Love Letters and The Book

( Intermediate Level )

While Arthur was away on deployment, he made a promise to Evelyn. He would write as often as he could to her. He would gist with her saying. “I don’t want my best gal to forget who I am.”

Arthur kept to his word. The letters would come on a regular basis. This let Evelyn know her husband was still alive.

The mailman looked out for these letters, too. He knew she anxiously awaited word from him. If she wasn’t outside waiting for the mail, he would take a few extra steps to hand-deliver the letter to her. Walking to her door and knocked.

She would read each letter over and over again until the next one came. This went on for two and a half years until he returned to her arms.

He made fun of her when she showed him she had kept all his letters neatly folded in their envelopes, tied in a red ribbon. “I am home now and safe. You can get rid of those silly old letters. You have the real me.”

“I will do no such things Arthur Munsee. Those are my letters and I will keep them forever. Tucked in the last book we read together before you were deployed.”

When Arthur had passed away, Evelyn kept his love letters to her safely tucked in a book they read She remembers how each would take their turn reading a chapter or two to each other, in the evenings.

Evelyn eventually had to move into a nursing home. Her daughter Elizabeth had a family and a busy career where she didn’t have time to care for her.

Evelyn took only a few belongings with her when she went. Her daughter would close up the house and take the items her mom requested to her in the facility. It was difficult moving into such a place but she knew it was for the best.

The house was left to Elizabeth’s daughter, Emma. Evelyn knew her own daughter would not give up her home and moved back to her hometown. Maybe her granddaughter would love to start her adult life in a small town.

She will graduate from the university this year and start her new independent life. She could certainly move into what was now her home and search for employment.

As Evelyn went through the packages her daughter brought from home she was missing the most important things to her. Her love letters from Arthur and the book. This is what kept Arthur’s memories alive for her. They were nowhere to be found.

Evelyn called her daughter regarding these missing items. “Mom, I couldn’t find them. I searched. The place where you mentioned but they weren’t there. I will look one more time before I head to the airport. If I find them I will surely bring them to you.”

“Emma will be coming in spring. I can have her look also. I am sure If I cannot find it she can. I am sorry, Mom, but I have limited time .”

Much to her dismay, there was nothing Elizabeth could do about the letters or the book now. She must wait until spring when Emma visits.

The nights were chilly so she kept her mind busy playing cards or helping on a jigsaw puzzle in the common area. Every now and then, she tried to pick up a book to read but it just reminded her of the one missing.

“Elizabeth, you have a phone call. Would you like to take the call here or I can transfer it to your room. It is your granddaughter Emma,” the duty nurse asked. “In my room, Please.” Elizabeth hurried to her room so she could speak with Emma where it was much quieter.

“Hi, Grandma. I will be heading your way on Friday. I have the keys to the house so I will let myself in. I get in late so I will wait until the morning to visit you. Is there anything you want from the house?”

“I cannot wait to see you! I wish I could have traveled to your graduation. As you know, It is difficult for me to get around now.”

“And yes, please find my book. The one your grandfather and I read each night. I know it is in the house somewhere. Inside there are all his letters to me.”

“Ok, Grandma. I will look for you before I come to see you on Saturday. I love you and I will see you very soon. Hugs and kisses.”

Evelyn hung up with her granddaughter and sat there looking at the phone. Some felt her obsession with these letters and the d book were a bit too much. For her, it was much more. She couldn’t explain why to anyone other than it was a memory she wanted to hold onto.

The week moved along slowly. Evelyn spent time sitting outside during the day, soaking up the sun and enjoying nature. She watched a family of hummingbirds frequent the feeders. Each took their turn sucking up the sweet nectar it offered.

She noticed she hadn’t felt herself lately. She tired more easily and her appetite decreased. She chalked this up to the worry of finding the letters.

Emma arrived at, what is now called her home, around half past eleven in the evening. It was an exhausting day for her. She told her mom before she left she was unsure when or if she would come back.

As a newly graduated young adult, she felt it would be a great opportunity to seek work. She wouldn’t have to pay rent since her grandmother left the house for her. She wouldn’t have that worry.

Her mom had done a wonderful job at closing up the house. All the furniture was draped in sheets and all the windows were locked. She called ahead to have the electricity on when she arrived. She found the bedroom that her grandparents had once shared. She pulled off the covering and quickly fell asleep.

Evelyn, on the other hand, was still awake at one in the morning. She had a restless night so she sat at her table playing games of solitaire. She played, what seemed, hundreds of games before she felt tired enough to sleep.

