By Gerald Hausman
Bokeelia, FL, USA
What a surprise when I opened my email the other day. There was a message from a woman who had found something that she thought might belong to me.
But, curiously, she'd found it more than thirty years ago when she was a young girl.
What had she found in 1977?
A packet of hand-written, calligraphic letters that had been postmarked almost 40 years earlier, in 1939.
Such are the mysteries of the world we live in now. She found me on Google, but the letters she found, or rather her father found, at the Monterey Town Dump, in Monterey, Massachusetts.
Who wrote the letters? My mother wrote them. And this part of the story veers to a foreign country, Mexico. My mother, vacationing by herself in Mexico, boarded a train to Veracruz, and there on the train she met a short, handsome, dark man with a mustache.
On sight, she fell in love with this romantic-looking gentleman in a white Havana suit.
They spent the weekend in Veracruz, and then, mysteriously, he disappeared. When he surfaced again, he was in Westminster, Maryland.
The man was my father and the letter-writer was my mother. But all this was "to be." In 1939, when she wrote these wildly passionate letters, my mother wondered about the one thing that scared her the most...why had the man she'd fallen instantly in love with disappeared?
He had, he explained later, a "sort of funny family", by which he meant, his mother and father were immigrants from Hungary. They did not speak the same English her family spoke. His brother, he said, was a little crazy. And there were other things. The handsome man was afraid of falling in love. He was afraid of his own heart.
She had no such misgivings. All she knew was that she was in love.
But to return to the letters - the finder told me on the phone a few weeks ago - that the letters themselves had informed her young life. She added that, even now, she re-read them and drew spiritual power from them. The romance, the mystery, the passion for life, the verities of truth and beauty...all the things for which we read romantic novels were in these love letters. So I was told on the phone.
My mother - Dorothy Hausman
Letter from Dorothy to Sidney ("Katzie")
My father - Sidney Hausman
I can't explain the unexplainable - how the neat bundle of ribboned letters wound up at the dump. How I had not seen them myself?
Oh, maybe I had seen a few at one time or another, but not the whole bundle, which I believe my mother carried with her in her purse along with my father's letters in reply. She also carried a locket with her hair and his, a testament to time. It was important, she told me once, that the two locks of hair should never leave the gold locket. I have it on my bureau now, and every so often I look at it.
Now I have the letters of inquiry and reply, and the finder was right - I have never read such letters, whether in novels or museums. And the calligraphy is astonishing. And I am honored and amazed that these two people were my parents long before I knew them, and they were not the people I knew. They were different. They were young. They were in love. Each differently. Each passionately. But in different ways.
Who can explain how these two very opposite people, with totally different backgrounds, fell so madly for one another? It is the stuff of novels. Yet it is explained in the letters, and one day soon, there will be a book about these two remarkable people who fell in love on a train going to a beach in Mexico where one of them wrote her first love letters in the sand and the other disappeared.