I was in Hawaii visiting my grandmother for the summer. The year is 1981 and I just finished eleventh grade and am looking forward to my final year. My name is Lily Martin and I am 17 years old. I come from a family of three kids, and it was my turn to visit my grandmother. My Grandma Allie McKinter has just turned sixty years old and she is probably the sweetest person you will ever meet. I started spending my vacation by going to the beach, there I met a girl named Candy and we instantly became friends. Candy and I went surfing together, went to the mall together, basically spent all free time together. One night we were invited to a bonfire and I asked my grandmother if I could go she agreed but she told me not to be out until late hours. The bonfire started of amazing, me hanging out with my friends dancing, singing, and going crazy but my world changed when I saw Jason come to the beach. Jason was six feet tall muscular, brown hair, and blue eyes Jason asked me if I wanted to take a walk with him on the beach, I agreed instantly. While walking through the beach the night sky was black with a million different stars gazing down at me, the sound of the ocean soothing all my nerves. Jason was telling me about the island and I forgot about the time; I told him to come back tomorrow because I knew I didn’t want him to disappear on me. By the time I came home, my grandmother was already asleep. I was in no mood of going to sleep yet, so I decided to go and explore the attic. I was going through old albums and by accident I hit a ladder and a box came falling on my head and when I opened it there were a bunch of letters. These were letters written to my grandmother in the summer and fall of 1941 by a man named Nathaniel. Through my head I had multiple thoughts rushing. I was wondering who he is? I decided to sleep on it. All night long, I had thoughts about Jason. The next morning I woke up and found my grandmother working in the garden. I decided to ask her about the box of letters I found last night.
“Grams” I said “Can I ask you something?”
“Anything, my love”
I went over to her and took out the box of letters. I asked her “What are all these letters.”
My grandma looked at them and told me “sit down my love; I want to tell you my story.” I was extremely curious and went to sit down on the garden bench next to my grandmother.
My grandmother said to me “Lily, my darling you are old enough to hear my life secret. I have never spoke of it until now; not even your grandfather or mother know of it. A man named Nathaniel McKinley wrote these letters to me here in Hawaii. Nathaniel McKinley was a navy officer for the U.S.S. Maryland; he was probably the most handsome man anyone has ever seen. Every girl who saw him instantly fell in love with him. He was around six feet tall, brown hair, eyes that captivated you for eternity and his smile was to die for. Nathaniel was your picture perfect boy. His eyes held a lifetime of dreams and secrets and they were deep, as an ocean. Being a navy officer was his passion ever since he was little; he tried to be the best he could. He was one of the navy’s most proud recruits. Usually when the officers had a day of they would take us girls dancing, and I unlike my friends was rather shy around men. Many young gentle men have asked me that night to dance with them, but I constantly refused. Nathaniel walked in when a young suitor was asking me for a dance and I was just about to reject him, when Nathaniel walked up to me and said, “I think that this dance was meant for me.” When he said that I thought that my heart would brake and I graciously put my arm in his and we walked of. That night I danced as I have never danced before. We waltzed and jazzed to the beats, and I couldn’t help but marvel at myself. Nathaniel was exceptional! When the band started breaking up, he asked if he could walk me to the door. I accepted without even thinking about what the consequences might be. We walked out the door and took a stroll down the beach. The moon that night was magnificent, it shown like a rare diamond, over looking the world. I asked him to tell me a little about himself; he began by telling me that he was from Kentucky. His dad died in World War One and his mom died in labor, he grew up in an orphanage. He described to me the horrors of the orphanage. How they abused him there, and how he starved, and how terrible the living conditions were. I was in complete awe of this young man. When he was sixteen years old, he decided to run away with his friend Bob and join the Navy. I asked him if he had any relatives but he decided to ignore that topic and ask me about my family. I told him that I grew up in New York City, and went to a rather fine high school there. My parents wanted me to go to college, but instead I went and became a nurse. I left my home and decided to come here to Hawaii. Nathaniel caught my arm in surprise and moved me around so I could see him. He spoke to me ever so softly when saying, “There’s something different about you Allie.” I had a sudden urge to ask what, but he was leaning in to me. As his face began approaching, mine my heart started to beat faster and faster. He tilted up my head and I answered him. At first he kissed me gently then when I wrapped my arms around him it started getting harder; he was pushing his tongue into mine. I opened my tongue and our tongue’s touched at that moment he moaned and abruptly let go. I asked “Did I do something wrong.” Nathaniel said, “No sweets, I just don’t want to hurt you.” I finally got the courage and said, “If you won’t love me then you’re hurting me.” He smiled, and when we came to my house, he kissed me again not as passionately as the first kiss, but still lovingly. I went to sleep that night thinking of the beautiful time that we spent with each other. I dreamed about him, us, the past, present, and hopefully the amazing future we will have with each other. I was slowly and blindly falling in love with Nathaniel. The next morning I awoke with a big smile on my face. All of a sudden, I heard a knock and a bunch of girls ran into my room, with a rose and a letter for me. I knew that it had to be from Nathaniel. I put on my robe, and went to the beach . The beaches in Hawaii are beautiful in the morning. I sat on a rock and looked at the marines. I reached for the letter and opened it up:
August 30, 1941
My Dearest Allie:
The entire night I lay in bed and was dreaming of you. I was thinking of how lovely your blue eyes are, how cute you look when you smile, I love the way you bite your lip when your nervous, the way your body feels on mine when we kiss. Allie when you touch me I am so scared that love such as ours can exist in this evil world. I couldn’t believe the fact that you’re real. You just walked out of my dreams Allie. Allie my darling can I please see you tonight. Go up to the docks by sunset I have a surprise waiting for you.
