An Estate Find Tells the Tale of a Bittersweet Love

The colors of the WWI era postcard were the first to catch my attention.  Postmarked 1918, the picture depicts a soldier in uniform holding the hand of a girl he was leaving behind as he heads off to war.  When I flipped the postcard over to read it, their lives suddenly sprung to life.

Her name was Viola and she lived in Virginia.  The only writing on the addressee side is her first name, last name, and the city and state she lived in.  Your first thought, when looking at the simplicity of the card, was how complicated life is now in the 21st century, compared to a time when postmen knew you and where you lived.  But after reading the postcard, perhaps their lives weren’t that simple after all.  It leaves a lot to the imagination.

His name was Thomas and he was writing from Camp Meade.  Apparently, Thomas was quite taken with Viola.

Dearest Viola,  I guess you are somewhat surprised to hear from me.  And although I am taking it upon myself to drop you a card, I hope that one day very soon I can hold your beautiful face in my hands.  What a sweet and wonderful day it will be to see you again!  I thought today that I had to leave for France, But I am still here for a couple of weeks before we go so please answer me.  Yours, Thomas

What Thomas was really trying to do was get up the nerve to tell her how he really felt and that he wanted her in his life.

I wonder whatever happened to Thomas and Viola.  During this time in 1918, WWI was drawing to a close but the men were still actively fighting.  Did Thomas ever go to France, and if so, did he ever return safely to hold Viola’s face?  Did he die valiantly while fighting for his country?  It’s one of the myriad of mysteries we find in estates, and while it is hard to walk away without a firm answer, we simply fill in the blanks the way we would have wanted the story to end.

Thomas came back; Viola fell head over heels in love with him.  They had several children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren; they lived to a ripe old age, completely devoted to one another.

In my mind, that’s the ending to this affair of the heart.

© 2012 Julie Hall

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