Emma woke at six in the morning. She searched the kitchen for coffee which she eventually found. She never ate breakfast but today she realized she was hungry. She decided to shower and get ready to leave a little earlier to see her grandmother so she could stop to have a bite to eat at the local restaurant.

After her shower, she moseyed around the house. Looking at old pictures on the walls and uncovering the furniture. she marveled at how well kept everything was. Her grandparents had exquisite taste in everything they had.

She dressed and started looking for the book her grandmother spoke of. She knew these items were of great importance to her. She looked and looked for what seemed forever.

The very last place she looked was the bedroom closet in which she stayed the night before. Tucked on the top shelf she saw an overstuffed book with a neatly tied red ribbon around it.

As she pulled it down, she realized this was what was so precious to her grandmother. It was the book and the letters she treasured so much. Her grandmother would be happy to see them once again.

She placed the bundle on the kitchen table and finished getting ready. She couldn’t wait to share this wonderful news and see her grandmother’s face when she delivered it to her.

She was about ready to leave when she noticed she had forgotten her cell phone. She remembered she sat it on the bedside table after turning it silent. She wanted to get a good night’s sleep.

Her cell phone was just where she put it the night before. As she retrieved it she noticed she had several missed calls from her mother. She thought to herself her mother was worried and wanted to make sure she arrived safely.

She listened to the voice mails. Her mother’s last voicemail sounded urgent. “Emma, please call me immediately when you hear this. It is very important that you speak to me as soon as possible.”.

As she walked back into the kitchen, she dialed her mom, “I was so tired when I arrived last night I fell asleep before I called you. I am sorry I worried you.”

There was silence. “Mom? Are you ok? Mom?” Her mother cleared her voice. “Emma, Grandma is gone. She passed. The nurses called me just a few hours ago.”

“Apparently, she had a rough night and couldn’t sleep. When she finally laid down it was about three in the morning. The nurses didn’t see her at breakfast so they checked on her. This is when they found her.

“Oh Mom, I should have gone to see her last night. Even if it was for a brief moment or two. This morning I found her book and her letters. Now, she will never know I found them .”

” I will be catching the earliest flight I can to help make the arrangements. I am so sorry that I had to tell you over the phone. I will see you soon.”

Emma hung up the phone and sat at the table staring at the book neatly wrapped in its red ribbon. She found herself untying the ribbon to get to the letters. Why were these so important to her grandmother?

She carefully unfolded each letter, careful not to damage any in the process. The tears ran down her cheeks as she read through them, one by one.

The pure love that her grandfather had for her grandmother was read in each stroke of his pen. How lucky she was to have experienced such love like this.

Written By: Angel

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deployment – noun: movement of military troops

gist – verb: engage in chat

anxiously – adverb: eager

passed away – phrasal verb: die

close up – phrasal verb: to lock all doors and secure a building/ home

facility – noun: a place

independent – adjective: not depending on another for livelihood

employment – noun: paid work

regarding – preposition: with respect to

dismay – noun: distress

common area – noun: property available for use for all tenants

transfer – verb: an act of moving something or someone to another place

obsession – noun:  idea or thought that continually preoccupies a person’s mind

soaking up – phrasal verb: to absorb  or enjoy something that is around you

sucking – verb: the act of feeding/nursing

chalked – verb: that all hope is lost

exhausting – adjective: the feeling of being very tired

moseyed – verb: walk or move in a leisurely

exquisite – adjective: extremely beautiful

overstuffed – adjective:  stuffed or filled to excess 

precious – adjective: of great value

urgent – adjective: immediate action

arrangements – noun: plans or preparations

Question ( s ):

Do you have a possession that is precious to you that you’ve held onto?

Do you think Evelyn passed away due to grief of not having her letters?

Why not me?

( Intermediate level )

Isabella always stood at the fence and wondered, “Why not me?.” The other, much younger children, would find their forever homes, but not her. She would stand, for hours, waiting for someone to look at her and pick her.

Isabella has lived at the orphanage for close to two years now. Her mom was a single mom who, routinely, found herself in trouble with the law.

The court system, finally, had taken Isabella away from this dangerous situation, severed parental rights, and placed her in the orphanage.

Normally, the courts would place a child with a relative. In Isabella’s case, she only had her elderly grandparents. This would not be an ideal situation as growing children are so active.

Now, at six years old, Isabella had understood a lot of things. Miss Emma, the head of the orphanage, would tell her that, “Mommy had sent you to live here. She knew you would be safe and have plenty of friends.”

