Love story revisited

by Karen L. Willoughby, |
FOX CAROLINA (WHNS Greenville, SC)/screen capture

LUBBOCK, Texas (Christian Examiner) – In the fifth letter World War II-era sailor Dale Simpson wrote Virginia Sims, he told her he loved her. Twenty missives later, he asked her to be his wife.

"Marry me. I don't want to wait for the war to be over."

Not only do the letters reveal a moving love story, but they also document a time when someone could earnestly say the United States was "one nation under God."

She saved each letter, 828 in total.

"Homeward bound," he closed in his final note. "I pray for a safe journey into your arms again."

FOX CAROLINA (WHNS Greenville, SC)/screen capture

The couple, who had married in 1943, settled in time in a small brick home in Lubbock, Texas, typical of those built for returning veterans. The Simpsons lived in that home with two daughters and a son. Dale Simpson worked for 30 years as director of development for Lubbock Christian College.

It was a good life, the daughters said in a KCBD-TV report aired Jan. 25. The couple was married 52 years when Virginia Simpson died in 1995; her husband passed away in 1997. The love they shared, though, has bloomed anew through the letters he wrote, which she saved in a cardboard box that eventually was tucked under an eave in the attic.

FOX CAROLINA (WHNS Greenville, SC)/screen capture

Newlywed Andy Green found that cache of letters last December, when he climbed a ladder into the attic crawl space to unblock a dryer vent.

His wife Jessica put the letters in chronological order, and began reading them.

"They have every emotion you can think of," Jessica Green said. "A young boy going off to boot camp during World War II, being proud, and then being scared. It was just incredible."

Other snippets from the letters:

"Your likeness is the nearest thing I've seen to an angel," he wrote in one letter.

"I got your letters and pictures today, and I fell in love with you all over again," he wrote in another.

And at the end of a letter, "Put your lips right here and you'll receive a kiss from me."

One more: "Don't forget me! With love and kisses from Dale."

When the Greens were not reading the letters, they were on Google and Facebook trying to learn more about the couple, with the intent to give copies of the letters to the Simpson's remaining family members.

That happened in mid-January, with the Simpson's daughters and other family traveling from South Carolina to revisit the home they had grown up in, and to see the letters from 70 years ago they had not known existed.

But the now-grown children were not just reminded of their parents love for each other, but also about a time in the life of the country when God was an ever-present thought for many.

A notion Virginia Chisholm, the Simpson's eldest child, discovered in the very first letter her father wrote home.

"It makes me glad that I do my fighting for a country that places God above all else," Chisholm read her father's words aloud. "It makes me wonder what God has in store for us. Maybe He will try us, and I hope we won't be found wanting."