Inspirational Stories of Love, Faith & Family Set in 19th Century America

Category: Love & Romance

A Good Old-Fashioned Shivaree

Today I’m excited to host my friend, and fellow author, Cynthia Roemer, on Romancing History. You can learn more about Cynthia’s new release, Under Prairie Skies, below. Leave a comment below to be entered into a drawing for a FREE Kindle copy of Under Prairie Skies.


A Good Old-Fashioned Shivaree

I’m willing to bet not many of you have heard of a Shivaree. It’s an almost forgotten bit of wedding history. Nowadays, we celebrate marriages with banquets, toasts, honeymoons, and photo shoots. But there was a time, friends and neighbors gathered to give the happy couple a send-off they wouldn’t soon forget, one that included a surprise visit in the dead of night and lots of noise!

Shivarees were a rather raucous and fun-loving way of celebrating a newly married couple’s nuptials. It could take place days, weeks, or months following the actual wedding. The element of surprise was key.

Though more prevalent in the 1800’s, my parents told me stories of shivarees that took place in their growing up years extending into the mid-1900s. According to them, the Shivaree began with a late-night wake-up call of banging pans and noise-makers, include a serenade of songs such as Let Me Call You Sweetheart, and ended with the sharing of snacks and desserts, often provided by the newly married couple.

Shivarees of the nineteenth century were much bolder and at times down right ornery. I didn’t realize just how ornery until I did some research for a scene in my novel, Under Prairie Skies. Set in 1855, the scene has my main characters, Chad and Charlotte, and a host of others, traveling by the light of the moon to the unsuspecting couple’s home.

There, the bride and groom are awakened by rifle fire and banging pans. The barefoot groom is then blindfolded and spirited away in his nightshirt into the timber and left to fend for himself until daybreak. All the while, his poor, bewildered bride is wailing and calling his name. Not the best way to wish a new couple a joyous marriage! I won’t share any spoilers by telling how the scene evolves, but during it, Chad’s actions further endear him to Charlotte.

Though I’ve not participated in or even known anyone to be shivareed, my husband attended one for his cousin when he was a boy. So, when we married, my husband had me more than a little nervous we would end up with his extended family outside our bedroom window some dark night banging pans and serenading us.

My fears never came to fruition, but all that first summer, I did a lot of baking and learned to be a very light sleeper.


About the Book

~ Beyond shattered dreams lies a realm of possibilities ~

Illinois prairie ~1855

Unsettled by the news that her estranged cousin and uncle are returning home after a year away, Charlotte Stanton goes to ready their cabin and finds a handsome stranger has taken up residence. Convinced he’s a squatter, she throws him off the property before learning his full identity. Little does she know, their paths were destined to cross again.

Quiet and ruggedly handsome, Chad Avery’s uncanny ability to see through Charlotte’s feisty exterior and expose her inner weaknesses both infuriates and intrigues her. When a tragic accident incites her family to move east, Charlotte stays behind in hopes of becoming better acquainted with the elusive cattleman. Yet Chad’s unwillingness to divulge his hidden past, along with his vow not to love again, threatens to keep them apart forever.

Under Prairie Skies is available at  Amazon  Barnes & Noble and  Book Bub


Meet the Author

Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational author with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. Her Prairie Sky Series consists of Amazon Best-Seller Under This Same Sky, Under Prairie Skies, and Under Moonlit Skies, due to release September 10, 2019. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband of twenty-five years and two college-aged sons.

Visit Cynthia online on her website, or connect with her on  Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or sign up for her author newsletter.


Giveaway

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Congratulations to Paual Shreckhise the winner of the Kindle copy of Under Prairie Skies! Thanks to all who entered our giveaway!

To be entered into a drawing for a FREE Kindle copy of Under Prairie Skies, comment below and let us know if you’ve ever heard of a shivaree or some other unusual custom to celebrate a wedding or betrothal.

Ronnie and Nancy, Love Letters from History

While I love a good romantic novel or film, nothing beats real life love stories. One of the best, revolves around a former president and his lady love. Yep, you guessed it, I’m talking about President Reagan and his wife, Nancy.

Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan sharing a joyful moment. Photo courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library/Getty Images

Whether away from home or across the room, the former President was known to pen his undying love and admiration for the First Lady. “You should…be aware of how essential you are in this man’s life. By his own admission, he is completely in love with you.”

In 2000, former First Lady Nancy Reagan published the endearing and often tear-jerking memoir, I Love You, Ronnie: The Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan. Have a box of tissues handy because this beautiful collection of love letters will have you laughing and crying, often at the same time.

Note the White House stationery on this letter from the former president to the first lady.

I have a box of letters my husband and I exchanged during the year we were engaged while he was stationed at Ft. Ord, California, and I taught 10th grade in Pennsylvania. I treasure those letters as the former First Lady treasured hers. “Whenever Ronnie went away, I missed him terribly, and when his letters arrived, the whole world stopped so I could read them.” Letters that no doubt brought Mrs. Reagan great comfort as her beloved husband suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

Image: Wenn

One such letter dated December 25, 1981, the couple’s first Christmas in the White House, described the different aspects of his wife and what he loved about each one. The letter was read  by former Prime Minister and close friend of Ronald Reagan’s, Brian Mulroney, at the funeral service for Nancy Reagan in March, 2016.

“Dear Mrs. R, there are several much beloved women in my life, and on Christmas, I should be giving them gold and precious stones and perfume and furs and lace. I know that even the best of these would fall short of expressing how much these several women mean to me and how empty my life would be without them. There is the fun First Lady Nancy who brings “so much grace and charm to whatever she does,” the do-gooder Nancy who visited sick children in hospitals, the “nest-builder” Nancy, “the girl who goes to the ranch,” the “sentimental lady,” and the girl who “loves to laugh.”

“Fortunately, all these women in my life are you. Fortunately for me that is, for there could be no life for me without you. Browning asked, ‘How do I love thee, let me count the ways…’ For me there is no way to count. Merry Christmas to all the gang of you: mummy, first lady, the sentimental you, the fun you, and the pee-wee powerhouse you. Merry Christmas, you all. With all my love, lucky me.”

You can almost see the twinkle in the former President’s eyes when he wrote, “The nicest thing a girl ever did for me was when a girl named Nancy married me and brought a warmth and joy to my life that has grown with each passing year.”

President Reagan wanted Nancy and everyone else to know that the greatest treasure was not his successful career or the fortune he amassed. Rather, his greatest treasure was his marriage.

“We haven’t been careless with the treasure that is ours — namely what we are to each other.”

Although she was an accomplished actress in her own right, Nancy Reagan wrote “when I say my life began with Ronnie, well, it’s true. It did. I can’t imagine life without him.” Nancy Reagan never thought of herself as an actress or as the First Lady. In her opinion, Mrs. Reagan was the best job in the world. “My job is being Mrs. Ronald Reagan.”

If this post didn’t melt your heart, yours must be made of stone for as the former Canadian Prime Minister Mulroney said, “Theirs was a love story for the ages.”

Now that’s a sigh-worthy ending!

Which Reagan quote melts your heart the most?

 

 

 

 

Mapping Your Way to Matrimony

Have you ever wondered why relationships with the opposite sex were so difficult? Have you ever wished for an easier way to navigate the uncertain waters of romance? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a map or App to bypass disappointment and broken hearts and get right to the “happily ever after?”

Complete with land masses, oceans, islands, cities & towns, as well as a key for the lost, Matrimonial Maps were a huge fad in the nineteenth century. Once again, we can shake our heads at those spirited Victorians who managed to diagram the perilous journey from first blush to matrimony while avoiding the pitfalls that might lead to “Divorce Island” where one would be banished and isolated from all good society. Acknowledging that lovers would suffer agonies of confusion as they tried to navigate romantic relationships, these drawing room novelties represented emotional struggles like treachery, jealousy, pity and prudence as insurmountable mountains or hazardous caverns.

