Parting Words-May 1958

In Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, Juliet speaks the following famous words “Parting is such sweet sorrow.”  Of course, since we know the play, things do not turn out as she expected for either of them.

May was the last month of the second semester at Syracuse when Marge and I parted; going our separate ways for the summer. Early in this series of episodes, I wrote about our last time together in the park.  I am not certain of the day, but I believe probably Saturday May 17. We tried to discuss what our relationship to date meant to each other, and what the future might be.  I know that I was uncertain whether I was the right guy for her and tried to express this to her.  I liked her very much, cared for her, and enjoyed being with her very much.  But……

I think now that my unease was partially due to the different ways in which we used words.  I did not read  fiction at all unless required for a course.  By this, I mean the great literature of the ages, plays and poems.  I did enjoy non-fiction works, such as history, biography, writings on the social and hard sciences, etc.

 Marge was about a direct opposite from me in that she devoured works of fiction and very seldom read non-fiction unless it related to gaining information about a very specific situation.  She had a vast vocabulary and at times other people had difficulty comprehending what she was saying because of this.

With the benefit of hindsight, I believe that at a gut level, I thought we would have some problems relating after the bright glow of dating became very dim.

 This website is about both of us, written as honestly as I can.  Today, I am going to copy verbatim the last letter Marge wrote to me that semester.  The date of the letter is May 18, 1958, posted at noon on the 19th and I probably received it by the 21st at latest.  Final exams were the next week and I was studying for them the week of the 17th.

Marge’s letter

 This is the sort of letter that should not be sent. I wonder what I’ll do with it.

I want to say “thank you” for being strong. And I want to say “Forgive me” for making it so hard.I wanted you to stay, this evening, and last night too, but it would not have been good if you had.

Would you like to know something?I think the nicest thing you ever did was come to see me last night, when you could not stay, and should not have left your work at all. I can not explain what that meant to me, but it meant an awful lot.

I guess I’ll build some moral fibers.

Blessings be upon your dear little pin-pointed, unicornish head, and have a merry first week of final exams…….


Page 2

  • I love you,
  • Not only for what you are,
  • But for what I am with you.
  • I love you,
  • Not only for what
  • You have made of yourself,
  • But what you are making of me.
  • I love you for the part of me
  • That you bring out.
  • I love you
  • For putting your hand
  • Into my heaped up heart
  • And passing over all
  • The foolish, weak things
  • That you can’t help
  • Dimly seeing there,
  • And for drawing out
  • Into the light
  • All the beautiful belongings
  • That no one else had looked
  • Quite far enough to find.

I still cherish that letter and it means as much today as it did all those decades ago.


About R. F.

I am a retired Professional Engineer who spent my working life in the electric utility industry. I am now a volunteer instructor at the University Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).
This entry was posted in Pre Marriage life, Relationships, Syracuse, Syracuse University and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Parting Words-May 1958

  1. Kathilyn Bigler says:

    How beautiful- what a wonderful treasure that you have forever!!!! God Bless!!!!!

    • R.J.F. says:

      Thanks, Kathi, as always I appreciate your kind comments. Best of everything to you.

      • R.J.F. says:

        Thanks, I thought that since this site is about both of us, why don’t I try to get some of Marge’s actual words in it. took me a while to get it done with more than a few doubts but it looks like this was the thing to do. I will try to find other places where this might be appropriate.

  2. Allan T says:

    Wow, interesting, I “understand” your point of unease. I only say that because Janice & were in a totally different place. In many things we could have been part of the same family, a family that happened to enjoy the same things, food, “life”. Which is of course not saying we saw eye to eye on everything. Hence, a marriage. Robert, thanks for the insight, we enjoyed reading your thoughts an history.
    PS: I also understand how Margery could say something in a way that I would have summed up in a few words.

  3. Louise says:

    Very touching. It’s hard to think of your parents as ever being anything but your parents. It’s a precious glimpse into your lives pre-kids and even pre-marriage. I don’t think Mom would mind that you printed her letter. I miss her very much.

    • R.J.F. says:

      Thanks Louise, I held on to this one for some time, tweaked it a bit here and there. But, since this is about both of us over all those years, I decided to share a bit of Marge’s letter to me. Yes, hard to imagine, especially now and I am, as Wodehouse phrased it, an Aged R. But back when that was written, Marge was 18 and I was 21 and trying to make sense of what was happening. I miss her too, of course, and these posts are my way of sharing out lives for anyone who happens to find it. I usually do get 2 or 3 hits from people I know nothing about, and vice versa, so perhaps my efforts are of some value to them also.

  4. ingridmg2014 says:

    Yes, thank you for sharing such a personal memento. Thank you, in fact, for all of the posts sharing your stories about you, about Mom, and about the two of you together. As I believe I said to you once before, it is and will be a great treasure for us, your family, just as this letter of Marge’s is a treasure for you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.