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Reading Between the Lines


As promised, I am continuing to share some of the love letters between my grandparents – George and Grace – for the rest of this month. I have chosen this letter and three more to share. In this letter from George, I can feel the anticipation building as he waits for his beloved to return. From what I have read, the plan was for Grace and her family to return to Springfield, MO in August. But, as we will see in an upcoming letter, she actually does not come back until later.


As George waits for his beloved Grace, he is making efforts to keep himself occupied. He loves photography and it sounds like he actually developed his own pictures. He tells her about going places and taking those pictures – one of his favorite places is her home in Springfield. I get the feeling he likes to send her pictures of home to make sure she doesn’t forget, and to perhaps stir up a little homesickness in her heart.


Springfield, MO.

July 23rd, ‘09


Miss Grace Verink,

Lynch, Nebraska


Dearest Grace: You are mistaken about thinking there is some drawback about my new work that I am keeping back. The only drawback I know of is the night work, and I will get through in time to come and see you (when I have had time to make a date.) I won’t have to lay off to go to a show unless I want to. You, dear little girl, you don’t want me any more than I want you. I’ll have to have that big hug when you come home and we get the swing in commission again.


I developed my plates (pictures I think) today. The one of your house is the only one that amounts to much. If the card gets dry in time, I will send it to night. If not, I will in the morning. I think the trees look pretty in it.


Today has been another delightful day – just as cool and nice as you please.

Well, July is almost gone! I do believe it is going to be time for you to come back to me before a great while.


Well Honey, I fooled away a lot of time with my pictures and then had to shave, so I have not had time to write much this evening, but will send the paper so you can read it instead.

Good bye pretty girl, I love you always.

George


George’s work as a postman is a subject he writes about often. We read of changes in delivery districts, as well as day and night shifts. It sounds like it was a concern for Grace and he is assuring her that his new shift won’t get in the way of seeing her.


I knew my grandparents as older adults, of course. By the time I came along they had been married for many years. They both had graduated from Palmer Chiropractic School and practiced together for a while, then George had his own practice and Grace stayed home and took care of my mother.


I don’t recall ever hearing my grandfather call my grandmother “Honey” as he did in this letter. What does stand out to me, however, is the amazing love he showed her by actions. He complimented her on baking, on how pretty she looked, and other things she did. He insisted on doing the dishes and other tasks around the house to show her care. Sometimes he would sound cross with her because she would argue that she could do those tasks, but he always won. My friends who came to visit my grandparents with me were always intrigued by how George spoiled Grace.


There are many ways to say “I love you.” It’s always so appealing to hear those soft words from the one you love – to hear that voice and see the warm love-light in their eyes as they profess love for you. But we also experience love as we read between the lines. In these letters I read of an unspoken love and desire for time to hurry up and pass so they can be together again. I wonder if they felt, at times, that it would never happen? Later in their marriage, I witnessed love in the caring and doing for one another – in insisting on giving of oneself for the sake, or the simple pleasure, of the other.


In the love of George and Grace I experienced the example of what we read from 1 John:


Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – 1 John 3:18


This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. – 1 John 4:9


In what ways do you experience love from others through actions, and not just words?

In what ways do you give love through your actions?



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© 2020 by Dr. Sharlyn DeHaven Gates