“Map of Matrimony” (Photo courtesy Library of Congress)

This undated “Map of Matrimony” above was probably published in the 19th century and is part of the national collection in the Library of Congress. Promoting itself as a succinct guide for “timid lovers,” promising to help them navigate the “the orbit of affection” in order to find their way to the “true haven of conjugal happiness.” This particular map offers such geographical parodies as a “Coast of Doubt”, a “Whirlpool of Reflection,”  and “Shoals of Fickleness.” Most matrimonial maps relied heavily on the imaginative mind of its creator,  this map sports a real world location in its use of the “Cape of Good Hope.” Note the reference in the bottom right, as the ship references its longitude east from “common sense.”

The State of Matrimony, GE Moray, 1909. (Photo courtesy of Barron Maps)

Matrimonial maps survived into the 20th century like the one above designed by New York restaurant owner, George Edward Moray in 1909 as an advertising card. Moray’s map instructs the reader to “enter the State of Matrimony from either the State of Innocence, the State of Single Blessedness, or the Ocean of Love.” If you desire a quick trip to your ultimate destination, he advises you to purchase transportation on one of three railroads: “The Ceremony R.R., The Elopement R.R., or the Common Law R.R.” The only way out, according to Moray’s map, was to ride the “Divorce Rapid Transit R.R. into the State of Irresponsibility.” A unique feature of this map is that the vast majority of locations are real place names.

Victorian Valentine, “Map of Matrimony” by George Skaife Beeching, c1880. (Photo: Courtesy Barron Maps)

While many maps of matrimony were intended for wall display,  others were found on Victorian valentines like the one pictured directly above. Unlike “vinegar valentines,” These humorous cards delicately satirized courtship, offering a little social commentary on the rituals of courtship. A bachelor’s perilous journey might lead him to the “Rocks of Disappointment” or require him to  traverse the “Falls of Doubt” or crossover the turbulent waters of the “Sea of Propriety” before happily arriving in the “Land of Matrimony.” Meanwhile a hopeful female will have to avoid the “Land of Spinsters” and navigate uncharted waters in the “Sea of Introduction” before finally sailing triumphantly into the “Bay of Engagement.” But her journey rarely ends there, as she will no doubt need to visit the “Provence of Jewellers & Millners” or “Wedding Cake Land” before happily entering into the “Region of Rejoicing.”

With choices like the “Lake of Content” or “Disappointment Harbor,” these entertaining parodies on love and courtship in the nineteenth century revealed the fine nuances as well as the dangerous pitfalls that lovers can still relate to today.

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you may want to consider designing a Map of Matrimony for your beloved relating the journey your relationship took to wedded bliss. My journey to the “Land of Matrimony” would begin at “Chance Encounter Cove” with a long journey through the “Gulf of Flirtation” and the “Region of Exclusive Relationship” before taking a sudden, sharp detour through the “Bay of Broken Hearts.” But not to worry, my resourceful bachelor found his way to “Restoration Island” then sailed with me to the “Land of Happily Ever After.”

What geographical feature would you put on your Map of Matrimony?

 

3 of History’s Bad Boy Breakups

Personally, I’ve never understood women who are attracted to the “bad boys.” You know the ones I’m talking about. Handsome and confident, they often come with killer charm and a smile that weakens your knees. Couple that with money or power and you are destined for a nasty breakup and a terrible broken heart.

While these notorious bad boy breakups might not rise to level of  the epic Brangelina split of 2016, they know doubt caused more than a little upheaval in their day.

The Six Wives of Henry VIII

King Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn  Ah, the classic love triangle. You know from the start this won’t end well for someone. Perhaps the poster boy for bad breakups, Henry became king of England in 1509 and shortly thereafter married Catherine of Aragon, the widow of his older brother, Arthur. Although Catherine had born him a daughter, Mary, Henry grew unhappy that Catherine hadn’t provided him with a male heir. His fancy turned toward the younger sister of one his mistresses, Anne Boleyn. Determined to marry Boleyn, Henry asked Pope Clement VII for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Despite the Pope’s refusal, Henry divorced Catherine and married Anne in 1533. Anne gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth, later that year. Eventually she, too, fell out of favor with the king as she was unable to produce a son from their union. In 1536, Anne was found guilty on fabricated charges of treason and beheaded. Henry’s quest for a son didn’t end there as he married four more times: Jane Seymour, who died shortly after giving birth to a son, Edward VI; Anne of Cleves, whose marriage to Henry was annulled so he could wed again; Catherine Howard, who was beheaded on bogus charges of treason and adultery; and Catherine Parr, who avoided the fate of her predecessors and managed to stay married to the king until his death in 1547.

