That brings us to the end of 1941 in the letters Pop wrote to Nan. At the end of the year, he was 17, and she had just turned 16. There were 13 letters, covering 17 sheets of paper. In the letters, he referred to her with affection as:
- Sweetest Sweetheart
- My little angel
Seven of the letters were love letters, expressing his fervent devotion for her. Three of the notes were apologies, where he begged for her forgiveness and expressed worry that he had lost her affections. One was a birthday card, one a Christmas card, and one was a proposal of marriage.
My impressions of my young and in love grandfather:
- He was a romantic! He was one of the toughest people I’ve ever known, so it’s been very interesting to see such a tender and romantic side of him. The romance definitely strikes me as the desperate and earnest love of teenagers, but at 17, he was definitely not afraid to express himself to my grandmother.
- He’s a poet… Some of his writings are quite poetic and he likes to play with words.
- He was bashful about sharing his affections with more than just my grandmother. He admonishes her to keep his letters just be them. I’m not surprised by this, because she and her sister were notoriously joined at the hip, and I can picture them sitting on her bed giggling while reading the letters together.