Thursday, June 2, 2011

Love Notes

In a box, somewhere in my house, I know there are two treasures: a note and a card. Both are from my husband. The note was written to me in a college English class.  We did not go to college together, but when we were a-courting, he was taking a night class to finish up his degree and I, besotted and unreasonable, basically audited the class by sitting there mooning at him so we wouldn't have to spend one waking moment apart. I am a constant, attention-mongering pest when it comes to him; this was true from the moment I laid eyes on him, right up until I sat down to write this. For nearly 20 years, I've been poking at his neck and whining at him to talk to me, what are you doing, why won't you talk to me, and his response in 1992 was to drop everything and talk to me.  In 2011, his more measured response is a small smile, a 'what is it honey?', and usually a pat on my head to let me know he's about to move on to more pressing matters, like, I don't know, living his life. But in the early months of our love affair, he reluctantly wrote me a very silly, one page, passing-notes-in-class-kind-of-note, during an English class that he did not want (and I did not have) to take.

The card is a small field of pinkety-pink-pink flowers with no sentiment inside except the one line he wrote to me, the week before we were married in 1998.  What it says is between us, but I promise you, it is a love note.

I am a total sucker for a love note.  For reals. Erik has a set of love letters from me, written pages at a time, every day, from a one month return trip to my beloved Mexico that I took the summer after we started dating. This entire blog feels like a love letter to him and my boys, when the truth be known. He isn't moved to write me love letters (drats!) so I keep my treasures and gratefully accept the many tokens of affection that he does offer.

 I get dozens of love notes from my students every day. 

(I'm going to be totally honest, and tell you that some people ought not a be teaching; some people are damaged and unyielding and angry, and they should turn and walk away. It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life, when I walked into one such teacher's classroom, early in my own teaching career, to find a proliferation of love notes taped to her desk. Teachers are given such a precious gift ~ a child's heart, for a whole year, and maybe even for a lifetime ~ and these love notes are a touch of humility, a reminder of the great responsibility that goes with that precious gift.)

When I had to explain to the students first, that I needed to be gone for a couple of days because my grandma was very sick, and then, that I needed to be gone for a couple of days because my grandma had passed away, I began to receive such an influx in love notes and sympathy cards that I had to actually take some home.  There simply isn't any more space in my classroom to house the sentiments. They go from the profound ("Sorry about your grandma hope you get better so you will rember (sic) her in all your heart xoxoxoxoooxxooooxo") to the sublime (a grave, with "RIP grandma rest in heaven" splashed across the tombstone, with the words, "Get Better Soon" headlining the note). A common theme is a student and I, holding hands and or ambling companionably over hill and dale, or through a field of flowers, a bright yellow sun our constant friend. I get books (Super B!) and drawings and notes and missives.

They are treasures.


  1. Not so many love notes when you teach college, I'm a little jealous! Last night at graduation, however, I had my version of love notes from students--hugs and requests to have their picture taken with me. And the version I love most, introducing me to their families. I shook hands with 5 and 6 year old kids, who obviously had been schooled on how to "meet the professor" (cute!) and the parents of a young woman who is Berkeley-bound--very traditional looking Mexican parents who were extremely proud of her and seemed extremely stunned that she would be going away to the university in the city soon! Can't put that in a box to save, but I feel about it the same way you do!

  2. Those are so special! I also have a few love notes from my husband from when we were dating in college. That was nearly 12 years ago... wow.
    The sweet notes from students are such treasures. I have a file folder in my desk drawer that says "Why I keep teaching" and I stash them in there at the end of each year and I read them when I've had a really bad day. It never fails to make me smile.