Lyn still remembers sledding with friends and one of their neighbors who joined them that day. Yes, Bill, the one who pulled her out of the snow bank. To this day, her dreamy eyes light up and her heart skips a beat when she tells that story. There was something about Bill that she was drawn to right away.
Some time later, Bill and Lyn were set up by mutual friends and they hit it off from the beginning. There weren’t very many dates, however, prior to his being drafted in the army and his eventual assignment in Korea. They knew little things about each other. She knew he enjoyed hunting, fishing, teasing others, and driving around in his Henry J, but that he didn’t like dancing. He knew she liked putting puzzles together, working at the candy counter, and attending church activities, but that she didn’t like chocolate covered cherries. Beyond the little things, she knew he was an honest, hard working man. He knew she was kind, patient, and as pretty as they come. Together, they knew there was an underlying something special between them.
During a furlough while still stationed in the states, Bill gave Lyn a beautifully wrapped gift. With anticipation, she unwrapped the unknown treasure only to uncover a chocolate covered cherry box. Though disappointed, she politely opened the box. With a beaming smile, a tear in her eye, and a flutter in her heart, she opened the smaller box inside – the box that held a beautiful symbol. This lovely diamond ring signified their promise of a future together.
Mixed emotions filled their hearts. He would soon leave for Korea. While they dreaded the separation, they took comfort in their love for each other. Tender moments together while he sang to her, “I’ll hold you in my heart till I can hold you in my arms…” gave them hope of marriage and family that awaited them upon his return.
He’d been away for several months when it happened. One day, unable to speak, Bill’s mother came to see Lyn and handed her a letter she’d received from the Red Cross. The words “seriously wounded” leapt off the page and punched her heart with a violent, hope-crushing blow. Lyn learned that her future with Bill was in serious jeopardy and she wondered if he would return alive.
Through countless hours of waiting, gut-wrenching sobs, and constant prayers, the unknown was nearly unbearable. Lyn held Bill’s letters, a blue silk scarf he’d sent her and the chocolate covered cherry box close to her heart. As she closed her eyes, she could hear him singing to her and still dreamed of him waiting for her down the long decorated aisle at the front of the church. The days seemed like years waiting for further word, waiting to hear if he would be okay, waiting to hear if her beloved would return.
In a Korean hospital, during moments of consciousness, Bill was coherent enough to dream of Lyn. He longed to have her by his side. As the initial hours and days passed, he was awake for longer periods of time. Still weak, he asked a nurse to write a letter for him.
Standing at the mailbox with shaking hands and a pounding heart, Lyn frantically opened a letter from Bill. Tears of relief cascaded down her cheeks as she read he would indeed be okay and would return to her.
After a year of separation, their happiest moment occurred when they set eyes on each other once again. In a long, endearing embrace, they spoke words of love and commitment to each other.
Fifty years later a captivating display brought back waves of warm and deep emotions. Photos of their growing up years, their lives together, their five children and nine grandchildren carefully placed on a photo board brought back many pleasant memories. A mannequin adorned with her white lacy wedding dress stood nearby. Their wedding and wedding card albums brought back memories of that special day when they promised to remain united until death. Also included in this heartwarming display was the chocolate covered cherry box.
“I’ll Hold You In My Heart” by Eddie Arnold (a popular song in the 1950’s)
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