Aunt Effie met the love of her life when she was 13.
Herman, 15, came to the front door with two bags of groceries, delivered by bicycle as was done in those days.
He didn’t even see her, but she saw him while peeping around a sheet that served as the door between the house’s front room and its kitchen.
She saw him again two years later, when he returned to the front porch, this time delivering a telegram by motorbike, as Western Union did in those days.
Effie answered the door, and Herman was struck by the same Cupid’s arrow that had hit her earlier.
The long and short of it is that from that second delivery on they were an item.
Movies, high school activities and dancing - especially dancing.
Nieces and nephews who knew her much later had difficulty imagining prim and proper Effie sneaking to the Pine Club outside Little Rock, Ark. for a Saturday night of jitterbugging.
Anyhow, she and Herman had grand plans, but World War II changed them, as it did those of hundreds of thousands of others in this country and around the world.
He joined the Army, she took a Civil Service test, passed and went off to Washington, working in several federal agencies for the war’s duration.
Effie and Herman kept the flame burning with an occasional phone call but mostly letters, and exclusively letters after he headed for North Africa.
Sometimes the letters would arrive two or three weeks apart, sometimes several would come in one day.
The last that anyone could find years later was dated June 4, 1944. Herman and the Allied legions were massed in England, ready for an invasion that would happen on June 6. 
No one’s quite sure when Effie got that letter, but everyone who knew her knows when the next one came. 
It was a telegram in late July, stating Herman was missing in action in Northern France and presumed dead.
“Presumed” wasn’t good enough for Effie. Until his death was proven, she would wait for Herman.
She waited through a career as a teacher, a career marked by significant recognition for her work in the classroom.
And she waited through a number of years of retirement. 
In June 1994 she attended ceremonies in Normandy noting the 50th anniversary of D-Day. 
She told people later that she knew in her heart that Herman’s grave was not among those marked “Unknown” in a cemetery holding thousands.
Effie died still waiting for Herman to come home.
Eventually, he did. Less than a year after she passed, a farmer working a field not far removed from the primary battle zone came across remains, a dog tag still with them.
And Herman was home at last several months later, buried on the shared plot Effie had arranged for them.
As it says in THE book ... Love endures.

May peace be with you and yours this Christmas and always.