Lord Bryon and Lady Caroline Lamb

Lord Byron and Lady Caroline Lamb  In 1812, famed poet Goerge Gordon Byron, skyrocketed to celebrity status among England’s aristocratic class with the success of his poem, “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.” That same year he began a tumultuous affair with Lady Caroline Lamb, the wife of Britain’s future prime minister, William Lamb. Eventually Bryon broke off the scandalous relationship with the woman he once referred to as “the cleverest, most agreeable, absurd, amiable, perplexing, dangerous, fascinating little being that lives.” However, Lady Lamb didn’t disappear quietly. Desperate for Byron’s attention, she stabbed herself  hoping to convince the poet she would rather die than live without him. Unable to convince Lord Byron to reignite their affair, she publicly burned Byron in effigy and spread vicious rumors that he was having an affair with his half-sister, Augusta. Bryon’s reputation as a love ’em and leave ’em bad boy only worsened when Augusta gave birth to a child in 1814 that all of British aristocracy believed Bryon had fathered. In order to repair his reputation and restore his failing financial accounts, he married William Lamb’s cousin, Annabella Milbanke. The marriage was brief and by all accounts disastrous as Bryon’s roving eye did not settle down following his nuptials. Bryon eventually left England permanently. As for Lady Lamb, she published a novel, Glenarvon, which was loosely based on her tempestuous, scandal-laced relationship with Byron whom she described as “mad, bad and dangerous to know.”

The Divorce of Napoleon and Josephine

Napoleon and Josephine  In 1796, a young French army officer, Napoleon Bonaparte, married Josephine de Beauharnais, a widow and mother of two who was six years his elder. At first, Bonaparte wrote impassioned love letters to Josephine while away on military campaigns but eventually the two grew distant and both had numerous affairs. They managed to put their difference aside and in 1804, Napoleon and Josephine became the original power couple when Napoleon was crowned Emperor of France. However in 1809, Napoleon informed his Empress that he was divorcing her because she had failed to produce a male heir. According to witnesses, Josephine responded with blood-curdling screams. This had no effect on Bonaparte who had the marriage annulled and later married an Austrian archduchess. Apparently his former wife was never far from his thoughts. Upon Napoleon’s death in 1821 his final word was said to be, “Josephine.”

History’s casanova’s prove to me that I made the right choice pursuing a man with an honorable heart and a steady eye. Yet many women can’t help the pull toward the untamable bad boy they hope to reform.

How about you? Have you ever been attracted to a bad boy?

 

 

 

 

And the Bride Wore…Black?

My great-grandmother, Agnes Theresa Burger on her wedding day to John Porta, October, 22, 1907.

My great-grandmother, Agnes Theresa Burger on her wedding day to John Porta, October, 22, 1907.

Since June is a popular month for brides, I got to thinking about popular bridal fashions over the years. I remember the first time I saw this picture of my great-grandmother in this lovely dark gown. I asked mom if she was in mourning. I thought it odd she would have her picture taken if she was. I was shocked when mom replied that it was her wedding photo.

Intrigued, I researched the black wedding dress (and in those days it meant a trip to a library not surfing the web, LOL!)

But it actually makes sense. Throughout history, brides have dressed in a manner befitting their social status.  Weddings were usually more about political alliances and transfers of wealth than they were about romance, and so the wedding dress was just another excuse to show the wealth of the bride’s family. Brides in some parts of Renaissance Italy wore their dowry sewn onto their dress as jewels. Fabrics were also an important means to display wealth, and the more elaborate the weave of the material and the rarer the color, the better the demonstration of wealth.  Before the invention of effective bleaching techniques, white was a valued color: it was both difficult to achieve, and hard to maintain.

Blackweddingdress2You may be surprised to learn that it was common for brides from poorer families to wear everyday colors such as blue, green, brown, burgundy and, yes, even black, rather than white and ivory. Black was especially popular among brides with Scandinavian ancestry.

