Saturday
Feb232013

Love Letters & 100 years

 

From a letter dated July 17, 1942, addressed to "My Most Beautiful and Beloved Wife":

My Darling I've been been so busy with samples I'm near worn out. How we'll ever make it by Sunday I don't know -- I may have to go down Sunday morning and make some sort of set up with James -- If so I'll let you know for sure even if I have to telegraph. So don't worry. If that happens I'll come down Monday & Tuesday and rest with you. (In bed)

***

 

It's been months since I've posted on this blog. In the interim, lots of things have gone on, but probably most significantly my mother, Brad's daughter and youngest child, has underwent breast cancer treatment, so we've had a lot more time to spend together. Just the other day though we did something that I've been wanting to do for a long time - went through a trunk of my grandparent's things, trying to piece together their history. Many pieces of memorabilia were among the items we found. Here are a few:

My grandmother's wedding dress.

It was, I swear, only 12" wide as she was *tiny* due to Grave's disease, a hyperactive thyroid disorder, that was "cured" when they removed her thyroid gland; Brad Keeler's high school yearbooks, which prove to me that greatness cannot always be measured by academic or athletic achievement as he was not on any of the dean's lists (in fact, it appears, from one of the autographs in the book, that he made many trips to the dean's office!), nor was he involved in sports, or any other club for that matter, save for the photography club, the only record of him personally in the book. The club was responsible for taking the senior class' portraits, but no portrait of him appears in the yearbook, except the group photo of the club; also, we found newspaper clippings and photographs galore, including some rather racy (for the time) photos he took of his wife, my grandmother, as well as letters that he wrote her when she was spending the summer in Laguna Beach while he continued his work at their home/factory on Delay Drive.

Here is a photo of my grandmother Catherine, sitting on the very trunk that my mother and I went through:

This was taken on her birthday, June 18, 1944, two years after the letter excerpted above. She was 32 years old.

My mom and I had gone through the entire trunk and had moved on to a box of my grandmother's belongings taken from her home after she passed away in 1979. These letters stayed in her direct possession all that time - 27 years. So much had happened in those years, the years between when Brad passed away and when she did. It would not be inaccurate to say that she fell apart after his death. What kind of love does that to a person? Only the most intense, I would think.

Here is their wedding photo. Aren't they adorable?

The sunglasses, I am told, are not because he wanted to look cool, but because he had the measles!

February 4 would have been Grandpa Brad's 100th birthday. Happy birthday, and happy Valentine's day to one very loving and lovely couple.

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