An Average American Love Story

They were good together. That’s what everyone said about them. Their schoolmates said it. Their friends said it. Their parents even said it: “Those two are so good together.”

And they were. It was the 1940s, a different world. Girls wore ringlets. Boys pulled their slacks up to their sternums. Teenagers went to dark dancehalls, traveling in packs, necking in the backseats of Buicks, Plymouths, and Packards.

Our two lovers began as dance partners, and friends. Then Uncle Sam shipped him to France to fight a War. She wrote him every day. Sometimes three times a day. She prayed for him every night, every morning, and moments between.

Then the War was over. Young men were coming home, but everything was so bizarre. Many men seemed haunted; others had crippling shellshock.

He was one of the latter.

From the moment she greeted him at the train station he was quiet. Withdrawn. He was no longer interested in dancing. He never spoke of what happened, but it was spelled on his face. It was beneath every word he said.

Oh, but they were still good together. And more importantly, he truly needed her. She was balm to him.

Often in the mornings he would simply appear on her porch, dressed in tan pants, crisp white shirt, hands thrust in his pockets. He was a tall glass of water with a forlorn face.

Most times he wouldn’t knock on the door, but just stand in her yard for hours, his back facing her house, gazing at the street, counting cars, waiting for his gal to awake.

She’d awake, peek out her window, and find him silent on her steps. She would trot outside wearing her robe.

“What on earth are you doing here so early?” she’d say. “Are you alright?”

He’d look at her with heavy eyes. He’d simply say, “I went for a walk and ended up here.”

So her mother gave him busywork to keep him perpetually nearby. He enjoyed her happy home. The cheerful, clucking females in her house were good medicine. Her aunts and her mother were always laughing in the kitchen, lots of gleeful chattering, shiploads of gossip. So he hung around.

You would have found him peeling potatoes, shelling peas, fixing shutters, repairing roller skates, or sitting beside his best gal, knees drawn to his chest, staring at clouds.

She thought he’d never ask her to marry him. She waited, but he wouldn’t open his mouth and physically say the words. He was so tight lipped.

She never rushed him. For she did not only love this man, she was falling in love with his spirit, and the nearness of him. His haystack-yellow hair. His unique gait. She loved to sit beside him in the pink evenings, watching him peel carrots, or shucking corn beside her. She loved his profile. His strong chin.

“I always wanted to reach out and hold him,” she told me.

Well, she finally got her chance. When he asked her to marry him it was a soft, almost inaudible proposal.

He said quietly, “Do you think you’d… Do you think you could ever be happy with… With a guy like… Like me?”

It wasn’t exactly Whitman, but it would do.

Her response was to hold him. “There’s no one else for me,” she replied.

And that was how their proposal went. No kissing. No Hollywood string section. Only the sounds of a quiet residential street. A Chevy engine driving past the house. Kids shouting in the distance, “Tag! You’re it!” Cicadas howling.

It was a courthouse wedding, few attended. The following years were difficult for a lot of soldiers like him. Many sought relief in flat brown bottles. Some made messes of their lives. But he never did. Because he had her.

She gave him three kids. She gave him herself. And over the decades, they lived in a joyful home.

Then came the evening when their youngest daughter graduated from high school, something in him shifted when their last child left home. Emotions ran thickly that evening.

It was the first time he told his wife about the War. It was the first time she saw him cry. They sat at a kitchen table, slugging endless cups of joe, lighting fistfuls of cigarettes, and he told her everything. Start to finish. All the things he’d done. All things done to him.

She held his hand. She never flinched. Never winced.

After that night it was like a switch had been flipped. He was no longer a silent man. He was animated. He laughed some.

Their life became the retired-person’s dream. They bought an RV, they traveled. He even took her dancing.

They saw wonderful things. They had their pictures taken in majestic places. And all the way through his beautiful life everyone always said the same thing whenever they were in each other’s arms. Even now that he’s been gone for years, they still say it. And they will say it forever. Because it’s true.

They really were so good together.


  1. oldlibrariansshelf - March 30, 2021 6:37 am

    Bless you, Sean Dietrich. You are a blessing to ALL of us who follow you!

  2. Joe Dorough - March 30, 2021 9:48 am

    War is hell! War takes its toll on our young. The Lord blessed me to serve during a precious peace time after Korea and before Vietnam. I came home to my high school sweetheart and we’re good together sixty years this August. A real blessing from God!❤️ Your columns are really helpful in my daily life.

  3. Ann - March 30, 2021 10:02 am

    Beautiful….more couples need this devotion, for better for worse,forever❤️❤️

  4. Julie Messick - March 30, 2021 10:38 am

    That was the very best thing I could have with my coffee this morning. Thank you for a great start to my day.

