Thursday, October 29, 2009

Norman and Merle — Happily ever after?

A long time ago in eastern Wisconsin, I purchased a ragged copy of a book called The Life of William McKinley, which was compiled not long after the 25th president of the US of A was assassinated in 1901. During my brief sabbatical the other day, I started paging through the book. What I learned about McKinley is a tale for another day. This is about a small discovery.

Between page 303 and the adjacent photo of "sailors from the battleship Illinois in the funeral procession, Washington," I found a note, written — in pencil, I think — on a piece of small notepad paper:
Sawyer, Wis.
April 9, 1926

Dear Merle:
Am writing you a few lines
to let you know, I might
come down Sunday with my
old bus. There isn't any news
around here, so I will close.
As Ever,
I presume Merle was a woman. Was she thrilled to receive these short words from Norman? Otherwise why did she keep the note? Did he and his old bus arrive with a marriage proposal? Or was the little slip of paper merely a handy bookmark, long forgotten (much as Sawyer is today — I understand it merged into Sturgeon Bay a few years later.)

What stories could be told from this little note, a bit of mysterious poetry from eight decades past: What went through Norman's mind and heart as he composed — how long did his emotions tarry after he wrote, "my old bus," and before he decided "There isn't any news around here, so I will close"? Did the postman who carried the note call out, "Hey Merle, you have a letter from Sawyer here"? What did Merle think as she saw she had a letter from Norman, and as she opened the envelope?

And how did Sunday afternoon go? If, as I suspect, preserving the note had more meaning than as a bookmark, I imagine it may have been a magical day, the lives of Merle and Norman were henceforth intertwined, and they lived ever after — happily, we would hope.

There isn't any more for me to add, so I will close.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home