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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)

TITLE: Like Whit and Sweet
By Mona Purvis


Another wedding. Once more we raise our glasses and offer the family toast, Like Whit and Sweet, the toast that has been included in Moss family weddings for generations. Once again I am a bridesmaid, another Moss family tradition so it seems. At least this royal blue, A-line frock is a wear-again.

“Mandy, come here darling. You simply must meet Harwin. He's a new partner in the firm. Isn't he delicious?” Aunt Julia grabbed my arm and pulled me across the room to confront the object of her latest matchmaking. Awkward .

Sara rescued me in the most timely manner. “They're waiting for us, Mandy. Hurry...gotta catch the bridal bouquet, you know.”

Like me, Sara, was nearing retirement age for bridesmaids. Cousins growing up together, we had envisioned ourselves the happy bride in these elegant ceremonies; fate was having a laugh at our expense. Neither of us reached for the bridal bouquet, we had a drawer full.

The evening lagged along with all the usual moments for happy bride and groom. The back table in the corner of the reception hall was empty except for Grandma Pearl, my octogenarian great grand whose ice-blue eyes betrayed her warm, generous nature. Wrinkles of time seamed her face. I plunked down beside her.

“You look tired, Mandy. What's wrong?”

“Gram, do you really believe that there's a soul mate for everyone? Like Whit and Sweet, I mean. Are we sure they even existed? Could be an old family tale with no truth to it!”

“Of course, child, they were real. Sweet was my grandmother's grandmother. She and Whit Moss lived to see their seventy-eighth wedding anniversary. That's a milestone to be sure. People talk to this day about their love story.”

“What's wrong with me, Gram? Mother says I'm too hard to please, but that's not it. I'm beginning to think I'll never marry, never have a love story of my own.”

“Mandy, would you take me home child? I've had enough of the festivities for now and I want to show you something.”

I've always loved Gram's home at the edge of town. Her passion for fresh paint and colorful flowers makes her small cottage look like it belongs on a magazine cover. It always smells good, too. After removing her hat, putting her cane in the closet and changing into a plush baby-blue housecoat, Gram settled down on the settee.

“Mandy, go in my bedroom and open the cedar trunk at the foot of my bed. Bring me the package that's wrapped in a baby blanket and tied with a yellow ribbon. It's at the bottom of the trunk.”

I had only been in that bedroom a time or two; Gram covets her privacy. I found the trunk, removed the quilt covering it and dug deep until I came up with the package.

Gram slowly untied the ribbon laying it aside with care.

“This ribbon belonged to Whit and Sweet's first-born daughter who drowned at age three.”

Gram gently unwrapped the once-white-now-yellowed baby blanket.

“This blanket was made by Sweet for one of their sons. He was stillborn.”

Other items were lovingly wrapped in the package. Gram explained each one until she came to the letters. She handed them to me.

“Read these.”

I glanced at Gram as I opened the fragile paper. Her eyes told me she expected this to be a life-changing moment for me.

To Caroline Potter
Charleston, South Carolina
July 20, 1872

Miss Caroline, I hope you will accept my offer of marriage and come to Missouri. I will be a God-fearing husband. I promise to treat you with the utmost respect as a lady. It matters none to me about your past. I will never address it to you. Fare is included to get you here as well as fare to cover your leaving if ever you so choose.

Whit Moss

Folded inside that letter was her reply.

Whit Moss
August 14, 1872

Mr. Moss, I accept your proposal and agree to be your mail-order bride. I have left employment at Mable's. I will never serve another drink or bed another man exceptin my husband. This letter should arrive before me. Maybe, I should change my name to somethin you choose.

Caroline Potter

“Gram, Sweet was a...”

“Yes, child. A forgiven woman. A true-life 'woman at the well'. What greater love story is there?”

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This article has been read 844 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Barbara Lynn Culler10/30/10
The ending gave me goosebumps!
Is this based on a true story?

Loved the line about a drawerful of bridal bouquets. :)
Rachel Phelps10/30/10
That is such a wonderful story. Excellent characters and atmosphere. I wish more time could have been devoted to the scene at Gram's house, but this was lovely.
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/30/10
You've presented a lovely story--made me wonder if it was real.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/30/10
I enjoyed this story so much. You surprised me with the ending but it gives hope to many who think they may never find true love. Well done!
Nancy Sullivan 10/31/10
The unexpected ending made the story very special - one that will not soon be forgotten. Great job.
Connie Dixon10/31/10
This flowed so smoothly, I really enjoyed reading it. Great message and great writing.
Lyn Churchyard10/31/10
An enjoyable story with a great ending. An wonderful example of Christ's redeeming love and grace.
Sarah Elisabeth 10/31/10
I thoroughly enjoyed this from beginning to end! A lovely read. I could enjoy a whole book with this plot and characters!
Beth LaBuff 11/01/10
I love your title, and was fascinated with your story. You made me smile with the drawer full of bridal bouquets (that tidbit spoke volumes). I'd love to read the novel-length version of this! :)
Carol Penhorwood 11/02/10
Yes, I like Beth, would love to read the novel version. This is a great start to an awesome story! (It also reminds me that Rahab was in Jesus line of ancestry.)
Catrina Bradley 11/03/10
Excellent writing - and I LOVE the twist to Whit & Sweet's love story, and the ending - Grandma's response to the unfinished question: "a forgiven woman".