Not too noteworthy--until you imagine yourself in her place. You're there to see a display commemorating a young Marine who had been your high-school sweetheart. You know the display is there, you donated photographs and the class ring that Corporal Thomas Jones had given you before he left for the service and was subsequently killed in the South Pacific, in 1944. What you don't know is that you're going to see your first love's diary on display, opened to a page with your name on it.
As Laura Mae said (see full article, High School Sweetheart Finds Diary of WWII Marine in Museum 70 Years Later, here), "I figured I'd see pictures of him and the fellows he'd served with and articles about where he served...I didn't have any idea there was a diary in there."
The article carries an AP photograph of a two-page spread of the diary:
Sat. night and I'm staying in...
Wish Laura Mae was out here so I could see her. Darn I miss her...Tommy
Am I happy. I got a letter from Laura Mae and she said she loves me. Yippee... Tommy.
Can you imagine? How would you react? How would you feel?
For Laura Mae, the words brought tears to her eyes.
The article made me think about the words that we write, words we speak, the importance of today's words that might possibly touch someone tomorrow--even seventy years down the road. I know I have poems my grandmother wrote, speaking of her love for my grandfather, that are special to me. I have books on my shelf that are over seventy years old that still inspire and are worth re-reading.
I don't pretend that my words will endure so far down the road, but the whole idea about the power of words is reinforced by stories such as these.
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) expressed it this way: "Words--so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them."
What do you think? Do words take on a life of their own? Have you ever chanced on an unexpected word from the past that had special meaning to you? How has someone's words from several generations ago touched or surprised you?