Grandma and Grandpa in the 1940s

Seventy-two years ago today, during the evening of July 14, 1943, Nicholas Salvatore sat on his bunk, trying to read a book his grandmother had given him before he left Chicago. Unable to concentrate he left the army base and walked to the small town. He went to Rose’s, a bar, where he took a seat in the back and again tried to read. There was one server for the entire place and when she finally made it to his table all he ordered was coffee. That was how they met.

She reluctantly agreed to a walk with him after her shift. They spoke of many things, and nothing, under the giant Texas night sky. Eventually they circled around to her apartment. He was to ship out tomorrow, could he write her? She reluctantly gave over her address and that was how their correspondence began.

Something to Live By is their story, a story of two damaged and lonely people stumbling their way though life. These are their letters. Nicholas first writes to Elizabeth on July 20, 1943, and so starting on July 20 I will be posting one letter a day, Monday through Friday. There are, I believe, 87 letters in total and I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know them as they get to know one another.

The first letter – July 20, 1943