Timothy “Buzz” Stockwell to his “Girlfriend”, August 1955

Remember the night we went to the beach and just stood there until the sun went down?

Dear Mary Ellen,

How do I love thee? (“Thee” means “you.” Just learned that in English class). Mostly, I love how real and totally in existence you are. I love how when I go to visit you, you are a person and not a parking lot by a movie theater that I wait in for a night. I love the cute way you laugh when we are together, at the jokes I definitely make.

I love your nose and your eyes and your mouth, which I can definitely picture in my head. Your face is prettier than Grace Kelly’s, mostly because I’ve seen your face in person and I’m not just imagining Grace Kelly’s face with someone else’s forehead. I love how you don’t take anything too seriously, like when we went to that place and that thing happened. That could have ruined everything, but your totally in-existence calmness under pressure saved the day.

And I love how supportive you are of me, and how you return all my letters, and how your handwriting is kind of like mine but actually pretty different when you look at it. I know you really want to come watch me play against Rockland High, but you can’t because your mother, who is also a wealthy heiress and who has totally made a pass at me, will not allow you to associate with riff-raff like me, which is why none of the guys have met you yet. Add it all together, and it comes to I LOVE YOU!

Yours forever in being an actual living person,

Buzz

Analysis:

Perhaps the greatest exchange of love letters ever in history was those sent between Timothy Stockwell of Pensacola, Florida, and his girlfriend Mary Ellen (whose last name is lost to history). In a series of love letters exchanged over 40 years, the couple fell in love, got engaged, planned a wedding and were married, had three children, lost a dog to dog cancer and were eventually, tragically separated when Mary Ellen fell in love with another man.

Scholars of love letter history have speculated that their relationship was so strong because it was never bogged down by seeing each other in person, which leads to 87% of the problems in most marriages (including chewing too loudly, leaving socks on the floor, and getting all wrinkly and unattractive).

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