Behind the house, a nice shed had been built to hold gardening tools and things: things that were no longer used but had some sentimental value to the person storing them. You know how that goes, "I don't need this, but someday another person might be thrilled to find the old item."
Upon opening the door, we were met with a room full of clutter: papers, books, walkers, watering cans, faded jigsaw puzzles, a big pile of quilt batting, an old wobbly dresser, twin bed frame and mattress. The mirror for the dresser was still good and surrounded by an ornate frame. The one piece of furniture that caught my eye was a pie safe, ruined with a coat of white paint; even the tin in the doors had been painted white! Why do that? And lurking in tiny, dark, secluded places were brown recluse spiders, many of them. Several old dress patterns, mostly in the shirtwaist style, were held in their fragile envelopes.
And then there was the black, fragile garbage bag which held stacks of letters. Letters written from an Army solider to his love who would become his wife. The first letters had postmarks of 1942, then early 1943 and on to 1944. I was so curious about the words inside but somehow it seemed if I read them I would be treading on the couple's private lives. But I did read enough to learn how much he loved her and missed her and that he was sick.
There was a little slip of paper, which wasn't a letter, with these dates on them: married-Nov. 20, 1943 (the next letter was postmarked Nov. 23, 1943, which meant he was only home three days before returning to duty), sick-Dec. 1943 and died-Oct. 1944. I also read letters sent from Red Cross workers telling her of his condition during this time: "Sgt.__died very suddenly, his heart suddenly failed due to venticular aneurysm". What a sad, sad story and how much comfort she must have had from those letters; she never remarried.
Now my question is, what do I do with the letters? It seems I can't stand to burn them, nor do I want to keep them. One of her nephews lives in our community and I wonder if he would take them.