Thursday, 28 September 2017

My Father's Letters

Our daughter Jordan was home last week. Recently engaged, she asked me what I knew about her grandparent's engagement since neither of them are around to tell her about it.

They were high school teachers in Dawson Creek when Dawson Creek was young. They were a bit older than most of their colleagues- Dad was a WW II pilot and an engineer before he became a teacher, Mom had a degree in Commerce and a Masters Degree from the U of A, but neither had found their "soulmate." As the only two single teachers at their school, they were frequently thrown together at staff events. Before long, they started going around together. Then they became an "item". Then they started wondering if they were just together because they were the only two single people they knew. Or maybe that the one thing they had in common was that they were both teachers. My dad got cold feet. He resigned his job, got a new one in Victoria, and went to Syracuse New York to take summer school courses in teaching special ed, which was for some reason the area he, as a decorated WW II pilot with an engineering degree, had been assigned. My mom stayed behind.  They wrote back and forth. My mom went on a cruise to Alaska to mend her broken heart. Out of the blue, my dad proposed.

"I know their story," I told Jordan.  "And I have his letter of proposal."

Stored away in a box of paper, my dad's love letters to my mom, in his perfect penmanship, written with a fountain pen in turquoise ink. Eleven letters I had never had the nerve to read. Eleven letters that went with her from Dawson Creek to Victoria to Trail, back to Dawson Creek, to Tumbler Ridge, and finally back to Victoria. Details both personal  and mundane. Why did she save them? Mementos of their early life together? A symbol of his love? Did she mean for anyone else to read them? I think she did. 

So I gave them to my daughter to read, and on a road trip to the airport from whence she would return to her adopted nation and her fiance, Jordan read them all with gasps and laughter and the occasional "Oh Granddad!"

 Here they are!


My mom and dad