camping out by the mailboxes hoping I'd get a letter from my friends who were probably doing the same thing at their colleges. Those letters were my lifeline, especially when I was a freshman. I saved them in a box that a local furniture store gave each high school graduate. I still have them in the same box.

I met my husband on August 22, 1987. He was a brand new Marine, and I was in my first year of graduate school in Maryland. In January, he was stationed in California and then in May he went to Okinawa for a year. He came home, we had our wedding, moved to California and a year later he was deployed for the first Gulf War. He came home the day after our first daughter was born. 

This was before email and before cell phones. We just got cordless phones that were the size of a brick. Phone calls were $1/minute and there was a 12-hour time difference. The good news was that it cost the same amount to mail something to a military base on the other side of the world as it did to mail something across town. The bad news was that it usually took a week to get there, and if it was a package, it sometimes never got there. 

So my husband and I planned a wedding and a move across the country and went through a pregnancy via snail mail. I have 4 shoe boxes of the letters we sent to each other. I have years of our relationship permanently documented. There are discussions about wedding food and guest lists and baby names. There are boring letters about what a typical day was like. There are heartbreaking letters about how hard it was to be separated especially during the milestones of our relationship.

All of those boxes of love. It's so fun to go down the rabbit hole of reading them. I don't keep in touch with some of the writers of the letters, but I appreciate the memories. I wonder if there are letters I wrote tucked away in someone's attic.

Celebrate every day,

July 27, 2018 by Kelly Northcott

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