This. is. a love. letter.
It's a love letter to us all.
Let me give a little bit of context. Opa and Grandmother are geographically separated for the summer. She is home with her family while Opa (who has no family in the US) is on campus working and taking correspondence classes to keep his goals going. His letters that we have been reading are the first letters of their relationship, letters written during the summer break after a whirlwind spring romance. At some point in the spring into summer, they got engaged.
After Grandmother met Opa, she broke off her engagement with a man named Archie. This man and his family are now writing to Grandmother in an effort to guilt/win her back. Grandmother's family has been peppering her with questions all summer long about whether or not she really should be marrying this German boy. Opa has been answering questions and trying to help her convince them that he is not the spawn of satan or at the very least a foreigner with whom she has nothing in common with. Apparently the pressure is becoming too great and Grandmother really is at a loss about what to do. I think Opa saw this coming but hoped against it. So he writes her this letter. It's a love letter, a pep talk, and a public address to all the people who live in small places.
I will show this to my children one day when they are trying to decide if they are with someone they want to marry. It is SUCH good advice. When things are good or very bad- at the end of the day when you put your feet up by the fire- who do you want close to you? I've only been married about 12 years but I can say that this is incredibly wise coming from a man who had no serious relationship under his belt, and very little by way of parental example. He had few examples of a good marriage and yet here, he captured it! When everything goes right or wrong, who do you want to talk to about it at the end of the day?! For me it is still my husband- without a doubt.
Then he tells Grandmother (likely not for the last time) to listen to her own heart, not the guilt and small-mindedness of people outside. Grandmother always had a problem with guilt. She never wanted to hurt anyone or be a burden to anyone. I can see her struggle so clearly here, and I know Opa probably understands. However, he's cheering her on to make the right choice. He has an inkling that HE is the right choice, but he wants her to be the one to choose. Not him, not Archie, not Archie's mom, and not her own parents. She must choose.
Then this paragraph, my God we need to hear it everyday don't we?
People ... who live in small places; their ideas; their conventions; their social standards have been created, developed, and are dominated by the clans, cliques for whom the World spells Mainstream; for whom the words foreigner, adventurer, and enemy are synonyms. These people are not the world; they have good intentions and think they are doing the best for you, but there are things which they cannot and will not see until the proof becomes obvious.Again and again and again I need to see that. And the proof? Opa and Grandmother (not without their own struggles) were married til death. They faced geographical separation, moves, deaths in the family, illnesses, and so much more- and they proved Mainstream dead wrong.