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One Million Kisses

Part of my problem with going through some paperwork in my office from hell is that my office has been the holding ground for boxes of pictures and papers that I acquired after my father's death. The sentimental torture is bad enough but my parents were both smokers, though my father quit in his later years. My aunt/step-mom was a bit agoraphobic and anxious. She was a heavy smoker all her life and did the majority of her smoking in a small, closed home. The boxes, photos and paperwork reek of stale cigarette smoke. It's particularly disgusting when you are a reformed smoker. The two forms of proof I have that I was once young and stupid are the years I spent smoking and the tattoos I sport. But enough about my foibles and follies, let's get to the business of this post.

I found a card that was sent to my aunt/step-mother in 1959. It was not sent to her by my father. It is a sweet Christmas card that says on the front "for you, Honey at Christmas." I opened it and inside was a check made out to my auntie for sum of One Million Kisses. The card is signed "I love you" and with the gentleman's name. I have been wondering about this man ever since. Who was he and how is it that they did not end up married and living happily ever after? Why after marrying my father did she keep the cards from this other man? Was he the love of her life? Auntie had a scrapbook full of pictures of fine young men in uniform who made declarations of love to her. Had the author of the check been one of them? Had he gone off to serve in the Korean war and not returned? Did Auntie keep these bits of paper to remind herself that she was once loved by someone who was warm and affectionate? Something my father was not?

I don't have the answers to any of the questions. I have made up several different scenarios that would work. I could probably become wealthy if I took up writing romance novels and used a couple of them as a story line. I have a relative whose name was Ransom Clark. Now if that isn't the perfect name for a man in a Harlequin Romance, I don't know what would be. I wish I could have a conversation with her. I wish we had the type of relationship in my adulthood that she felt safe to tell me stories about her life. I know about the time she and Auntie Diana wanted to play darts but the dart board wasn't mounted on a wall, so they had the brilliant idea that one of them would hold it while the other through the darts. Those are fun stories but they don't begin to show you the cracks and crags that make up a person's character. So I am left to wonder about a man who loved someone I loved, enough to call her "Mrs" on a Christmas card. Did he propose? Did she say yes? I will never know.

Meanwhile I have unceremoniously placed my old love letters and cards from past relationships in the garbage. I hope I will leave those who clean up after me wondering why I had so little left over for a life so full of adventure.


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