When we cleaned out the attic last weekend, I came across an entire box of love letters between my husband and me.

David and I were separated for two years in our mid-twenties — he was in England and I was in the Midwest — and we wrote most days during that time. We couldn’t afford phone calls, and we didn’t have reliable access to email, but we made up for that with industrious use of pen and paper. We joke that it’s the last courtship on earth to be conducted by old-fashioned post.

Thick packets in airmail-blue envelopes: I still remember how excited I was to get them. How I could almost hear his voice when I read them. How I would lie there on the bed, quiet in my room, savoring every word. But no matter how slowly I read, eventually I’d reach the last loving postscript — and be hit all over again with the fact that he was 4000 miles away.

The only cure was to write back. So we both wrote our hearts out, sending letters freighted with love and worry and news and laughter. After a year of writing, we got engaged. A year after that, we got married. And all these years later, it’s still a thrill to be together.

If I could only save one thing from the attic, it would be those letters. Nothing brings back those times like reading what we wrote. And nothing is better proof to me that words can build bridges, words can move mountains, words can change our lives.

Advertisements