Dedeth, I reach across the many miles and gently touch your cheek and ask the wind to kiss you softly for me until we can be together.-- Patrick
During the year of 1987, computers were not household commodities and communication was primarily done through letters. Two people from opposite sides of the Earth with contrasting cultures develop a unique and strong relationship simply through writing letters to one another. Over an entire year of penning back and forth they earned each others' trust while discovering the true personality of the other. Thoughts of a future relationship that would endure a lifetime were constantly circling their minds. Dedeth, a young woman from a developing village in the Philippines, and Patrick, a man from the United
States of America, grasped what each others' inner self contained. They were able to fall in love despite the thousands of miles separating them.
Dedeth and Patrick saved the letters they received and have kept them safe and close to their hearts. Those letters are shared in this novel to allow one to understand the breathtaking depth of their relationship that culminated from a single letter.
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Life of Love for Atema and Atepa
By Dedeth Ford
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013 Dedeth Ford
All rights reserved.
I saw your picture in "Asian Presentations" today and would really like to exchange letters and photographs with you. I find you particularly attractive with very beautiful and expressive eyes. I'm enclosing a recent photo of myself. It's not too good but it will give you some idea of what I look like. I live in Boulder, Colorado, a small city of about 50,000 people quite close to the Rocky Mountains. The small mountain you see in the background is part of a group of mountains called the Flatirons.
I am 54 years old, 6' tall and weigh 180 pounds – rather slim and muscular. My hobbies include woodcarving, playing guitar and studying the martial arts. I enjoy gardening, reading, hiking in the mountains, TV/ movies, animals and nature and all kinds of music. I have the good fortune of being strong and healthy.
I work as a carpenter although I have a degree in Journalism and Psychology. I prefer to work with my hands building things and being creative. I also enjoy physical work much more than sitting behind a desk in some office. The caption under your picture states you are a student. What is your major area of study?
I have been divorced for about four years now and would very much like to find a warm, gentle, responsive and loving woman to be my wife. I am a romantic and affectionate man with very deep and very strong emotions when it comes to loving a woman so it has been very difficult for me living alone. I write very honestly and openly about what I feel and what is in my heart. How else can two people really get to know each other and have any chance to have a relationship that can grow and endure. I only hope that my direct and frank words don't offend or upset you. I really do want to get to know you and don't want to say anything at this point that will interfere with your answering my letter. Please open your heart and tell me about what you are looking for in a relationship and in life. Perhaps the difference in our ages may be a problem for. If so, please tell me when you answer and I will understand.
My address is:
Boulder, Colorado 80303
Sincerely and affectionately, Patrick
March 9, 1987
Hello! good day to you and a fine health. I received your letter last March 8, 1987 and I was very surprise upon holding your letter. You know I received your epistle directly because our Home is very near from our Post office. Upon reading your letter I feel ashame of what you said about my physical appearance. May be I look attractive and beautiful in the picture due to the Camera trick, you know in the picture I'm white but personally my complexion is very brown.
Well, you ask about what I am. I celebrate my birthday every 13 of July, 1959 so I'm almost 28 years old this coming July. With 5' 1" feet tall and 100 pounds in weigh with brown complexion. My hobbies includes handicraft, reading, hearing good music, cooking, doing household activities.
About my educational attainment I finish my degree in four year course in Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and I work in the government Agency for two yrs. and five months but after that my parents suggested me to stop working in that Agency and by this time I manage a small business w/c is a dry Goods.
Our Family background, I'm the second daughter of Mr. Patricio Refugio and Ana Refugio. We are five children in the family, two girls and and three boys but my older sister who is already married was died last Feb. 7, 1987 So I was very lonely because we are only two daughters.
How about your self can you relate also your family background I hope so. I appriciate very much of being a frank man and my parents said that you are a good man because they judge you the way you write. You ask me about what I'm looking for in a relationship and in life. For me I want to have a life partner who is honest, responsible, sincere, loving and caring and he will respect me as a Pilipina woman and our custom and we live happily through to life. But all this are in the Hands of God because He made all of as human beings. For my self I don't mind the age but a good relationship and happy family are best for me. Before I forget why is that you have a devorce with your wife, well hope you will forgive me if I ask about this things I think it's personal.
I hope you will understand my side because I am single and had not connected with somebody else that's why I ask a question about yourself and your recent wife w/c you have a divorce as of now. You know I am very religious because I am a Catholic but I don't mind what his religion is as long as he has a good moral values being a through gentle man.
Lastly I will pray to God that our penpal writing will go forever. Waiting for your answer directly upon receiving. Here I inclose a picture. Please give me another picture w/c is clear.
