I found an old letter

The strangest thing happened.  I was sorting and cleaning to get ready for a visit from my kids, and there, seemingly appearing out of nowhere, was an envelope addressed to one of my sisters, in my handwriting.  It was still sealed, with no stamp.  I opened it and found a letter that I’d written in February of 1978.  It was less than two weeks later that I became engaged to marry my husband.  At the time, I’d just moved to Minneapolis, and was living in an old hotel converted to small studio apartments with a girlfriend.  I’d just turned twenty.  I had no understanding of warning signs, or what it meant to be the recipient of love bombing.

Finding this letter was like finding a time capsule item.  I have no idea how this letter traveled with me unknown for over three decades, and how it suddenly just appeared in stuff I was cleaning up.

Here are some excerpts.  In the letter, I referenced my husband and the guy I dated before I met my husband (some of that story is in this post):

2-13-78  “We’re always broke, but we make the most important ends meet.  The jobs we got sent to are smelly, dirty factories.  As you can see by this letter, I’ve survived so far.  Somehow this week, I’m going to try to snag a steady job.

I’m happy here.  Days go by so quickly, and even though life is more than complicated – it’s better than nothing happening.  Here I meet someone new every day, and I’m in a not so good neighborhood, so life is never dull.  The guy in the apt. next to us is really loony.  He tries to tell people that Carter doesn’t run the country, he does.  ha  But I don’t take any chances or get myself in bad situations, so it’s okay.

… If I hadn’t been seeing so much of [husband] and [boyfriend from high school], I’d probably be going out with a lot of different people.  I’ve been asked out quite a bit, and the majority are normal, nice guys.

…[husband] took me to a formal [military officer] dance.  (He is about six feet, buzz hairdo, dishwater color, hazel eyes, 21 years old, baby face, will be a fighter pilot, was cousin’s college roommate last year)  I wore one of my long dresses, pinned my hair up in curls on top of my head, and entwined 25 cents of baby’s breath in it.  He kept telling me how nice I looked, so I’m glad he liked it.  He bought me a beautiful orchid corsage.  Out of the 26 days I’ve been here (doesn’t seem possible that it’s been that long!), I’ve seen him 13 days.  Believe it or not, I think I’m in love again.  But it scares the you know what out of me.  He says that he knows he loves me.  But he’s ROTC and leaves this summer… that’s a big barrier in my mind because even though I have a pretty good hunch that he’ll want me to move to wherever he is, I won’t do it.  I can’t.  I just can’t commit myself.  So I foresee many problems. 

A little over a week ago or so, I told [boyfriend from high school] that I didn’t want to see him until he was divorced.  But then a few days later we were together again.  But then I did the same thing almost.  So, we were supposed to get together this weekend, I was supposed to call him, but I was with [husband] – and I guess I just didn’t do it. 

[husband] and I are going to church together every Sunday.  (we’ve gone twice so far)  It’s a really beautiful Presbyterian church about four blocks from where I live.  You know I still think about [boyfriend from high school] – how could he not be a part of me?  But everything is screwed up.  When I try to sort out my feelings about the two of them, I come up with mass confusion.  So I’m just letting things happen, and not getting committed to anyone until my head is all together.

…Hope your Valentine’s Day is good – mine could be touchy – it’s an old anniversary with [boyfriend from high school] and me, but I bet [husband] will want to come over.  Well, que sera sera? 

Love,

PJ

 

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6 Responses to I found an old letter

  1. ChickenLadyMovedToTown says:

    *sigh*

    Liked by 1 person

  2. newshoes123 says:

    Even back then you wrote incredibly well. What was your feeling when you read it? Do you remember the confusion? It seems like you were with 2 pa men back then.

    Like

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      New, I don’t think my first boyfriend from high school was passive aggressive. Most of the problems in our young relationship were because his parents (probably more so his mother) didn’t want him to date me, marry me, or come back to me. The other problems were probably connected to our youth (needing to mature). He’s gone on to live an honorable and successful life; in other words, it seems he kept growing. We were on a crash course in part because we were so very young, with adults constantly trying to pull us apart. At least that’s what I remember.

      Every time I was with him, it was mixed feelings. I loved being with him, but I felt like I was proving that I was ‘bad’ since he’d married someone else, even though at the time he was trying to work out a divorce. When I dated my husband, along with his love bombing me, it was that feeling of a fresh start. I wasn’t ‘bad’ for being with him. It was a kind of relief, like a demonstration that I must have had just enough ‘worth’ to deserve it. It was a false hope and premise, of course.

      My feelings when I read it were some of affectionate sadness for that poor young woman, barely out of her teens, that didn’t see what was about to run her over. It made me remember how much it hurt me that my first love had married someone else. It made me remember how meeting my husband, and all his charming attention, good humor, and promises (never kept) were like a breath of hope that somehow maybe I could have a ‘happy ending’.

      I didn’t understand then that you must choose, and that choices create paths, and that we become our choices over time. I think because I struggled so much with not feeling worthy of being loved, not feeling worthy of happiness, that I was waiting for it to come along and ‘happen’ to me. I had some kind of unconscious idea that if you were ‘worth it’, then it would happen to you. I misinterpreted what hurt me as things that happened to me because somehow that must be all I deserved, not as things that I could create choices to move away from. I didn’t understand.

      I wish I could go back and love that young woman. Give her a bit of help in practical ways, and some long talks. I would try to help her discover and explore choices while she possessed the energy and vitality of the very young. I would have tried to awaken hope for her.

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      • newshoes123 says:

        I felt the same way when I met the man who would be my pah. I remember thinking that it would be a good long while before I met anyone that would think that I was worthy. I had 2 previous boyfriends who both in their way were pa to me (I didn’t know that at the time of course because I didn’t have the wisdom yet and I was so naive). After those 2 men, I remember thinking that there would be no one who would just accept me for me. At first, he poured it on thick, too thick and I remember being overwhelmed by all of the feelings directed at me. I also remember wanting to put the breaks on but he was able to lure me in quite effectively. He was young too and very dramatic and very charming. I fell for it hook line and sinker.
        Now I know that that was more obsession than love. Soon I wasn’t good at driving, then I didn’t do this or that, and I should be doing or that, and I rose to all of his challenges but if I asked him to do something simple like pick up his clothes off the floor, that was a big deal that was worth a week of pouting and ignoring me. But I was so “obsessed” by having his “love” that I bent over backwards to try to please him, begging him at times to just talk to me and that was his ammo and it killed me. I grew up of course and I didn’t accept it anymore, I even got used to it… weird what you will normalize when you don’t know differently.
        I thought I was strong at the time, strong enough to take on any challenge, any man, any life problem but if you live with a pa person, those challenges and problems are compounded by the moods of these people and your concentration is not actually on the problem or challenge but on the mood of that person and how you can try to help them, change them, take it over for them only adding instead of fixing.
        I get you, I wish I would have loved me more then, but I didn’t know what that was all about. I gave and gave and forgot about me.

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        • WritesinPJ's says:

          “but if I asked him to do something simple like pick up his clothes off the floor, that was a big deal that was worth a week of pouting and ignoring me.”

          All of my kids are home right now, but a response to this will be my next post. Dark humor heading this way.

          Like

  3. Zombiewife says:

    That’s the shortsightedness of youth; being unable to see beyond the immediate or understand the potential outcomes and consequences of our choices. Waiting for clarity is probably the hardest thing to do. I remember being that age and thinking I had such limited choices, and if I said no to any of them, I ‘d never have another chance again. I married my first husband at 19, knowing I was too young but believing it was my only opportunity.

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