In all honesty, I am a complete sucker and cornball for romantic things. Anything that connects people so strongly has a great amount of value in the world; it can be felt my many. This is one of those moments.
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It was only recently that former U.S. president Barack Obama’s love letters to his college girlfriend, Alexandra McNear, became public so us regular folk can bestow our eyes upon them. Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library released nine letters that they’ve had to keep hidden.
The words of each letter echo in time and in your head as you read them to yourself. They resonate with the voice of a young man trying to figure out his path, but, like all of us, is only human. When you’re 20 or 21 everything seems so consuming when it comes to someone you love, let alone when that someone is so far away.
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Written between 1982 and 1984, Obama describes his slow journey to a dream that was sitting directly in the Oval Office. We can sense the emotions grow from the trials of love to the responsibilities of life. In certain lines he describes his newest obligations and surroundings.
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In an early letter we can read: “I trust you know that I miss you, that my concern for you is as wide as the air, my confidence in you as deep as the sea, my love rich and plentiful.” Then, as usual, life begins to happen and we see the proof in an older letter: “A dangerous thing, this forgetting, attributable, or an extension of, my current occupation. Curiously enough, I’ve emerged as one of the ‘promising young men’ of Business International, with everyone slapping my back and praising my work.”
I was pleasantly surprised by Obama’s voice and the feelings it holds. I’m not talking politics or government or deals.
I’m talking about a writer ripping pages out of a notebook just to express himself. I’m talking about stories to read from someone else’s life. I’m talking about a young man trying to find his way in the world and trying to swim through the tides of a love not meant to last, but that’s the beauty of it right? Because we swim anyway.
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