The nursery that had never seen a baby in all the years they had tried for one, she dragged the old vanity bench from her room to the closet, the old doc had said after the last one lost it was too hard on her body to keep trying. Climbing up on the bench she stretched reaching to the back of the shelf she pulled out an old paper wrapped box. At one time the box had been red but now a faded pink and orange as if from faded sunlight, the doily heart stitched in the center still held. Blowing off the fine film of dust, she stepped carefully from the bench surprised it held while she was on it both being older and she heavier now. Walking over to the cot in the room she sat and gently opened the lid, pieces of the paper flaking off and falling to the thread bare carpet underneath her feet. Tears welled up in her old rheumy eyes as she gazed upon her beloved Jasper’s handwriting, every card, note, and letter he had ever written was contained in this box
She had made it when she was but a young girl of ten, Jasper gave her this card right here on Valentine’s Day when she was nine years old. This one when she was thirteen, and this one when he proposed, with all the notes through seventy-one years of marriage and this bundle here the letters when he went off to war. Oh how she missed her best friend, husband, companion and lover gone now eleven years and her going to be one hundred one next month he went peacefully in his sleep, she wished she had gone too for it was just so lonely without him.
She had not thought of these old cards for some time not until she had noticed the children walking past the house on their way home from school with their little red bags and boxes with hearts. Then she remembered it was Valentine’s Day, their anniversary of eighty –one years she believed; time had done a trick on her memory and especially with arithmetic which she never was any good at anyway, she chuckled to herself.
Ella read the majority of Jaspers cards and letters and as the sun began to set, she opened the old trunk that sat under the window in that room. Taking out a tissue wrapped dress she laid it on the cot with its floor length train and veil as if resting on the pillow. She gazed through rheumy eyes at the yellowing lace remembering and seeing it white as the pure snow and how it flared out at the bottom as they danced that day.
Slipping off her house dress she donned the faded yellow gown surprised it was a near perfect fit she was a little wider in the hip but it did fit. Placing the veil upon her white head she looked in the mirror and time washed away she was eighteen again and Jasper was reaching out his hand standing at the alter smiling.
Ella Rose Ford (nee Jackson) a homemaker of Peach Grove, Georgia found in her home
February 14th, passed peacefully in her sleep. She was preceded in death
by her husband Colonel Jasper William Ford of the area. This would have been the
Fords eighty-first wedding anniversary. No other survivors known.