Monday, November 12, 2012

"What Do You Say?"

I realize Veteran's Day is all but over, but it has meant something more to me today so I wanted to share my thoughts anyway...

This last weekend, my sister and I spent some time at my Grandma's house. We got to talking off and on about my Grandpa, who passed away quite some time ago. Grandma Laura was specifically recalling memories of when they first met and of when he was overseas serving in the Army, back in 1950- 51.

She told a great story of how both her and another girl that wanted to date him were at the train station to see him off when he left. My Grandpa paid no attention to that other gal, but only to my Grandma. When he had boarded the train, she explained that he leaned out of the window and gave her one last kiss! I couldn't help but think of how that is just the perfect Americana image- and my own Grandparents lived it!

Cyndel and I googled it later to try and think of what it might have actually looked like- maybe something like this:

I also got a kick out of this version:

Cute, eh? :)

She said my Great-Grandpa, her future Father-in-Law, was so thrilled that Grandpa had chosen her over that other gal that he even said right out loud at the time, "Hooray! The brunette won out!" :)

We sat at Grandma's table and devoured the letters my Grandpa wrote her while he was away.
Not just a few here and there. No, he wrote her every. single. day.

She had them beautifully numbered and ordered, with several in a larger envelope, a few notes about the ones inside written on it. We read the very first one. And then the one that informed he was coming home at the very end. In the beginning they read "Dear Laura," and by the end they said "Hello Sweetheart," instead. :) We couldn't help but search for the one where he asked her to marry him.

Grandma had already told us that they were married in February after he got home in January and that he had asked her to marry him in a letter! She obliged us by reading it out loud to us- wow, can she still read his handwriting without any trouble! I noticed that frequently in his letters he'd ask her, "What do you say?" in reference to their future. Grandma said he didn't like to dance, but knew that she did. And in one letter he suggested they take some dance lessons when he got home- "What do you say?" He mentioned that he wanted them to spend all their time together- "What do you say?" 

It was just the neatest experience I've had in awhile to get a sense of the more intimate details of who my Grandparents were as young adults. We laughed over some of the things he said and truly felt him.

My heart just aches at the thought of the way things were back then- that he would write her each day for two years, and that she would be faithful back at home as well. That he would spend his free time as a soldier in the communication tent writing rather than going off with the other soldiers to party. That the cause he was serving for was worthwhile and necessary. Even that my Grandma saved and so well organized each of his letters- what a treasure!

So today I was thinking of my Grandpa Huffaker, of the special Veteran in my own family history.
Of how I am so grateful and awed by what an awesome man he was...
I sure hope we get in to those letters again someday :)



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