The town of Washington, Illinois got hit quite badly in the hurricanes that tore through the Midwest over the weekend. It was reported that an entire segment of the community lost their homes in the destruction.
But out of loss come love, as a love letter addressed to Washington was found over a hundred miles away in Shorewood, a Chicago suburb. Anne Ortman debated whether or not to open it, but finally decided to give it a read, and was overwhelmed by the urgency of the young love expressed by a soldier for his girl back home.
Ortman reached out to Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass to help find the owner of the note.
"It's just so romantic," Anne said. "I've received letters like that when I was young. I've saved mine. All of them. And in this one, you read that he's away in the service. She's at home. He loves her. You can tell. It's just sweet. But I don't know when it was written."
After discussing privacy issues, Ortman and Kass decided to publish an anonymous excerpt of the letter in hopes of finding its owner.
Groove me and (name) please write soon. ...
The trip was just awful. By the way, keep the letter confidential. Baby, I miss your kisses terribly. Next letter I'll write you a surprise.
The flight was only 11/2 hours to (the city) but ... the bus took 3 long hours to this stupid base. Time goes so slow the night is lonely because I'm afraid to think about you. It might be against regulation.
Weather changes rapidly here, sunshine one minute, hailstones, snow, sleet the next. I'm sorry I can't concentrate my thoughts on you but every minute I live is for you sweetheart. ...
The day is coming along faster with each forgotten kiss. ... You've never known me to talk or write this way but loneliness is making me almost cry. See you soon and please write the very first chance you get. I need you ...
In the next letter, kiss it a bit and send me all your love. … Still love me as much when I get home. My teasing days are over.
Oh my gosh. Kass said the original copy of the letter had lines and words crossed out, and other inserted, and he described it as “the kind of thing a man would write if he was in a hurry and all he could see was the girl he missed.”
I’m hoping for a happy ending for this star-crossed lover, because I’m a hopeless romantic and I like to think that if a slip of paper could survive a devastating tornado, then it was written with a love strong enough to not be torn apart.
Do you keep your old love letters?
Image via Peter Hellberg/Flickr