“One day, when you get much older, you may see your mommy again.” Miss Emma knew, in the back of her mind, there may be a chance that Isabella’s mom would try to find her, once Isabella reached adulthood. Until then, her mom was ordered by the courts not to contact Isabella.

Isabella was quite fond of Miss Emma. She would spend much of her day following her around. Emma would tell Isabella she was her little shadow.

It hadn’t been long ago that Isabella realized the orphanage belonged to Miss Emma. The Desert Rose Orphanage, was founded about eight years ago by her.

She named it after the rose – shaped crystal rocks found scattered throughout the desert. She felt the crystals were like the children, beautiful, unique, and resilient to life. Each is different from the other but still, needs a place to show their beauty and grow.

Miss Emma never married nor had children. Having the orphanage was her way of having children in her life. She mentioned to Isabella,” Every child needs to feel loved and wanted. I can provide this. They will have food, a warm bed, and plenty of love.”

Isabella asked Miss Emma, “Why do the younger kids get their forever homes and some, like me, get overlooked?” Miss Emma quickly responded, “The older children will get very special forever homes with very special mommies and daddies.

“You are not overlooked. It just takes a little longer to find that perfect match. Have patience, little one. Good things come to those who wait.” She smiled at Isabella. “Now, you run off and play. Lunch will be in an hour.”

As Isabella ran off to play, Miss Emma thought to herself, “That Isabella is such a curious one. She will make a childless couple very happy, one day.”

The school will be starting in just about a month. With twelve children at the orphanage, Miss Emma had a lot of preparation ahead. A few new children had arrived and a few were at school age, including Isabella.

She worked on a limited budget consisting of donations. Some of the community members would donate backpacks, paper, pencils, and crayons. She would need to get school clothes for a few of them, mend the ones she could and worry about shoes.

The boys seemed to grow faster than the girls and usually outgrew everything so quickly. Many of the merchants in town usually gave her a discount knowing she could afford much.

Whenever Miss Emma traveled into town one of the town’s women would come and stay at the orphanage for a few hours. This allowed her to go into town once or twice a month to buy the needed things. She had made arrangements to have someone come on Saturday. This would free her to go shopping for school items for her children.

On this particular day, Isabella wanted to tag along with her to town. Miss Emma didn’t mind and told her she could come as long as she behaved. She didn’t have to remind Isabella to be good. She was always a wonderful companion and remembered her manners.

They arrived at the discount store where you could buy anything from furniture to clothing to tools. They headed right to the clothing section.

Right away, Isabella spotted a red dress with ruffles around the waist. She saw tiny pearls sewn around the collar and a huge lace bow on the back.

Isabella brushed her hand along the ruffles and thought this was so beautiful. She looked up to see Miss Emma looking at her with a smile on her face, “This is a dress for a princess, isn’t it, Miss Emma?”

You, Isabella, are the perfect little princess for that dress but you know we are here for school clothes. We have to focus on this task.” She saw the disappointment on Isabella’s face.

Isabella, soon, became interested in talking to the shopkeeper’s daughter that she had forgotten about the princess dress. Miss Emma wished she had the extra to buy this dress for Isabella.

All the children had enough clothes to start school now. Miss Emma had enough left, after buying clothes, for one pair of shoes. Of course, she thought of Johnny. He was in dire need of new shoes. The sole of his left shoe had worn so thin that tiny rocks made their way inside the shoe.

The school year began without any issues. Isabella would come home every day telling Miss Emma what she had learned. Each of the children, also, vied for her attention. Everyone wanted to tell her what they did at school.

It usually took her thirty minutes or more to settle them down so they could eat dinner. With twelve children to feed, some needing help with homework and baths, the night had just begun for Miss Emma.

As Miss Emma brushed Isabella’s hair out after her bath she asked Isabella, ” You were quiet tonight at dinner. Is something bothering you?”

Isabella sat quietly for a moment and said, “Janie said today that she and her mom are going on a trip this weekend to see her grandma. She is always telling the class what she and her mom do

Miss Emma had stopped brushing Isabella’s hair and continued listening,” I wish I had a mommy to do special things with me too.”

Miss Emma just smiled and said, ” Remember, good things come to those who wait. One day, when you least expect it, you will have what you always dreamed of .” She tucked Isabella into bed and kissed her good night. She turned off the light and told her,” Good night my little one.

The school year continued. The children were enjoying seeing their teachers and the other children. Miss Emma kept hearing those words, “I wish I had a mommy too….”

Thanksgiving had come and gone. Many members of the community provided special holiday dishes to the orphanage. The children had eaten so much food.