Your One True Love,
I took that letter and held it so close to my heart that I didn’t want time to move. I read his letter again, and as the first time reading it, brought tears to my eyes. Just two days ago, I didn’t know what love is, but now I know and I never want to loose it; every part of my body and soul only thought, dreamed, and wished to be his. I thought about how much God loves me and how lucky I am to be in Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii, and in love; while there is a terrible war back in Europe
That entire day past, so slowly I couldn’t wait for it to be four clock. I hated every minute that we spent apart. Finally, by six clock, I ran to the beach and I saw him there looking like an angel. I ran into his arms as if that was the only place in the world that mattered. He pulled me into an embrace, and helped me climb into the motor boat. He asked of me “Do you want to see Pearl Harbor at sunset.” I nodded my head and we drove of and he was taking me all around the pacific and showing me how beautiful the sunset reflection on the water was. He asked me “Did you get my letter, love.” I said “Yes, and it was beautiful and I will always treasure it. Our children will look at it and be proud of us.” He laughed when I said that “Isn’t it a little early to think about children.” I laughed at him and said, “It’s never too early.” He looked into my eyes and said, “Your eyes are beautiful. They’re as blue as the ocean and as tender as a river.” I hugged him then and never wanted to let him go. I closed my eyes and he asked me with such intensity “Are you feeling well, my love.” I looked up at him searching for his mouth, and he noticed what I was doing and answered back. I fell asleep in his arms that night; but instead of waking me up to go home, he carried me all the way to my bed.
The next morning when I awoke I saw another rose and attached to it was a letter. I tore it open and read:
August 31, 1941
To my only love, Allie:
“Good Morning darling, I was playing over our date last night. The way you laughed when you spoke about our kids. I only see you being the mother of my children and grandchildren. If we had children, they would look like you, Allie, and have your beautiful blue eyes. Allie you don’t know how special you are. However, I do, trust me you are an angel sent from heaven to me.
So my darling Lily that’s how the summer and fall of 1941 passed for me. Every morning I got different letters from him and every night we spent together. One evening, I believe it was November 30, 1941, I asked him “If the war would start, what would happen to us.” Nathaniel said to me “Darling, you’ve been given to me by God as the only girl that I could love. God has also made this terrible war. I always think how good God is; even though there is a war back in Europe we are here together, and if anything happens to one of us, the other has to move on. The other one has to move on knowing that the other is in our hearts and that if we will not be together in this world then we will be together in the next.
With this in my mind, I left the subject, because thinking of war was awful. I spent the next few days with him; I slept over his house every night . We never ended up doing anything, because he wanted to wait until we marry. December 6th, 1941 was our last day together, it was a Saturday and we were both of from work. We spent the entire day swimming, eating, but mostly just being with each other. That night I didn’t want him to leave me. Therefore, he took me in his arms and we made love. We awoke the next morning to the sound of soaring Japanese airplanes. It was the day that President Roosevelt said, “will live in infamy.” That day we rushed out of bed, I kissed him for the last time and told him “I love you no matter what happens.” I ran to the hospital and there over 1000 men, wounded from the attack. I was taking care of these men but in my heart, I was worried about where Nathaniel was . I was wondering if he was ok, I was so nervous about him. I was extremely scared because I heard that there were many men stuck in the U.S.S Arizona, and U.S.S Utah. When he was brought in my friend Mollie ran to tell me that he was here but in critical condition. I asked Mollie if she could cover for me while I go to Nathaniel. “Sure I know what he means to you,” she said. I ran to where they brought him in and I couldn’t stop myself from crying. He opened his eyes for the last time, gave me a letter, and said three words. I treasured these three words throughout all my life. He told me “I love you.” We buried him in Hawaii with all the other men from the attack. I enlisted as a nurse and helped in the war in the Pacific. I met your grandfather there. I loved him Lily. Grandma I asked, “What happened to the last letter that he gave you.” She reached into her pocket, took it out, and gave it to me.
December 6, 1941
To My One True Love Allie”
Darling, I am writing this letter just in case something happens to me. Allie, I love you more then anything in this whole world. When I first saw you, I was afraid to love. Now that I love you, I am scared that I would loose you. Allie you’re my angel; your everything good in my life. What I feel for you is stronger than love, believe me. You’re something special. You should know nothing could separate us. We will always be together. Allie death cannot separate out love. Allie if I die in war, that will not be the place, I would choose. If I could choose a place to die, it would be in your arms. Allie if I die move on but don’t ever leave Hawaii. Think of me every day at sunset. Our love will over come everything, Allie. I love my country for giving me you, and for your safety, I will fight. I love you and only you now and forever.
Your One True Love,
Lily looked up at the sky and saw that the sun was setting that day on Hawaii. She looked for her grandmother, but couldn’t find her. Lily walked up to the beach and saw her grandmother sitting by the rocks and looking up at the sky. Lily felt the love that was between her grandmother and the navy officer Nathaniel McKinley. Lily knew that one day she would want that kind of love.