Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Moldy Love Letter Rescue

Back in the day -- when hand written letters were sealed in envelopes, pasted with self-licked stamps from the US Postal Service, sent via truck or boat or plane and delivered rain, shine, sleet, freezing rain or sweltering heat, Tim and I found ourselves in love and thousands of miles apart.

It was possible to communicate by phone but it was very expensive and there was never enough time or money to say everything. We were relegated to professing our affections through written letters and dictating on cassette tapes our undivided and undying love for one another.

After we wed, the letters were placed a cardboard box, eventually graduating to storage in a notebook protected by plastic covers.

The embarrassing cassette tapes were laid to rest in a dumpster in Pocatello, Idaho after each tape was pulled from its case preventing anyone from listening in on our premarital conversations.

The letters remained in the notebook until the spring of 2008 when they were discovered in a box filled to the brim with mementos from my husband's life and covered in furry mold.

I was ready to part with these notes based on the allergen factor alone.

Tim was not.

We agreed to let them dry out and then discuss their fate. Once dried, the mold spores still presented a significant issue to my sinuses and I was not sure what to do -- since tossing them was not an option my husband was willing to consider.

And then… I thought about lamination. Permanently heat pressing the letters seemed a viable option – I mean the mold would be trapped forever, right?

One hundred and twenty seven love notes later, reading and reminiscing as I went, I became convinced that these penned words deserved better.

So, I created a book (actually two) out of a roll of brown shipping paper, distress ink and sewing machine thread. There were pockets on each page big enough to hold all the memories from those days. I included photos from that time and created a digital layout to serve as the front covers. All in all it was a delightful, creative experience. I am sorry I ever wanted to toss them and I hope our words live on for years to come. Thanks completely to my husband Tim.

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