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Lost and Found: A 53-Year-Old Love Letter
Is there love after love? After a painful breakup, it can feel like you'll never want to see a certain someone again. You might even want to, say, dump all his (or her) overpriced, pretentious, toasted-gold-and-ego flavored coffee into the cat litter box, stir it up, and the scoop it all back into the coffee bag--so that he (or she) will have a delightful early morning drink the first morning in his (or her) new, much larger (!) apartment.
Which is why the world works in more mysterious, wiser ways.
Three days ago, AP reported that a clerk in the California University of Pennsylvania mailroom found a 53-year-old letter tucked into a magazine. The envelope, bearing four 1-cent stamps postmarked 1958 was addressed to Clark C. Moore. The stamps were turned upside down (a symbol, like red roses, of romance), and the letter inside was signed, Love Forever, Vonnie--the young woman who was soon to be Clark C. Moore's wife and mother of his four children.
Today however, much has changed. Vonnie and Clark divorced many years ago. Clark has converted to Islam and changed his name to Siddeeq. Even the college--California State Teacher's College--is not the same. In this century it's known as the the California University of Pennsylvania.
Considering the bittersweet turn of events, one might expect there to be mixed feelings about receiving a letter that might bring back some old feelings. But Siddeeq had a different take--fondness. "Back then, we wrote at least once or twice a week, sometimes three times," Siddeeq told the local paper, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "That was before e-mail. It would perk your whole day up to get back to your room and find a letter." Later, he told the other local paper The Observer-Reporter that it was "just a testament of the sincerity, interest and innocence of that time."
Not everybody writes love letters anymore. But if we think of them as time capsules, as receptacles for who we were--not to mention who we wanted to be or almost were--together, then anything can be a love letter worth revisiting. A left-behind pack of matches. A forgotten novel with an inscription on the cover. And yes, a bag of toasted-gold-and-diamond coffee, which is actually plain old hazelnut coffee, when you fast-forward five years and start seeing the past with a little tenderness and perspective.
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