The Greatest Generation had patient love. They had to!
To let a loved one know how you feel on Valentine’s Day, you could pick up your cell phone with its unlimited minutes and call him or her. At the same time you could send a text message with a picture of yourself blowing a kiss, or even Facetime that kiss in real time. Flowers can be ordered online and show up on her doorstep hundreds of miles away the next day. Or send a virtual Valentine card that arrives seconds later in his e-mail, or shows up on one of his social media sites.
Love is validated in mere seconds now.
Conversely, it can also be made weak by not receiving a response by text or tweet. If that Loved One does not respond to a text in the next minute or two, doubt and worry begins to fill the Sender: Did I say something wrong? Do they not love me?? Suddenly everything comes to a stand still while waiting for that delayed (by moments) expected reply!! WHAT IS TAKING SO LONG FOR THEM TO ANSWER BACK!!!!
Now lets turn back the clock to the generation of our parents or grandparents, known as the “Greatest Generation”, those who came into adulthood during the 1930s and 1940s. Their love had to be a patient love.
There were no twenty-four hour convenience stores to go pick up a heart shaped candy box and a rose at the last minute. Those gifts had to be bought well in advance, and during normal business hours that were usually 9AM to 6PM Monday through Friday, sometimes half a day on Saturday. Then you had to mail that love letter early enough to allow time for it to get to its destination. That could mean up to a week or month depending how far it had to go. Yes, a week, compared to now sometimes overnight or the next day. No text messages or instant messaging. Instant and quick were not part of the “sending” vocabulary back then.
Yes, the sending would take a lot of planning. You are excited and thrilled to mail off that message of love. Now you have to wait for a response!
Take into account reading time, leading to writing time (that is if he/she had time to respond right away), and finding the paper and envelop, buying postage, time to get to the mailbox or post office..more time goes by. Letter sent, we are back to that week or month to get back to you. Or in the case of wartime, no word could come for a month or more.
Here are two examples of wartime Valentine cards from my family collection. Very creative the way they worked in the experiences of the time.
Relationships during that time period had to be full of trust and faith. It was wasted energy to worry about when a response letter or Valentine would come. Work had to be done. But, when those letters did arrive, be it state side or overseas, they were celebrated and cherished. It was a big deal. As evidenced by these saved letters and Valentines above. Compare that to the hundreds of text messages that arrive and quickly fade away. Those of the Greatest Generation had love that lasted the “the test of time.”
Wishing all of you happiness and love.