Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Poem And A Question

"His Elderly Father as a Young Man."

This happened before I met your mother:
I took Jennie Johanson to a summer dance,
and she sent me a letter, a love letter,
I guess, even if the word love wasn't in it.
She wrote that she had a good time
and didn't want the night to end.
At home, she lay down on her bed
but stayed awake, listening to the songs
of morning birds outside her window.
I read that letter a hundred times
and kept it in a cigar box
with useless things I had saved:
a pocket knife with an imitation pearl handle
and a broken blade,
a harmonica I never learned to play,
one cuff link, an empty rifle shell.

When your mother and I got married,
I threw the letter away -
if I had kept it, she might wonder.
But I wanted to keep it
and even thought about hiding places,
maybe in the barn or the tool shed,
but what if it were ever found?
I knew of no way to explain why
I would keep such a letter, much less
why I would take the trouble to hide it.

Leo Dangel

One of my friends posted this poem today on FB and it stirred up a longstanding question in my mind. I am curious about your it ever okay to save anything from an ex? My own answer is more muddled than my husbands and I have often thought it was because he is Irish and I am American. Americans (apparently) are more fluid in their relationships. Ex's become friends. Not so much on Emerald Isle.

What do you think? 


  1. Im torn on this one. While I feel its perfectly normal for me to keep something of my late ex's, I'm not so sure I would be OK with my husband keeping something of his ex's....."late" or not!

  2. I guess it depends on what it is. My first boyfriend (from High School!) used to give me old Stephen King books and even when we broke up I never gave them back.
    My second boyfriends cards (and that other cheesy stuff) though landed in the trash can.
    Honestly. I wouldn't be ok with it. I don't want to find love letters of ex girlfriends in my boyfriends drawer (or whereever he would hide it)