Since this love story involves my parents, you can assume it ends with a happy ever after, but there was a war going on, so the other assumption is that life was not that simple. This story now becomes very personal as I explore more letters from the box in the attic, the letters dad wrote mom, and mom wrote dad.
There are some missing letters, which creates gaps in the story. But this still is a glimpse into the past, which honors a time in two young peoples’ lives, transformed by loss and separation. While clinging to each other, they still had hope for a future.
After my dad re-entered my mother’s life in 1943, she said she started to believe she may have a future. But that optimism became overshadowed by sadness and grief. The letters she wrote were dark and sad. The initial exhilaration of finding a loved one from her past only revealed a reality, that she was alone in the world, without parents, without extended family. She would write that life is not the same as when they dated before the war, and how they are not the same people they were. These feelings lead to a depressive state, where she told my dad, don’t write, don’t visit.
I have to give my dad much credit for his persistence. He kept up the communication in hopes that she would come around. Mama’s state of mind improved a few months later. That day in the tent, after he had found her again, was a sign for a future. Her new reality was that they were meant to be together. In a later letter she admitted that she was a love struck, giddy school girl, waiting for letters from him. Her heart would race, her cheeks flushed, while opening a new letter from her Zdzich, her love, my dad. He was always on her mind, along with the idea of a future, which she had not thought possible.
She asked in one letter if he remembered two important dates. Whether he did or not, I don’t know, but she did. They first met in Kosow on February 9,1939 and reunited in the Iraqi desert on February 9, 1943.
The summer of 1943 was a wonderful time in their lives, even though they were separated by the war, she in Qizil-Ribat at the field hospital and he training in Kirkuk, with the 7th Light Artillery Regiment. That summer, after completing additional training, he was promoted to Second Lieutenant. They were also planning their wedding.