George’s 1980 anniversary letter

In my digitizing-family-history files, I have a fair number of text pieces written by or to my paternal grandparents, George and Helen Hartman. At some point, I may create another blog for that material; but for now, I’ll post one particular letter here.

This one was a handwritten two-page note from George to Helen, on the occasion of their 43rd wedding anniversary.

On the envelope is written:

To my Sweetheart on our Anniversary, Oct. 31, 1980

(Someone, probably Helen, clarified that by adding “(43rd)” underneath it.)

(I don’t have the physical envelope or letter, only photos of them. In the photo of the envelope, there’s a bit of paper attached to the envelope; it appears to be a drawing of a pillow or something, on which is stitched the slogan “Sometimes I wake up grouchy / Sometimes I let him sleep.”)

The letter itself says:

Oct 31, 1980

To my dear, dear wife:

How many more anniversaries we will have, only God knows. But on this one I want you to know that I love you far more now and I did all those years ago when we became one life. You are so amazing in your courage, resourcefulness and love for all of us “strays.”

As I look back there is so much to fondly remember—happy times (remember that we both had saved for something special, so we were able to take an overnight boat trip on the Great Lakes as we were coming back west?) And the sadnesses, which only we have shared, most of which would have been totally shattering without your steady and unwavering love and courage.

So, on this Hallowed Evening I want you to know that I love you, respect you and even (as I used to tell “my girls” at Cascadia) like you more now than I did forty-three years ago.

So much to say, and do, and so little time. It seems like last week that I stood shaking in that church (with mis-mated sox).

You have made me very happy. I love you.

Your devoted husband


“Cascadia” refers to the Cascadia Juvenile Diagnostic and Detention Center, where George taught. I don’t know the story about the mis-mated socks.

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