February 28, 2011

Wartime Proposal Letter

My great grandfather Cecil wrote this letter to my great grandmother Faye when he had just gotten home from World War One in France. A little older than she was, he was actually her teacher at one point. But he fell in love with the sweet girl who always wore purple and this is what came of it. It's amazing to know that this is in my blood. 

So read it and weep. Peek through the windows into their love story.Behind this man's stern looking face was a poet- it doesn't get more romantic than this. 
Danville, Ill., July, 16, 1919.

Dear Faye:

I found your note when I came in Saturday night and it set me to thinking how few things in this world we can be absolutely sure about. We know so very little, and there are so many things we might have known or ought to have known at the time and did not realize till later.

When did I begin to love you? I don't know, but I do know that I was always glad to get your letters and was often thinking of you and wondering how you were and what you were doing and whether you ever thought of me. I remember once when I was at your house you went somewhere to visit some girl friends and I was quite disappointed in not getting to visit more with you. Yet even then, it never occurred to me that there was any possibility that I might fall in love with the little girl who used to have trouble with complex fractions. I came up to see you graduate from high school and I can't tell you how proud I was of you, and, that you had once been a pupil of mine. I ought to have know then but I didn't. Why was I so blind? Then the war came and I decided that it was my duty to enlist. I had to make a trip home and I hadn't seen Carrie for a long time so I had to go to Wellington to tell him good-bye. Then I can't tell you how badly I wanted to see you. Not till then did I ask myself why I was so much more interested in you than in any other friend I had and I began to realize what it was that had me in its grip. Then I didn't dare come. I was afraid. I was afraid that in spite of myself I would tell you of that which no man has a right to talk of to a woman on the eve of going to war. 

Besides I realized how almost impossible the things was. There wasn't a chance in a thousand that you could be brought to care for me at all in that way. You deserved a younger and a much better man. I finally decided that the right thing for me to do was to go without seeing you and try to forget-not you-but that I had ever allowed myself to think such foolish thoughts. Perhaps, I thought, after all I might be mistaken about my own feelings and would be glad when I came back to find you engaged, or married to some good man. Well, the experiment wouldn't work. I couldn't forget and the farther away I got, the more hopeless I felt. I do not know how I would have gotten along without your letters.

When the armistice finally stopped the fighting, there was no soldier in France more anxious to get home than I was. How this time dragged! Before I had reached home I had made up my mind that you had a moral right to know how I felt toward you, but that you must see me in citizen's clothes first. The romance of a soldier's life should have nothing to do with the story I had to tell.

But however long the story, it finally resolves itself into just this. Faye, I love you. Will you be my wife? Faye, this letter is all one thing but that one thing is all I am able to think of just now. When may I see you? Is it asking to much to ask that I have my answer from your lips? 

Whether or not your are ever mine, I am always yours,

Cecil E. Walter.

Obviously, Faye said yes.

(*I posted this two years ago. It deserved re-posting.)

6 kind comments from you:

Kaylee said...

That's beautiful! This hormonal mama is tearing up :)

Beka said...

wow. just...wow.
you definitely have that in your blood. and that is SO awesome.

what a letter!

Nicky said...

Beautiful! Love your blog - found you via The Annoyed Army Wife!

DixieChick said...

I just found your blog via Annoyed Army Wife, and absolutely love it. I read the first two posts, and before I knew it, half an hour had passed, and I'd read back all the way into December (and yes, uhm, I am at work). You have such a way with words, and you're so honest and authentic...it's amazing. I've added you to my reading list :)

QuilledtoQuell said...

Thank you for posting this letter. I found your blog via Military Spouse Central yesterday and immediately fell in love with it. My situation is similar to this letter. My boyfriend and I met online almost 2 years ago through a mutual friend who gave our screen names to each other. He was stationed in Colorado. I'm from Texas. We started talking right before he got deployed. We never got a chance to meet. I think we were both scared at the time. We had both had horrible relationship luck, and I think we just both thinking that the other was really too good to be true. And he was afraid of seeing me, falling in love, and then not being able to talk much to me during deployment. But I wish we had known how long he was going to be gone. But like the letter says, 'We know so very little, and there are so many things we might have known or ought to have known at the time and did not realize till later.' He still has no idea when he will come home. But thank you for posting this. It's given me an encouragement I haven't found elsewhere. It's made me feel like I'm not alone in my situation.

chambanachik said...

This comment made my day! I'm so happy my great-grandfather's words still work some magic today. :) You're definitely not alone.


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