Now the children were looking forward to Christmas and most of all school break. Three wonderful weeks to enjoy playing and no homework!

Emma never went overboard, on Christmas, for the children. There would be plenty of gifts from the community but she always wanted them to have something very special from just her.

Emma had picked out her Christmas presents for each of the children except for Isabella. She had a difficult time deciding what to get her. As fond as Isabella was of her, Miss Emma, too, loved this little one. She, definitely, held a special place in her heart.

A multitude of donated presents was dropped off at the orphanage and placed underneath the Christmas tree. The children checked for their names on all the boxes. Squealing each time, “This one has my name on it!”

One name was not there on any of the gifts. Isabella’s name. She had noticed this but she hadn’t said a word to anyone, not even to Miss Emma. She knew she was a good girl and Santa would surely know this. She remembered Santa only had gifts for the good little boys and girls.

Christmas morning finally came and the children were up earlier than usual. Anticipation in the air was high. Each wants to open their presents and play with the new toys.

Miss Emma woke to the children’s giggles at her bedroom door. “It is time to get up! It’s time for us to open our gifts!” Miss Emma smiled and told them,” I will be there in a moment.”

Emma got up and washed her face and brushed her hair. She tightened the belt of her robe and walked to the closet. Inside her closet was a box wrapped in bright red paper and a white bow on top. Inside was the princess dress Isabella had fallen in love with.

She placed the box on her bed and went to her dresser. She pulled out a white business envelope that had Isabella’s name on it. She placed this envelope on the gift and smiled. She turned and walked downstairs.

Miss Emma saw the children sitting around the Christmas tree. Their eyes looked at the gifts and then to her. “Go ahead, open your gifts,” she said. In an instant, the children ripped off the bows and papers. Laughter filled the room.

Isabella shared in the excitement. Watching the others open their gifts. They still had no idea there wasn’t a present for her under the tree.

After the morning’s excitement, the children headed to the kitchen where Miss Emma prepared oatmeal with blueberries and a sprinkling of brown sugar on top.

The children were eating as fast as they could. Each wants to get back to playing with their new toys. Miss Emma looked around the table. Looking at all the huge smiles of the children until she saw Isabella.

She was quietly eating. Staring into her bowl of oatmeal. She wasn’t sharing in the excitement of the others now. She was lost in her own thoughts.

Miss Emma cleared her voice, “Isabella could you do me a favor? Seems I forgot my reading glasses upstairs in the bedroom. Can you go get them for me? I have to read all these Christmas cards from our friends and neighbors,” She pointed to the pile of cards on the counter.

Isabella pushed her chair away from the table and headed to Miss Emma’s bedroom. A few moments later, Miss Emma followed. She wanted Isabella to arrive in her bedroom and discover the present and envelope on her bed.

When she arrived at her door she saw Isabella staring at the paper from the envelope. Isabella didn’t understand everything that was written on the paper but she saw the word adoption and saw Miss Emma’s name.

Miss Emma stood quietly for a moment then walked towards her. “Well my little one, would you want me to be your forever mommy and this is your forever home”?

Isabella turned and hugged Miss Emma. Tears ran down both of her cheeks. The community had helped Emma with recommendation letters, a lawyer, and money for filing fees for the adoption of Isabella.

The beautiful wrapped present with the huge white bow was left untouched. Isabella felt she had received the best gift of all. Someone to call mommy and a forever home. “Good things do come to those who wait,” as Miss Emma always told her.

Written by: Angel

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orphanage – noun: a home for orphaned children

parental rights – adjective: refers to parents’ rights and responsibilities

elderly – adjective: old or aging

in the back of her mind – idiom: part of one’s mind, thoughts and memories are kept but that are not thought about

fond – adjective: affection or liking

founded – verb: established

resilient – adjective: withstand or recover quickly 

overlooked – verb: fail to notice something or someone

childless– adjective: not having children

consisting – verb: be made up of

mend – verb: repair

tag along – phrasal verb: follow another’s lead 

discount – noun: a decrease from the usual cost 

ruffles – noun: a strip of lace gathered along one edge of a garment

dire – adjective: serious or urgent

vied – verb: compete with someone

overboard – verb: to do something excessive  

multitude – noun: large numbers 

squealing – verb: make a long, high-pitched noise

anticipation in the air – collocation: excitement about something 

giggles – verb: laugh in a silly manner

dresser – noun: chest of drawers for the bedroom

adoption – noun: the act of taking a child as your own

untouched – adjective: not used or touched


Are there any orphanages’ in your city?

Have you donated any old or unused clothing?