The letter that started it all

First of all let me begin by stating that Hot and Stupid was created as my solo post in recognition of Valentine’s Day.

I do not get amped over the Holiday.  It’s one of those non-essential days and besides, Cupid is stupid.  I guess I’m atypical of most females.  Chalk it up to my parents.  My dad drilled two main themes into my head:

  1. Education, Education, Education
  2. Be self-sufficient depending upon no man

And my mom?  I believe you know her well. 

My mom, the poster child

So I’m not really genetically programmed for Valentine’s Day.  Don’t get me wrong.  If my hubby brings home flowers or fattening chocolate I will receive the goodies with appreciation but I don’t NEED them.  I certainly would not string the boy up or super glue certain body parts if he didn’t get me anything.  I’m secure enough in myself and our relationship that I don’t require a day on the calendar to let me know that I am divine.

That being said, I decided to post something in the spirit of love.  This is dedicated to my kids, who never tire of hearing the story…our story…the story of how two people, worlds apart came to be.  Stay with me as I set it up.  I guarantee it will be worth the read and totally unique.

I was in college and had trudged through my share of swamps and met every croaking man frog.  They were slimy and disappointing.  However, my family believed I was just “too picky.”  This belief changed after Rosie, my poster mom, had an encounter with one of the better frogs while moving me back into the college dorm.

It was a hot day with 150% humidity.  We were oozing sweat as we heaved my luggage out of the vehicle.  The frog spotted my car and cruised over in his sporty red convertible.  Sitting side-saddle with his shades sliding down the bridge of his nose, he smiled a crooked smile and watched us suffer.

I looked up and with winded breath replied “Hi, what’cha doing?”

He intentionally paused, smiled then s l o w l y  said,  while bobbing his head in a circular motion,

“I’ m   j u s t   c h e c k i n g    y o o o u    o u t!!”

My mom, who was created with jalapeno seeds, not sperm, whipped around and hissed “How about checking these bags out!”

I was no longer too picky.

That night in frustration I asked:   “Ahem,  God? Is this the best’ya  got?   In the entire creation of men?”


The next morning in my mailbox was a letter from an unknown person bearing the name Donnie.

A few months before the letter:

Desert Storm/Shield was in full swing.  A local newspaper published an article encouraging civilians to write letters of support to the soldiers.  A group of us in the dorm got together, picked out a random, unknown address and wrote generic letters of support.  I casually chucked my letter in the mail the next day and never gave it a second thought.  

As with most letters mailed, this one contained my return address.  What I did not realize was that the Military instructed the soldiers to “sterilize” or dispose of any identifying information.   The reason was simple.  If the enemy should obtain the information a mail bomb or act of terror could be performed.  The soldier I wrote to tore off my return address and buried it in the sand to sterilize my address (um, thanks?)

My husband  was in the 82nd Airborne during the time.  His company was on the front lines progressing through the desert.  After a long day of marching, his commanding officer gave the orders to stop and “dig in” for the night.  They slept in man-made fox holes.  He dumped his gear and began the physical task of digging as he had done many times before.  However, during this dig he noticed something peculiar.  There in the sand, was a small piece of neon pink paper.  Curiosity outweighed the fatigue that was attacking his body.  He bent down and picked up the piece of paper.  What he found was a return address…my return address that the other soldier had buried in the exact spot where my husband chose for his fox hole!!  It is unknown how many days or weeks it had been there.  He immediately knew what it was and why it was there.  He paused briefly before stuffing my address into his pocket.  He would decide later what to do with it.

Later came when he was coming off of 24 hour guard duty.  Feeling wired from an adrenaline rush occurring due to a perimeter breech he (yes, he is Donnie) decided to write me a letter.  He was a fantastic writer.  His letter was entertaining and explained how he came to obtain my address.  I smiled as he wrote “If you’re married or have a boyfriend then fold this letter lengthwise and burn it…”   We began writing and continued to do so for the next 9 months.  The letters were rather platonic but there was a bond developing between us. 

Upon his return to the states we met face to face.  The meeting was awkward in the sense that I had to take the personality of the person in the letter and apply it to the physical form standing before me.  The awkwardness lasted for all of a few minutes and after several meetings, we began a long distance relationship because of his location in Fort Bragg NC.

In 1993, three years after meeting “in the sand,” we said I DO and 17 years and three kids later, we are still doing.  So yes, a thank-you is in order to the unknown soldier for burying my identity in the desert sand!

Our local news covered the wedding and an artist drew the following picture for us.

A local artist drew a banner...see what is in the sand?


The letter – only it was just the return address, not the entire envelope

 From the Philippines to America to the sands of Saudia Arabia….the journey that one man had to make and I am very thankful he did!

Happy Valentine’s Day!


11 responses to “The letter that started it all

  1. What a cool story! That is definitely unexpected. Funny how so many people always ask God for a sign. Then they hear a tale like this and probably think there’s hope. Or they want to throw up from jealousy 🙂 Thanks for sharing and I hope you two have a great day.

    • haha, no need for the green eyed monster. There is always hope – I just happened to require a little more interventional assistance! Geeze, what does that say about me?

  2. Ahhhhh! How well I remember those days! I am glad you were found! There is a bible verse in Proverbs that says….”he who finds a good wife finds a treasure…” He did and you are!
    love, mom

    • Awww, mama I luuuuvv you! Keep your spicy on ‘cuz you have a granddaughter to see through the dating years. Although, there may not be anything to “see through” if Donnie has his way 🙂

  3. Now that’s the kind of posts I love … especially from people who say they don’t need Valentine’s Day. Silly girl, of course we do if only to share our love for someone in some small way. And you did to many. If you haven’t yet, I would love for you to read my post called “Nostalgic Love” that I did earlier this month for Mike. Oh, and I loved when you said your mom was born from jalapeno seeds. That was so funny. She rocks. You rock. Love, Mary

    • haha – I meant that I don’t need it in the 100% pathetic, demanding, needy way. I get the whole “sharing” thing and I’m cool with that but when I hear a girl crone on and on about her requirements for her significant other on V-Day — or what he better do — I can’t take it. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of sharing love? OR when a female basis the entirity of her self worth on whether or not she recieves recognition on Valentine’s. Sad. But maybe I’m exposed to more dysfunctional individuals than most people?!? Plus, it probably helps that my hubby brings me a long stemmed red rose every Friday as a token of love, appreciation and ‘whew we made it threw another week in this craziness!’ Every Friday is my own, personal V-day! 🙂

      I was on your blog and saw the beautiful hearts and the story about the couple. Just as I began to read my youngest informed me he could “knock” on the cat….more death to deal with. I will pop back over there. I could use some good reading about now. I love your photos and your daughter’s on her blog as well!

      I appreciate you, Mary.

  4. Beth, I read this story when you first posted it, then asked Megan to read it which she did. She loved it as much as I did and said “that’s the kind of stories movies are made of. Has she ever tried to get it published?” I dunno, have you? You should. It would make a great movie for sure. Thanks for sharing it. Mary

  5. Oh, that is a beautiful story! So romantic and meant to be.

  6. Pingback: Versatile Blogger Award « Fairly Candid

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