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Jack Sigg, Landshut, Germany, 1964

Jack Sigg knew how to write a love note

“This morning I had a dreamlike awakening, thinking how it would be if you were here beside me. I tingled all over, shuddered in ecstasy; it wasn’t the first time, but the most vivid.”

Lt. Jack Sigg to Ann Garretson, Sting Ray Summer.

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.”

Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

Often known as the national poet of Chile, Pablo Neruda won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1971.

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“SALLYBURGER,
If you took THE NUMBER OF SUB-ATOMIC PARTICLES IN THE UNIVERSE and multiplied that number times itself THAT MANY TIMES; and then added the total number of MICRO-SECONDS since the beginning of time, times itself; and then added 803—you would STILL have only the tiniest fraction of A BILLION-BILLIONTH PER CENT of the amount of love I HAVE FOR YOU.

Love,
your candle partner,
the romantic Mr Carlin, your eternal flame.”

—George Carlin to Sally Wade,
The George Carlin Letters: The Permanent Courtship of Sally Wade

A stand-up comedian, Carlin gained fame for challenging society’s taboos, notably with his shocking recital, “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.” At age 60 he married Sally Wade, a Hollywood screen- and comedy-writer, shortly after his first wife died of cancer.

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“When I returned from Berlin, I was sure I wanted to marry you . . . and told Jack that. Then in the last days before he left, my feelings toward him did an about-face. Now my emotions are a jumble. I know I shall never love you any less, but Jack has made me reassess my feelings toward him. The decision that seemed so clear before is no longer clear-cut.”

—Ann Garretson letter to Terry Marshall, August 1964

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We’re wandering through a small museum in Puerto Madryn, Patagonia, Argentina. The docent, mid-forties, is about as fluent in English as we are in Spanish. We connect, though, and find ourselves sitting together on a bench among the exhibits. Her name is Giulia.

“I am Italian,” she says. “We moved here from Italy when I was fourteen. In high school I had a crush on a Patagonian boy, Roberto . . . a nice boy. Oh, he was handsome, and good. My mother found out, and scolded me. She said no daughter of hers would have anything to do with a ‘Patagonian boy’. She made us move away—the whole family—to Trelew.

“I never saw him again. It broke my heart.”

Giulia survived. She married an Argentinian of Italian descent. She got a job. She had children. But the marriage fell apart. She divorced him. Life went on.

“One day I was Face-booking, and I wondered about Roberto,” she says. “I looked him. And found his name. And sent him a hello with an ask to be my friend.

“Oh my, he wrote me. He said his wife had died, and he remembered me well.

“We were friends still, after all those years,” she says. She’s grinning now. “He’s now my husband. We moved back to Puerto Madryn. Life is good, yes?”

—Terry Marshall

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“It’s 3 o’clock now. I can see you snuggled up in bed, your blond curls laying on a pillow, your sweet face pale in the soft moonlight creeping in your window a faint smile on those lips. Your lovely eyes closed, dreaming of sweet dreams, the warm covers pulled down low enough to reveal a soft white throat and neck—”

–Charles Marshall to Margaret Bailey, June 1937

Charles’ letter was written one month after he graduated from high school. Margaret graduated a year later, in June 1938. Charles and Margaret were married in August 1939 in Kimberly, Idaho. They had four children: Terry, Pamela, Greg, and Randall.

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