‘Dearest Sweetheart’: The passion and poignancy of wartime love letters

“Darling, I hope you like this rather weird pose. This was the surprise I had for you and I do hope you like it. I love to keep you well supplied with pictures, so you won’t ever have a chance to forget me … so this photo is from me … Lots of love and millions of kisses, Pat.”

Those are the words Patricia Brim, 20, wrote to her husband, Raymond, on Valentine’s Day 1944, with a photo of her “rather weird pose” attached. Raymond was in the Army Air Corps, fighting the Nazis in Europe on dangerous bombing runs. A little more than a year earlier, he had gone AWOL from his air base in Wyoming for 48 hours so he could quickly marry Patricia in Utah before being sent overseas.

“My dad said a hundred times, a thousand times: ‘I swore to myself I would come home to Pat,’ ” said their daughter Celia Straus on Saturday.

He did. Now, 77 years later, Straus, who lives in Washington, D.C., is handing her mother’s love letters over to a longtime acquaintance, historian Andrew Carroll.