Richard Monnier
love letter Richard C. Monnier

I was 16, and a new junior at Aquinas Dominican High School when I met Richard Monnier. Richard Charles Michael Joseph Monnier. He was 19 and a first year physics major at the University of Chicago. Mother had taken me to the Adler Planetarium orientation of a telescope mirror grinding class, and Richard was the instructor. From the moment he walked into the room, I was lost. Our romance was like something out of a novel. He was brilliant, overwhelming - something completely out of the universe of a young, Catholic girl. Everything about him was larger than life, and I called him 'God.' Before I turned 17 he had asked me to marry him.

As these things will, it ended. And a few years later I heard that he had suddenly died of an unexplained illness.

But for all the pain of breaking up, who wouldn't have wanted to be swept off their feet by someone like Richard at the age of 16. Surely living so intensely was worth the pain.

These love letters, unlike the love letters my father wrote my mother, were written while Richard and I were still together.

Richard and I

Excerpts and Links
Whole letter of December 27, 1960

Get Well! etc.

Whole letter of June 7, 1961

I'm more in love with you than any thing else that exists and most of that which doesn't; and I'm more in love with you now than I ever have been before, for love, of whatever kind, is an organic thing - it grows or it does. The rates of these things may change, but the qualitative analysis is constant.

Whole letter, Undated

I only wanted to tell you how I feel and my words, the words which I praise as conveying meaning - languages, the instrument of communication - defeated my purpose.

I've slept poorly. I've lost my appetite. My hands tremble. At the moment I live only to tell you these things. I have no other desire than to tell you in a voice loud and clear - one which would shake the foundations of hell - that what you think I said was wrong. Or rather what you think I meant is wrong. You will, I fear, find it hard to believe as I now find it hard to believe that I was so blind not to see how I'd be misunderstood. But I swear to God and by my life that I didn't mean what you think.

Whole letter of August 27, 1961

A Birthday Wish for You
And let me say that nothing has ever made me as happy as that little nod and "very much so." To My Little 17 year old Wife to Be

Whole letter of August 31, 1961

I love you, you must understand that. I give you my life which is everything I have to give. My words can never hope to reproduce all that I feel nor all that I really mean. It's like the shadow of some delicately formed structure cast into a rough and hewn surface which distorts it.

Whole letter of September 2, 1961

I love you so and you seem so far away from me, but I see what you mean about writing making some one feel closer to you. I look forward to receive your letter at Leo's and again in Mississippi. These are the two main division of the trip that I look forward to. Your letters are beautiful; you write as if inspired. I'm almost ashamed to send mine; I hope you'll forgive me.

Richard and I

Whole letter of September 4, 1961 - Morning

To me you're the most beautiful and valuable thing that exists. A year ago I would have never believed that I could feel this way. I love having your picture with me, I love thinking about you, I love the way you do things, and I love you - very much so.

Whole letter of September 4, 1961 - Evening

I don't know how most boys would feel when they ask a girl to marry them, but when I said it I meant that I wanted to be with you for the rest of my life. To be able to help you when you would let me, to comfort you, to make you happy. These things and ever so much more I want to be able to do forever. There is in the world at least this one boy who wants more than anything to have you, Miss Mary Van Deusen, as a most important part of his life's dream. To have and to hold, 'til death do us part.

Whole letter of September, 1961

When I get back and we can talk your mother into it, we'll fly over to South Bend for some root beer - that's more fun than driving to get it. That together with the memories of the things we've done is the most precious thing I have.

You're beautiful and you have beautiful blue eyes and I love you so greatly. My love for you has increased exponentially, i.e. as the function ex and in this case x -> infinity. That is to say I love you more greatly than any one can imagine.

Whole letter of September 13, 1961

I can easily see why I want to spend a life time with you. Your blue eyes again. It seems like a thousand years since I saw them last, and I'll never be content until I'm seeing them again. You don't know how happy you make me and how beautiful life is with you loving me.

Whole letter of September 14, 1961

I love and miss you more than ever and to see you again will be a delight unexpressible. Everything I do and every moment that passes makes me fonder of you than I was the action and instant before. Even as I write this I feel closer to you, almost as if you were in the next room and I could walk in and be with you.

Whole letter of October 9, 1961

What ever it is that makes me love you; it has made the love grow deep into my heart like the tap root of a tree into the fruitful earth. The roots that make Rich (rich) the outer man, the essence of life, the unseen something that makes the tree, and me, flourish and thrive.

Whole letter, Undated

I tell you and swear that neither hell nor the very bonds of life should stop me [seeing you], but only your words. These alone I fear. I fear because I love you. I would lie to God and outwit the devil if I thought that in the end it would be good for you.

Richard and I

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