Love Letters: Wherever There’s Me There’s You

  • Thursday / February 29, 2024
Love Letters: Wherever There's Me There's You 1

Love Letters: Wherever There’s Me There’s You

I haven’t been feeling that great these past few days. So rather than just sit and do nothing I started cleaning my computer area. Dusting, vacuuming, rearranging, removing and just trying to make it easier for me to start one of the HUGE scanning projects I have been putting off since my mom died two years ago & I moved to Missouri.

letters 01letters 03I’m only four letters in today. I had started almost a year ago and scanned two—of probably one-hundred or more letters. The letters I’ve scanned so far are from 1946. World War II is over. My dad is enlisted in the Army right out of high school & my mom is living with her Aunt Josie (I think) and working in Newark and commuting each day from Linden by train. When she comes home each night she’s writing letters to her “darling” Joe—she is head over heels in love!

Love Letters: Wherever There's Me There's You 2

Talk about history! I’m sure I’ll be learning a lot of what was going on in the world, if only to juxtapose world history to familial history and a better understanding of both. If only for context and my own edification.

It’s kind of strange, to read some of these very intimate letters. But it’s also such a great and deep insight to their daily lives, and especially my Mom’s state of mind, and personality coming through in her letters. It really is wild! I have to realize I’m reading letters from my mother—a young woman of nineteen, with the folkways and mores of that era. Soooo different than today. Still so young, innocent, exuberant about life, and filled with dreams, love, hope, and conviction in her own beliefs and ethics.

One thing that also made a huge connection is my mom mentioning a song, “Wherever There’s Me There’s You”. Though there are two version of the same titled song by both Peggy Lee & Betty Hutton (released in 1946). The Peggy Lee version just “rips the roof off the sucker!” That BIG BAND swing and Peggy Lees’ vocal placement just KILLS IT! Wow! It really did give me chills and continues to each time I hear it. Just another portal into understanding that nineteen year old girls life, dreams, and headspace.

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Where there’s smoke, there’s fire
Where there’s grass, there’s dew
Wherever there’s rain, there’s a guy to complain
And wherever there’s me, there’s you

Where there’s spark, there’s wire
You’ll admit , it’s true
Wherever there’s love, there’s the coo of a dove
And wherever there’s me, there’s you

You can be sure that for every cure there’s got to be a pill
And for every spring there’s a robbin to sing
And for every Jack or Jill

Where there’s cream there’s coffee
Where there’s beef, there’s stew
Wherever there’s sea there’s a ship you agree
And wherever there’s me, there’s you

I know I have a LOT of letters to go. Scanning them will make it easier to also put them in chronological order, and the “stories” more understandable. I’m hoping to find out more about my family’s history in these missives—these letters of love. I do love that my mom drops some clues to augment the written word: like that Peggy Lee song. She mentions it in passing to my dad, to underline her own feelings about him. The sons also just jettisoned me right into 1946 pop culture and ideas of romance. I wouldn’t be around for another eleven years. But mom mentioning her listening to radio while she’s writing and mentioning a song that mirrors her feelings in the moment is pure gold to me! Making the moment and writing so visceral.

letters 03I’ve started at the top of the pile, which is just a few days in July of 1946, they are all my mom writing to my dad. Some answering questions my dad asked in letters to my mom. Though I haven’t read any of my dad’s letters yet, there was this torn piece of paper in the top of the pile with a poem to my mother. I read it and was horrified. Maybe a reaction to knowing what he was like growing up. It almost read like a foreshadowing of “coming attractions.”

I know I’m over reacting—just a tad—but it just pushes a BIG button. I’m sure he thought it was funny at the time. And maybe my mom did too. Just don’t know yet. I’ll have to scan and read all those letters to figure out my mom’s reaction(s). So there is a bit of dread in reading all of my dad’s letters. Or not. I just keep telling myself : DO NOT PROJECT! Stay in the moment. And the moment is in discovering the sweetness that is/was my mom.

Keep the songs & the letters coming—Mom!

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Joe Streno

Joe Streno

artist . musician . photographer . retired apple computer consultant . residing on planet earth with his two cats rudie, & rocco & living to tell tales about it

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