Complete Address at the back page
Miss Fredeswinda Refugio
Mahayag, San Miguel
Bohol, Philippines 6337
Your wonderful letter arrived this afternoon and I read it with great pleasure. Thank you for the photograph. As I said in my first letter you are a very attractive woman. From your picture you could be mistaken for a high school girl. You have nothing to be ashamed of in your physical appearance. You are very slim and feminine with a beautiful smile ... very open and warm. I am very fond of darker skin coloring and think your complexion is perfect. Although I am not what you would call "brown skinned" I get quite dark in the summer months and my friends frequently comment about it, wishing they could achieve the same color. So, I hope you believe me when I tell you I think you are very pretty all of you including your skin!
What kind of handicrafts do you like to do? Working with your hands creating things has always been a thing that has given me a great deal of pleasure. What kind of music do you enjoy most? Perhaps if you would tell me the names of your favorite songs and performers I might recognize them. What are some of your favorite books or magazines? I also like to cook, but I don't think I'm really very good at it. Perhaps you could send me several of your favorite recipes and I could try to cook them here. I know nothing about Filipino foods but I would like to learn. It may seem unusual for a man but I also enjoy doing household chores such as sweeping, scrubbing floors, washing and ironing, etc. I have always felt that there is really no such thing as "man's work" or "woman's work" in a household but that it more fun to share the work, doing it together in good spirits, enjoying doing things together ... just another way of enjoying being together!
Strange, but I began my college education majoring in agriculture. I spent a great deal of my childhood on a farm in Michigan, a state in the northern part of the U.S. But, my education was interrupted when I joined the U.S. Marines and went to Korea. When I returned from service I decided to study Journalism so I changed my major and completed my studies. I am still a farm boy at heart and love the smell of freshly turned earth.
I am an only child due to my mother's health. She was not able to have any more children after I was born so I grew up rather lonely substituting animals and pets as brothers and sisters.
I am pleased that your parents judge me to be a good person. I think of myself as a good man and try to live my life that way. However, I am human and have made my share of mistakes. But, I believe I have learned a great deal from my experiences and am a better person today and hopefully will be a better man with each new day. I hope you will free to ask any question about me that comes to your mind. If we are to become good friends and build a strong, loving relationship you must be at peace in your mind about me as a man.
It is very difficult to explain all the circumstances that caused my divorce. It would not be fair to blame it all on my ex-wife, but in my heart I believe it was mostly her fault. I am not a heavy drinker. I did not abuse or mistreat her physically – or my children, and I did not become involved with other women. Several doctors, psychiatrists, examined her and felt she had severe emotional problems. She would not accept their diagnosis and attend any kind of therapy. We were divorced and I remarried her about a year later to try to keep the family together – mostly because of the children, but it just was the same problem all over again! So, we divorced for a second time. I have five children, 3 older sons who are grown and a son 15, and a daughter 17, who still live with their mother. I still assist in supporting them but, because of their mother, I do not have a very close relationship with the two youngest. I hope this answers your questions and puts your mind and heart at rest. However, if you want to know more please feel free to ask. I can assure you, if I marry again it will be to my last breath of life.
I am pleased the age difference isn't a big problem for you. I am quite young and active for my age because of being physically involved in sports and exercise. I dislike cigarettes but I do some a pipe occasionally which I do not inhale. Briefly, in closing, I am not Catholic but am quite familiar with it as my father is Catholic. I am at peace in my heart with God and if being Catholic brings you peace also I have no difficulty with your religion.
Please give my respects and best wishes to your mother and father. I hope you are all well and in good spirits.
I know it's too soon to expect an answer to my last letter but I keep thinking about you and looking at your picture. So, I thought you wouldn't mind if I wrote again.
I have been very busy the past two weeks. Winter has given way to Spring and with the warming weather there is a great deal more work for carpenters. I may be working seven days a week which is fine with me. I hope to make a trip to the Philippines sometime in the late Fall, probably October or November, and would like to be able to spend a few weeks or more. So, the extra work on the week-ends will help me to finance my vacation. I don't want to be a typical tourist and go to the usual places that tourists go. I would like to really get to know the people and see the country as they see it. You don't really get to learn much about a country staying in big hotels and eating in fancy restaurants.
You would laugh if you have seen me when I came home from work today. I spent most of the day painting, mostly ceilings! I had paint splattered all over me from head to toe. It all washed off quite easily, but I did look kind of ridiculous. I don't usually do much painting, but sometimes when you are remodeling a house you have to do a little bit of everything. I don't really like to paint very much, but doing something different now and then makes work a little more interesting.
I've read your letter over many times. I really enjoyed it and think you have very nice handwriting. I've also looked at the picture you sent to me again and again and really don't see why you think your skin is so brown. I think its very pretty, a beautiful color!! I hope you will send me other pictures when you write. I would like to see your picture when you aren't all dressed up ... more of your natural state as you look when you're working around the house.
I think a man would have to be very foolish to choose a lifetime partner from another country and then not respect her customs and way of life. That would be a great part of her charm and to change that would the same as changing her. If you decide to marry someone you must accept them for what and who they are ... not what you think they should be, believing that they will change. A man or woman will change only if they themselves want to change and believe in the change. Trying to change because somebody thinks you should rarely ever works. You may change for awhile, but sooner or later you must be who you truly are and what you truly believe!!
