Mixsonian Larry


Love Letters
Barbara Junior <–> Morris Mixson
1948 - 1950

By Larry Mixson


  My parents loved each other from the beginning until death did they part.  This love was imparted to them from their parents and then upon their children.  I was blessed.  As a child, a teen, a young adult I heard stories about how my parents met, how they loved each other, it gave me a warm feeling, imparting a longing, a desire and hope that I would find the same.  My mother died in 2013 after a number of years dealing with Parkinson’s, my father was there beside her until her passing after 63 years of marriage but even with her death, his love for her did not part.   

 Dad always thought he would be the one to go first.  In 1983 dad had a heart attack.  My mother called and told me he was in the hospital having bypass surgery and I rushed to see him.  In the hospital he took my hand, pulled me closer and whispered in my ear “take care of your mother.” He was thinking of her as he thought he might not make it.  I said, “I will” as I tried to be strong fighting back my tears.  Years later, after mom had passed, it was he I took care of as he passed.  

When does love start?  How does love grow?  Why does love last?  I do not know the answer to these questions I ponder it and I saw it with and within my parents.  In the years following mom’s passing, dad loved her always.  On occasion when the family gathered or when I was with him alone, he would say something about her with a mist in his eye as he remembered, his love had not lessened, it had not wained.  

Over the weeks after his passing, my brother, sister and I gathered at his house at what seem like days that would not end, to sort through his belongings, deciding what was to be kept, what was to be discarded.   What does one keep after 93 years, what does one save?   We all know the saying “you can’t take it with you” but what happens to it after your gone?  Brother, sisters, nieces, nephews found special items, things that connected them to dad or mom.  A piece of furniture, a framed picture, a pot that mom got when her and dad first got married, we all found something, something to remember, to connect to their love.   

Layers of treasures were found, discovered, or rediscovered, each having a special meaning for each of us.  In garage I found old tools and toolbox I remember my dad using,  I kept them.  In the kitchen was the large turkey platter we used at every Thanksgiving since I could remember, this I brought home on condition from my siblings that any of them could use it at Thanksgiving.   There were similar items for my brother, my sisters, my nieces, my nephew. Something connecting to mom, dad and their love.  We dug deeper into the house, study, guest bedroom, closet then their bedroom, their nightstand, their dresser holding their most special, treasured items we saved till last, not wanting to intrude upon their personal space, their personal belongings, for doing so admitted they were gone, letting go. 

I entered the final inner most sanctum, their closet, dad’s clothes hanging there, ten pair of jeans in hanging from their cuffs in pant hangers, two dozen button-down casual shirts with more than a few being Florida gator shirts, his dress coats, suits he wore to church, weddings and more recently funerals, ties in the tie rack from sixty years of style, fat, thin, paisley, clothes of a person, clothes of a man, cloths of my father.   A mist formed in my eyes as I saw a particular shirt, coat, tie that I remember him in.   

Then there were the boxes.  These were mostly my mother’s doing for she was an organizer, putting her treasures in boxes and stashing the away remaining there years after she had passed.  Larger boxes sat on the floor containing special blankets, a box of dolls, a bit higher up a box containing forty years of Christmas, birthday and anniversary cards.  Box after box were there, none of which I think dad ever opened or even looked at perhaps fearing pain from the memories they would bring.  Then, there, on the topmost shelf I took down a box and opened it.   

When does love start? How does love grow?  Why does love last?  The first question I found that day as I opened the box and found papers, upon a closer look, found they were letters, each in their original envelope.  I reach in and pull out one....


I couldn’t read it though my tears. I put the letter back into the envelope, the envelope back into the box closing the lid and turned to my sister who was there with me and said, “they’re old love letters from mom”.  She yes, she knew they were there somewhere, mom had shown them to her many years ago.    

My sister agreeing, I took the box with me but unable open and read them for many months.  That was OK for there were months of sorting through Dad’s estate, time to spend reflecting upon his life, our relationship, a time of sorrow, a time for grief, but in the end, the joy of knowing his love.  

I final got around to opening the box, and found eight or ten inches of letters, all old.  I reached in and pulled out one near the front of the stack, it was from mom. Opening it, I briefly read it, noticing the date June 1949.  I open another, it was from dad, several weeks later in August.   Thumbing through the postmarks I see them going from June 1949 to 1950 but not in order.  Being an organizer myself, I arranged the letters in order by their postmarks and proceeded to read them.    T

he letters told a story, a story of love, a love starting that would last and last.

This their story.