Friday, October 23, 2009

Catalpa Row

Sometimes we drive down roads and forget that there are hidden stories. Stories from ages ago that still leave remnants where once they happened.

My mother had chosen my father to be her future husband when she was 9. She loved him all those years and he, in time, loved her as devoutly. My sisters decided a few years ago that I should have their love letters. As I read the letters I understood my parents in a way I never could before. Most of the letters had been delivered by hand by Grandmother Loxley.

I had only one letter that my father had ever written to me. I treasure it. Daddy didn't express himself much and never wrote letters or cards to his children. Yet here in these letters to Mom, he wrote pages of love. When he traveled, he wrote to her daily. To my surprise, he added x's and o's, kisses and hugs, across the bottom.

On one of our father/daughter walks, Dad took me down by the creek next to my grandfather's house. Catalpa trees, with their wide leaves, stood in a row between the creek and the road. We walked down the row of trees stopping at a tree or two that had grown together. He stepped between them to show me something. It was the reason for our journey down the catalpa row. When Mom and Dad were young, Dad had carved their initials in the tree. He wanted to share this special place where he and Mom had laughed and kissed so in love. I haven't been down that row since then. I'm not even sure that tree is still standing.

I cannot give my granddaughter's my love letters, but I can tell them of the early years when my ex and I were in love and had good memories. I can tell them about my parents and some day share their letters.

We know what hides along the road as we drive by. Not just catalpa trees but a story of young lovers.

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