Elizabeth Barrett Browning Didn’t Have a Lock on Love Letters

Perhaps the most widely quoted love letter is Elizabeth Barrett Browning‘s “How Do I Love Thee” which she wrote to her husband, Robert, but there have been many more outstanding ones that were never made public. I’m here to remedy that with a few excerpts from some of the more memorable ones.

“My Dearest Baby Love…” This is how my grandmother started a letter to my grandfather when she was away from him while visiting her parents. They hadn’t been married very long, no kids yet, so it had to be early in the 1920’s. She ends the letter by signing, “Forever your Sweetheart Love.”. I’d give you the in- between stuff, but out of respect to my grandparents, I think I’d better keep it private. Let me just say that it is incredibly sweet and touching.

My father begins a letter to my mother, “My Darling Wife, the days go by, but each one leaves me empty without you…”. He ends it with, “Remember, I’ll be loving you always.” It is a letter from the war years when he was in the South Pacific and my mother was in Dayton, Ohio. Again, out of respect to my parents, I cannot share the contents of these love letters, but let me tell you that they leave you with a sigh  and more than a tear or two.

And now to my own true love. My favorite “love letter” is one which I received when we were both in college.  It arrived by “air mail” in the form of a paper airplane that sailed across my husband’s dormitory room as he sat at his desk and I sat on his bed.   I was studying my anthropology, and he was studying me. He wrote, “I’m madly in love with you and am dying to give you a big giant kiss and hug this very instant but can’t because you are studying and the door is open.” Um…out of respect to my children, I think I’ll keep the rest private…

I’ll leave you with another great love poem, Robert Burns‘s “My luv is like a red, red rose,” set to music and sung so tenderly by Eva Cassidy.

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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28 Responses to Elizabeth Barrett Browning Didn’t Have a Lock on Love Letters

  1. maritesmabugatsimbajon says:

    These are beautiful and precious! The classic love letter writing always carried with it the scent of the paper, the smooth flow and blots from a pen, perhaps a lipstick mark and a teardrop stain and the thrill of a receiving a stamped mail or handed by a trusted bearer. Most importantly, it has a very intimate story scribbled on each one with that very special loving connection between two lovely souls. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Pingback: Love Letters – He loves me, he loves me yes! | i am a tropical flower

  3. pattisj says:

    What treasures you have, Susan.

  4. sliceofshanghai says:

    What a sweet post! I still remember the time when my husband and I had the long distance courtship and we had to write almost every day. Back then I lived in Hong Kong and he lived in Chicago. One of the memorable occasions was that we sent each other Browning’s How Do I Love Thee at the same time, mine was an email, his was an air mail coming my way! When he got my email, he couldn’t believe his eyes!

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  6. Beautiful post! I still have every love letter and love note my husband has written to me (there are many) and I’ve often wondered if I should destroy them so that our children aren’t left with them… but this post convinces me I should leave them just where they are, in a box in our closet. My favorite is on the back of a piece of cardboard — the front side of the cardboard says “Berkeley” and he was using it to hitchhike to see me (I was a student, he lived in Santa Cruz, CA). He waited all night without getting a ride, writing a letter to me on the cardboard. Instead he took a bus the next morning and presented me with the cardboard letter when I met him at the bus. Like yours, my man is a romantic keeper!

  7. E.C. says:

    Lovely tribute to love letters and the romance shared between sweethearts.
    I hope you Valentines day was a happy one. 🙂

  8. winsomebella says:

    I have a friend in a new relationship at the age of 52. She became distraught when she accidentally deleted all of the text messages she had received from her beau. Just not the same, is it? And thanks for the clip of lovely Eva.

  9. I love that note from Dad – so sweet (and funny). I have every card and note DW has ever written me and look at them often. He starts everyone of them with “My Love…”

  10. Al says:

    Not hard to see where your romantic nature comes from. We just happened to come across a letter a few weeks ago from a jilted girlfriend of Patty’s father after he went off to college. Not exactly romantic, but was it a hoot! Old letters found are like gold taken from the ground, a treasure.

  11. Loved this, be still my beating heart! Oh, so romantic! You are very lucky to still have those letters. I did manage to save some cute little notes my husband and I used to leave around the house for each other when we first met 14 years ago. They aren’t as sweet and romantic as your letters but it’s still a moment frozen in time and I cherish them.

  12. Amy says:

    Beautiful letters for this special day! Maybe, Valentine’s Day is not how we celebrate, but those precious moments that we always remember.

  13. Shary Hover says:

    Somewhere, I have a packet of letters my husband (then boyfriend) wrote to me when I was away in France. I need to find those. 🙂

    P.S. I love Eva Cassiday… hadn’t heard this recording. Thanks so much for sharing it. Happy Valentine’s Day.

  14. The perfect post for Valentine’s Day! Wishing you a lovely day full of love – it’s definitely a generational thing in your family. 🙂 Thanks for sharing it with us.

  15. Ahhh…three generations. How wonderful you have them in such great condition, too. Now there’s a reason why cursive can’t die on the vine.

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