The Anti-Love Letter

My grandfather died before I had the opportunity to meet him (before my mother was even born), but through his letters to Honey and the discussions I’ve had about him, I feel like I know him pretty well, even well enough to predict his responses. His letters were not “hi, how are you?” -type letters. They are emotive. Here are some short pieces of the first letter that I have from him:

Dated January 31, 1940 –  Drawn hearts with arrow going through with “Why aren’t you sweet like me?” written on the outside.

Cotton picker,

When Hitler or Stalin want to start some chiseling they start accusing their potential enemies of all sorts of illegal practices. You may be down in Alabama but you have certainly mastered that trick. I’m ashamed of you…

I damn near die every time you leave…

I’ll take any kind of punishment to get to see you…

I’m crazy about you…you treat me like a damn dog. You say you can’t see why you’re true to me. By God, if you don’t think it’s worth while then damn it don’t be true to me. Run around with anybody you damn please! you’re just a jealous [sic] …too damn much like an Arkansas mule to admit it…

You’ve gotten so important in my scheme of things. I’ve got to have you. Honey, we’re doing wrong if we don’t end up together. Everyone was meant to have a single mate that they would love more than anyone else and so few people get that, let’s us try a little harder or we’re going to lose it…like I’ve told hundreds of people that love is the big thing…

Let’s don’t fight like this. I love to eat and I can’t eat when I feel like I do now…

He does not close the letter.

I feel that letters – particularly hand-written letters – give us insight into one’s soul. Don didn’t have the time or occasion to rewrite his letters (to edit his feelings), and as such, his words are raw, real, and powerful. To imagine being Honey, receiving this anti-love letter, I would be so torn between anger and excitement. He loved her, but there was so much tension in their relationship. I only hope I can do it justice.


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