T: What do you study? Will you have a two-year degree or four? What college do you attend?
B: I’m attending Akron University in Akron, Ohio. I’m planning on becoming an English teach. My hope, is that I can teach young children, while they’re still young and teach them the basics of how to write, spell and be productive citizens when they grow-up.
T: Do you think the letters you wrote each other, have made your grow closer?
B: Yes, most definitely. I’ve always known Jay loved me, but seeing it in words, makes it even more real to me. The beautiful things he’s written to me have made me smile, cry, laugh, get butterflies in my tummy and most of all, thank God he brought Jay into my life. I keep all of his letters in a very special hat box my mom gave me, right after Jay left for basic training. I’ve been tying them up with pretty red ribbon, one of Jay’s favorite colors.
J: I agree. I think that in a lot of ways, the letters have become our lifeline to each other. All of our hopes, dreams, desires and fears, go into our letters. I think imagination is a wonderful thing, and sometimes we have to imagine what that other special person is doing, when we can’t be together. The letters keep our love growing and our hearts close together. I think we’re even more deeply in love now, then before I left for boot camp.
T: Will you show your letters to your kids and grandkids?
B: Yes. At least most of them. Some of the letters are private and meant for only us. I want our children to know the kind of man their father was. How much he loved, God, country and me. How even in such a bad situation, we never lost faith that everything would turn out ok and our love became even stronger while he was gone.
J: I agree. A few of the letters are private between us. I wonder though, after we pass, if the letters shouldn’t be part of our family history? I think while we’re alive, it would be to embarrassing, but after we are gone, if our children and grandchildren would really truly understand how much we loved each other. Of course, I’ll respect Belle’s wishes on the matter, but I think we should save them all.
T: Do you think writing to each other kept you sane, while away from one another?
B: Maybe a little saner, but always in the back of my mind, was the thought that something could happen to the love of my life. Every time I got a new letter, knowing he touched the paper and wrote all those beautiful words for me, reminded me just how real our love for each other really was.
J: That’s a great question Teresa. I love my Belle’s answer. I believe writing to each other and being able to say what we’re thinking and feeling and being so close with someone, that though they’re not in your presence, you can still see them. You can smell the faint scent of roses and see the sunlight playing in their hair. Belle, has been my refuge in so many ways, the one I share everything with. It’s almost like I’m talking to God, through Belle and the more we write and the deeper we go, the more in love with her, I grow.
T: What will you tell your children about your time away from each other?
B: I’ll tell them how much I missed him and how it seemed like forever, before he finally came home to me. And how brave I think he was, going to another country to fight for the freedoms of others. I’ll tell them what a born leader he was and how I never doubted for a moment, how much he loved me.
J: I’ll tell them the same thing. How much I loved their mother and how much I missed her. I’ll tell them how proud I am of their her and what she did for us at home, while I fought overseas. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then my time away from Belle was like a raging torrent of thought and emotion that was only be quelled by holding her in my arms again.
About the Authors:
From the time Sharon Johnson learned to write, she had one dream, to become a writer and author. Writing has always been the one constant through every moment, both good and bad, in her life. She started with basic Haiku and rhyming poems; then later, she started writing simple one to two page stories. She’s always kept journals documenting her life and those of her children. Through every poem, story and journaled event, she never stopped looking for what she calls her ‘Charmed’ book. Year after year the book never came, until the summer of 2013, when a two to three page idea max, turned into ten then twenty pages and kept growing from there. It became clear within a very short time, her characters had much more to say and their story was far from over. And that’s how ‘The Chat Room’ was born. Eighteen months and a lifetime later, her dream finally became a reality in August 2015. There’s a saying she’s created as a part of her daily mantra; “Never stop looking for your happy ending, because your story isn’t finished yet…
Elias Raven was born and raised in Los Angeles. He’s an avid reader with a lifelong passion for writing. He’s a storyteller, a poet and a talented musician with an amazing voice. Oh, and let’s not forget an amazing cook!
As a young boy he spent many summers reading classics such as “The Adventures of Sherlock Homes” and “The White Company” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. His creativity was constantly being pushed as he learned more and more about the world around him. His taste in literature spanned from classics to science fiction/fantasy. He expanded his taste devouring everything from William Blake to Milton, Dante, Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, T.S. Elliot, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Khalil Gibran, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, Paul Verlaine, Walt Whitman, Alan Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Carl Sandburg, Dylan Thomas, and Jim Morrison. These inspirations and his sheer love for reading had him take pen to paper around the age of 20.
Did I mention he’s a Musician? …You can often find him playing his guitars (both electric and acoustic) and keyboards and singing (4 octave ranges) in his home studio. He’s a classically trained music aficionado -trained early on by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Hayden, Liszt, as well as Big Band, Jazz and Rag Time. Spending time with his father at the Los Angeles Philharmonic; experiencing his first orchestra concert at the age of 9.
Elias the Gourmet Cook…Oh My!…His Japanese mother and grandmother trained him very well in fine culinary skills both in cooking and food appreciation from all over the world such as Italian, Indian, Moroccan, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Hawaiian, Pilipino, Greek, and Polish.
When Elias is not reading, writing, composing music or cooking…he can be found listening to music, playing games, hanging out with his kids. He enjoys going to concerts, going on culinary adventures, sightseeing, spending the day at the beach or in the mountains…just doing something adventurous!