Left to right: Me, Dad, my brother John, Mom
We found the letters in a shoe box, where all old letters should be found. They were on a shelf way under a cabinet in the living room, behind a lot of other stuff. Lucky for us. I'm pretty sure Dad would have burned them had he found them first.
They are love letters, every one of them, pure and simple. They range from passionate to playful, gentle to newsy, anguishing to soothing. They tell the story of an entire generation. Soon after their marriage in 1943, Dad had left for war, serving in the Navy on a destroyer in the North Atlantic. He left behind a young wife pregnant with their first child.
In one letter, my father writes, "I want to love you passionately for the rest of my life." He was true to his intentions. Each was the other's first and only love. Here they are in the picture above, taken last week at the nursing home in Massachusetts where they now live--still together. Dad will be 90 in July, Mom 88 in April. It's seldom easy to put your parents into a nursing home even if its absolutely necessary. The only way they went willingly was with the promise that they could still share the same bed. We got permission from the nursing home administrators to drop the side rails and push their beds together. They spend their days together, holding hands and reading, watching TV, and looking out over the New England countryside. They spend their nights lying side by side as they have for the past sixty-six years.
Douglas Arvidson is a past winner of the WICE/Paris Transcontinental International Short Story competition. His short fiction has been published in Paris, Prague, and in literary magazines in the United States and he was recently invited to be a staff writer for the Prague Revue, a cutting-edge, online literary journal (http://bit.ly/1mMT6ZC). The novels in his fantasy series, The Eye of the Eye of Stallion, include The Face in Amber, The Mirrors of Castaway Time, and A Drop of Wizard's Blood. His new novel, Brothers of the Fire Star, was selected as a finalist in the ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year national awards and as a finalist in three categories in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards: Action Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. It has become part of the pantheon of Pacific literature and is now included in school literature programs. Brothers of the Fire Star is an adventure story set in the Pacific during World War II and concerns two boys of different races and cultures who escape the island of Guam in a small sailboat when the Japanese army invades. They must then struggle to survive as they master the secrets of the ancient Pacific navigators. Appropriate for young adults as well as adult readers, Brothers of the Fire Star is available on Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com (http://amzn.to/1j3axVk) and Crossquarter.com. Visit the author's website: douglasarvidson.com