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Continued: Love letters linger longer

  • Article by: KIM ODE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 10, 2014 - 9:19 AM

For centuries, war also has inspired chronicles of love.

Shannon Delliger and her wife wrote love letters while Delliger was in basic training, then while deployed in Bosnia. “Let me tell you, those letters meant more to me than ever, especially being away from home for the first time,” Delliger said. Once she even received a “letter in a bottle” — a romantic flourish that probably wouldn’t make it through security these days.

Now back under one roof in Brooklyn Park, the couple find they no longer write love letters as much. “We send quick texts saying ‘I love you’ and cute stuff to make each other’s day, though.”

Note that word: quick.

While speed is a wondrous thing, Janelle Schliep of Apple Valley said there’s nothing like the delicious agony of waiting for a sweetheart’s response to appear in the mailbox. “It’s more exciting,” she said, and far better than getting a text, if for no other reason than there’s “a way lot less LOLs.”

Keepsake? Or time bomb?

If kids wants to see a parent leap across the room in one bound, all they need to do is bring out a bundle of letters they found in the box labeled “old Beanie Babies.”

The letters may not even be all that steamy, but to the recipients, they represent moments that in some ways remain more private than any other.

(We are, of course, assuming that letters from old flames have been extinguished. Or kept in the box labeled “tax returns.”)

With technology, an easily deleted e-mail (or text, tweet, Instagram, gif, hashtag, etc.) leaves no trace, only memories. For many, that’s fine.

Yet Heather Radcliff of North St. Paul remains in love with love letters, finding them not only more personal, but also physical — sometimes in the most sentimental ways.

“There’s also the smell, whether that person is on a battleship and the letter smells of diesel fuel and close quarters, or you can tell they were at a restaurant and it smells like a burger and fries,” she said. “Quaint, perhaps, but lovely.”


Kim Ode • 612-673-7185

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  • This Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 photo shows a detail of the first love letter sent by poet Robert Browning to poet Elizabeth Barrett in January of 1845, on display at the Margaret Clapp Library on the campus of Wellesley College, in Wellesley, Mass.

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