Prudent brides planned ahead – a wedding gown could be worn for many occasions, not just on their “special day.” The wedding gown was a lady’s “best dress” after the ceremony and it was much more reasonable to have a darker colored dress than a white or ivory dress. Light fabrics, were not practical for women from lower class families who could not afford to purchase garments that could soil too easily. Can you imagine the time and effort involved in keeping the hemline of a white gown clean? Laundering was a big consideration, unless, of course, the lady was from a prominent family who had servants available to handle the laundry.

So when did the white wedding dress come into fashion?

Queen Victoria on her wedding day, February 10, 1840.

Queen Victoria on her wedding day, February 10, 1840.

You can credit Queen Victoria for the trend that has lasted 176 years when she decided against wearing the traditional royal silver bridal gown during her marriage ceremony to her beloved Prince Albert. Instead, Queen Victoria chose a simple dress, made of white satin, trimmed with Honiton lace and a Hontion long veil. She chose a wreath of orange blossoms to represent purity instead of the more traditional royal crown.

Just a few years after her wedding, Godey’s Lady’s Book, a popular lady’s monthly stated that white was “the most fitting hue” for a bride, “an emblem of the purity and innocence of girlhood, and the unsullied heart she now yields to the chosen one.” In the years that followed, white became the dominant, traditional choice, symbolizing purity and maidenhood.

 

 

Wedding Fashion, Did You Know…?

  • The first documented instance of a princess who wore a white wedding gown for a royal wedding ceremony is that of Philippa of England, who wore a tunic with a cloak in white silk bordered with grey squirrel and ermine in 1406.
  • White wedding garments were not originally intended to symbolize virginity. Blue was the color traditionally connected to purity. It was only at the beginning of the 1920’s, as white wedding fashions became popular among middle and lower classes, that white became equated with the purity of the bride
  • The lifting of the veil is an ancient wedding ritual symbolizing the groom taking possession of the wife or the revelation of the bride by her parents to the groom for his approval. An opulent veil was supposed to enwrap the bride like a precious present.
  • Hand made lace was extremely expensive and few brides could afford a veil. As the 19th century progressed and machine made laces became more readily available, the bridal veil became more prevalent at weddings.

Although brides today can choose from a myriad of colors and styles, the traditional white and ivory dresses are still most popular, as many today view white not so much as a symbol of wealth but rather one of purity and virtue.

Have you been to a wedding where the bride wore a color other than white or ivory?

 

 

Major Sullivan Ballou, Love Letters from History

persuasionThere are just some lines from a favorite book or movie that make you swoon.

You know what I’m talking about, right?

In Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Captain Frederick Wentworth is reunited with Anne Elliot, a woman who had refused his proposal at her family’s insistence years earlier. He bravely tries to win her hand again. Fearing she may accept her cousin, whom her family favors, he writes a letter professing what is most likely his final plea. The one no heart could resist. “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more yours than when you almost broke it, eight years and half ago…I have loved none but you.”

It doesn’t get much better than that.

Or does it?

Although that is one of my all-time favorite romantic declarations, it is fiction. Captain Wentworth, while dashing and honorable, never existed. Nor did his unfailing love for Anne.

But what about real life love stories?

Battle of first manassass

Col. Ambrose Burnside leads his bridge, including the 2nd Rhode Island, into battle on Matthews Hill Library of Congress

In the summer of 1861, the first major battle of the American Civil War raged near the tiny creek, Bull Run, not far from the town of Manassas, Virginia. In the days leading up to the confrontation, soldiers prepared mentally and physically for the battle by cleaning their weapons, sharpening their bayonets, and drilling in company and regimental formations.

And writing their loved ones.

Major Sullivan Ballou was one such soldier. An officer with the 2nd Rhode Island infantry, Ballou had been a lawyer and Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives who answered Lincoln’s call for volunteers. Knowing his regiment would see action, Ballou’s thoughts turned to his wife and sons. Like soldiers throughout history, he wanted them to know one last time how much they meant to him and he penned a letter his beloved Sarah would only receive if he fell in battle.

Major Sullivan Ballou and his wife, Sarah.

Major Sullivan Ballou and his wife, Sarah.

