Letter From a Childhood Crush
There was a young man who worked at in a pharmacy when we lived in an apartment on 2nd street that faced the river. We moved out of that apartment and moved in to the house that we rented on 4th street. And about the same time, Robert Sell and I became friends. Because we had freedom, we could go outside and do whatever we wanted to. Nobody paid any attention to what you were doing during the day. And I would go over and hang out at the drug store and talk to Robert Sell. Well then when we moved to 4th street, he got a job with the government working in the post office. And I would go to the post office and run errands. I was only four or five, but I was allowed to do that on my own — cross the street and go to the post office. And I found out that we had the same birthday; we were both born July 29th. On my birthday, my grandmother would make my big favorite cake, coconut cake. I always cut a big wedge of it for Robert, and I would take it over to Robert to the post office. One day, I guess I told him I was going to marry him. And he sent me this wonderful letter, July 29, 1941. And I’ve saved it. Look at his handwriting.
He says, “Dear Linda,
Here’s wishing you a happy birthday. I’ve been sick in bed and I didn’t get down to the post office ’til too late to mail this. When I got there I found your two cards. That’s just like the little girl I know to remember me on my old birthday. You see I’m getting old and will be a grey-haired man by the time you grow up. I thought for a long time I’d wait for you, but you’re too young to be my wife. I am going to get one that goes barefoot and wears an apron and smokes a pipe. Wouldn’t you?
He was drafted into the army, and he was killed, in war.