Fifty one years ago today I wrote a letter to my bride from my post in Ethiopia (now Eritrea). I was 22 and she was 19; we had been married for 16 months and separated for half of that time. I was in the army and very far away. There was no internet; no iPhone; no Snapchat. There were only letters and periodic tape recordings.
I was going to be in Ethiopia for 18 months and was planning to take a month’s leave in June 1965. And indeed I did. I rode a cargo plane to Europe and crossed the Atlantic on a DC-3, hitch hiking rides with the Air Force. It seemed to take forever, France to the Azores to Newfoundland to New Jersey, but I made it.
All of our letters are still in my garage.
I could not know when I wrote this letter that 39 years later, to the day, she would pass into memory. She is gone a dozen years today. Her lipstick is still on the seal of her letters to me. Sealed with a kiss.