Words meant to remind her and his sons of his love.

Words that give me goosebumps 155 years later.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts from his passionate letter:

“If I do not [return], my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, nor that, when my last breath escapes me on the battle-field, it will whisper your name.”

“The memories of all the blissful moments I have spent with you come crowding over me, and I feel most deeply grateful to God and you, that I have enjoyed them so long. And how hard it is for me to give them up, and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our boys grow up to honorable manhood around us.”

“…if the soft breeze fans your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air cools your throbbing temples, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah, do not mourn me dear; think I am gone, and wait for me, for we shall meet again.”

Sadly, Major Sullivan Ballou fell in battle July 21, 1861.

Like Captain Wentworth, his written words were intended to be the final time he would express his devotion to the woman who had claimed his heart. Unlike Jane Austen’s characters, Major Sullivan Ballou, his wife, Sarah, and their children were real people, with shattered dreams and broken hearts.

Love so poignantly expressed by Major Ballou to his wife is far more powerful than any fiction I’ve ever read or replayed from one of my favorite movies. It drives me to create scenes and stories that make me feel what Sullivan and Sarah felt for each other and reminds me how my own heart beats for my husband of twenty-five years.

If you thought you might never see your spouse or children again, what words would  you choose to express your love for them?

Peculiar Courting Customs

Long before the automobile, telephone and the Friday night football game defined modern dating, there was courtship. A serious, exclusive commitment usually sanctioned by both sets of parents, that often implied the couple was intending to marry. But in times when the opposite sex didn’t mingle in public unless chaperoned, how did perspective beaus let a lady know she had captured his affections? Here’s some fun and quite unusual customs from the past that helped pave the wave to romance for our ancestors.

Antique Welsh Love Spoons

Antique Welsh Love Spoons

Carved from the Heart

In Wales, when a young man wanted to court, he carved his special lady a love spoon. Intricate in detail, these love offerings took hours to craft thereby demonstrating his devotion to his intended. If the young woman accepted the spoon, they were considered courting. Although this ritual has faded in modern Wales, love spoons are still given as gifts for weddings, anniversaries and Valentine’s day.

FAN-tastic Flirting

With all their rules about the opposite sex mingling, those stodgy upper-class Victorians made the art of wooing a woman tricky indeed. Since a gentleman was not allowed to speak to a woman to whom he hadn’t been properly introduced, he needed some clue a lady was open to his attention. Thus the language of the fan was born.  When a lady caught a man staring from across the room, her swift moving fan indicated she was unattached while a slow flapping one signaled she was engaged. If she laid the fan against her right cheek, she was available and open to an introduction. However, if the lady rested the fan against her left cheek, the unlucky fellow learned of her disinterest and spared himself an awkward introduction.

Speak Up, I Can’t Hear You

Couple using a courting stick

Couple using a courting stick

In 17th century America, a young man had little opportunity to woo his love in private. How was he to convince the lady he fancied of his unending devotion when in cramped quarters with her father hovering closeby? The answer, the courting trumpet (also know as a whispering stick or courting tube). By placing one end of a hollow wooden tube in her ear while her beau whispered sweet nothings from the other side, the couple ensured their privacy no matter how many listening ears were nearby.

Seal the Deal with Fruit

If you thought a carved wooden spoon was practical, how about a slice of apple? In rural Austria, available young ladies would shove an apple wedge in their armpit during dances. At the conclusion of festivities, she offered it to the lucky young man she most admired. Now if you’re like me you’re already wrinkling your nose. But wait it gets even better. If he returns her affections, he eats the fruit!

If my hubby were required to eat this putrid offering, I can nearly guarantee I’d still be single! While this old-fashioned gal loves to keep old traditions alive, eating the apple wedge is one courting ritual that should stay buried in the past!

Another old-fashioned way lovers kept the romance alive in the not-so-distant past was letter writing. While living on opposite sides of the country, in the dark ages before email and texting, my hubby wooed me the old-fashioned way– hand-written letters. We kept the post office in business, often exchanging 3-5 letters every week. I still have them in a box in my mother’s hope chest at the foot of my bed.

How did your sweetie woo you?

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