Monday, October 11, 2010

A Fine Romance

Filling in with some background information during a letter-writing hiatus from October 6 to November 9, 1949, as June recuperates at the hospital from a ruptured appendix…

June and Art.

June and Art met in May 1949.  For the next four summer months, they went on frequent dates, doubtless increasingly aware of June’s impending return to school in the city.  The first six letters reveal an easy natural chemistry had already developed between them.  They know each other’s personalities and comfortably tease each other.

There are no big declarations of love in this first exchange of letters, but from the start, they consistently sign their letters “love” or “all my love.”  It’s natural to assume that June and Art were having regular phone conversations, as well.  Doubtless, things were discussed on the phone that were equally (if not sometimes more) important as the stories in the letters.  Our view is limited.

June had a tendency toward depression, and her moodiness is often acknowledged in the letters.  She usually attributes it to homesickness or separation from Art, but there are indications it runs deeper than that.  Art was very aware of this tendency and would try to cheer her up.  Of course, the best way to cheer June up was always the promise of a visit.

When reading the letters, it’s important to remember their youth.  In fall 1949, June is 20 and Art is 22.  Neither is worldly.  June is a student, entirely reliant on her parents for the money needed to live in the city.  Art lives at home with his parents, working as a grocery store clerk in a small town.  June may have dreamed of becoming a successful fashion designer and Art of being discovered as a fine oil painter, but any ambitions of that sort are minor in the light of their overriding main concern – seeing each other as often as possible.

(On Wednesday, an introduction to June's parents...)

Countdown:  The correspondence resumes in 29 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

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