  5. Al Cato - March 30, 2021 10:49 am

    Please continue to tell the stories to acknowledge the goodness and hope that resides in the human spirit. The oasis you’ve created here is where we come each day to be refreshed and reminded that there is still goodness and hope in our broken world. God Bless you Sean.

    • Debbie D., AL - March 30, 2021 12:31 pm


    • Donna Ivy - March 30, 2021 12:33 pm

      Wholeheartedly agree!

    • Paige B Hill - March 30, 2021 1:21 pm

      I couldn’t agree more! 🙂

  6. Terric - March 30, 2021 11:10 am


  7. joan moore - March 30, 2021 11:16 am

    So much truth in so few. words.

  8. Liz Watkins - March 30, 2021 11:26 am

    Early morning coffee and Sean! Life is wonderful❤️

  9. Leigh Amiot - March 30, 2021 11:42 am

    What Al Cato said!!!

  10. Donna Ivy - March 30, 2021 12:32 pm

    Hauntingly eloquent…thank you…

  11. Judy Mercer - March 30, 2021 12:41 pm

    Al Cato summed up my feelings, too…

  12. Debbie g - March 30, 2021 12:44 pm

    I also thank you mr AL. You said it perfect how we feel Bless you and Sean

  13. Carol Payne Cox - March 30, 2021 12:48 pm

    Touches the heart. ❤️

    • Christine - March 30, 2021 1:18 pm

      Beautiful love story❤❤

  14. Paige B Hill - March 30, 2021 1:20 pm

    Sean, You always paint the most beautiful pictures – only YOU can describe those pictures in the most beautiful light – ALL OF YOUR STORIES ARE LIKE THAT! You are my favorite author! Thank you for sharing the love you have for people in the most remarkable way! Thank you for bringing such sunshine every day to your readers!

  15. granny1940 - March 30, 2021 1:22 pm

    I love your way of writing Sean. I feel like I am there, living the story. Thank you.

  16. Harriet - March 30, 2021 1:37 pm

    Coffee and Sean in the morning. I agree with Al Cato. You are our oasis Sean.
    Harriet from Atlanta

  17. Vasca - March 30, 2021 1:42 pm

    Thank you so much for such beautiful stories, Sean. My husband went through two wars; he served 32 years…when we were apart we wrote each other every day so we’d each know what was going on in our lives. I so identify with this one. Thanks for your gifted talents…hugs!

  18. AlaRedClayGirl - March 30, 2021 2:45 pm

    Beautiful…the kind of love that young couples (and older, too) need to emulate.

  19. Kevin - March 30, 2021 3:20 pm

    That’s beautiful.

  20. Jan - March 30, 2021 3:47 pm

    Beautiful! I needed this today … Thank you, Sean!

  21. jjt47 - March 30, 2021 3:58 pm


  22. Tim House - March 30, 2021 4:13 pm

    Just… Beautiful.

  23. christina - March 30, 2021 4:45 pm

    I love that they get to dance and laugh again. Love heals deep wounds.

  24. Linda Moon - March 30, 2021 6:11 pm

    There was a shell-shocked loving husband in my family from a long-ago War. He didn’t talk much about it when he came home to his loving wife. The baby they made never knew her father who eventually took his life. Years later, another War entered into my world. The anxiety of a strange War in Indochina and my babies’ births before My Guy’s term would end was really hard. I hoped our children would know their daddy if or when he had to return to that godawful war. They did. Our adult children, their children, and all of us are all still good together. PEACE.

  25. Heidi - March 30, 2021 6:17 pm

    A truly beautiful love story. We need to hear that goodness, patience and love can triumph evil & hurt. Thank you.❤️

  26. Christy Davis Ritter - March 30, 2021 6:45 pm

    Life can hurt us but God is good. And we all can be good together if we know that. Beautiful story. Yes leaky eyes…

  27. Christopher Spencer - March 30, 2021 6:46 pm

    Many men who came home from WWII found the peace their memories needed in the women who loved them.

  28. Susan Sloan - March 30, 2021 7:23 pm

    One of your best, Sean. Thanks.

  29. Cindy Gingrey - March 30, 2021 7:33 pm

    You always make me cry…in the best way.

  30. MAM - March 30, 2021 7:38 pm

    Thank you, Sean! I had a quiet father, who served in WWI and WWII. He was 45 years old when I was born. He talked about the war ONLY with his brother-in-law, never with my mother or me. I will never know who he was before WWII, because he missed my early years until he came home when I was 3 years old. But he and my mom totally complemented one another and they were perfect together. And I am blessed to be their child.

  31. Jeanette C McElroy - March 30, 2021 8:26 pm

    Beautifully written Sean.


Leave a Comment