I hope you and your family are well and in good spirits. I look forward to your next letter.
27 of March
Good day and a fine health to you. And fine Hello! Early morning of March 24 I got hold your letter. I thanks God that you answer my letter even if some question w/c are too personal and thank you again that you appreciate my personality. You know I'm simple.
With regards of your picture I fill happy upon seeing your picture As if your are smiling at me personally and look handsome and my parents admire very much of you especially that you tell to me about your self. And you give your respect to my father and mother. They fill happy knowing it.
You ask me about the kind of handicraft I like well, I prepare to do it by my two hands and the kind of music, well both English and Filipino music w/c are good to hear. Well the important are the recipes you ask this will make our body strong and healthy.
Yes I could send you some of my favorite. But I send only four recipes, because if the invelope is heavy, the bill or stamp in mailing is double, so I hope you will understand my side. But I cannot assure you if the ingredients are available here. Well, what is the purpose of knowing our recipes in fact there are many nutritious food here.
Please forgive me of asking some question about your self. May be it's not my right to ask about it but I want to be get acquainted with you.
You know my parents said that you are very honest because you tell me all the happening of your life and I appreciate very much of you being an honest man, and my parents too. You said in your letter that you can assure if you married again that is the last breath of your life. Are you planning to marry again. Well think it's personal.
You ask me about your age well as I said in my first letter, I don't mind the age of a man what I need is his good moral character. You know.
You know there is a seeing that "what can a man gain if he own the whole word but he losses his own soul" so the important is his good moral values. All of this is in the Hands of God.
I think my letter is very long and maybe you fill tired reading and answering my questions so that's all and may God Blessed you always. And waiting an answer upon receiving. Mistakes are under of your corrections.
Here I insert four copies of our recipes and hope you will like it.
Please tell me if you do not like that kind of recipes.
How about your recipes well it's up to you.
Thank you for the delicious sounding recipes! They arrived today and I will try to make them soon. A few of the ingredients may be a little difficult to find here but I'm sure if I look around enough they are available in one of the specialty stores.
I enjoy your letters very much. You are always so cheerful! It's such a pleasure to hear you speak about your parents with such love and reverence. You are very fortunate to have such a wonderful relationship of closeness, trust and caring. Perhaps if all children knew this kind of love, gentleness and emotional security there would be no wars and all men could live in peace and safety.
My work is still somewhat slow at this time due to the changeable weather and depressed construction industry. Happily, I showed some of my carving skills to a local manufacturer of musical instruments and he has asked me to do some work for him. I can do this in the evening at home so it will be a welcome supplement to my daily income. It really doesn't seem like work because I enjoy carving so much. Also, it occupies my evening hours and helps to keep my mind off being lonely.
In answer to your question ... yes ... I would like to be married again to a warm, caring and gentle woman who could be happy with a simple life ... content with a quiet and uncomplicated way of life. I enjoy staying at home watching TV and reading, carving and, in the summer months, working in a garden. I am confident in my manhood and have nothing to prove to other men. I believe in myself and my abilities. However, living alone without the tenderness and softness that a woman brings to a man's life makes me feel incomplete and empty. There is always a sadness without being able to love and be loved in return. I don't have a great deal to offer other than strong hands, a willing heart and a great desire to love and please someone as much as I possibly can.
Does you dry goods business prosper better now that Marcos is no longer dictator. I have wondered if Corazon Aquinos presence has made a difference in the Filipino economy. I hope things are improving for you and your parents ... and for all those who are dear to you.
I'm glad you enjoyed the picture and I'm enclosing another that I hope you will like also. We had an unusually warm day about a week ago and my friend decided to take some pictures. If you happen to have any recent pictures of yourself I would love to see them but I don't want you to go to any additional expense just for me.
I hope you and your parents are well and your love for each other grows stronger everyday. They are your greatest treasure.
April 12, 1987
Hello! and good day and hoping that you have a fine health. I got hold your letter last April 7 and I was very happy that unexpected letter w/c I received is coming from you.
Upong reading your letter I fill petty on to you because you tell that you are busy with your work for a leaving. You said that I will laugh if I see you personally about that kind of work. Well estead of laughing I fill very petty on you. So don't be too fast and take easy with your work so that you will not got sick, too much working. Take a rest for a while. Thank you very much of your admiration of my handwritting and my personality. You know my parents appreciate very much of you because all the happenings here and especially you respect our customs and way of life and to them being my parents. I appreciate very much of it. My parents is always saying that you are honest and sincere with your writting to me because you give important in answering my letter.
Excerpted from Life of Love for Atema and Atepa by Dedeth Ford. Copyright © 2013 by Dedeth Ford. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Heartfelt. Genuine without pretense. An inspiring love story of two from diverse cultures who came together through the honesty and force of their letters. A good read for those who appreciate lovers who wore their emotions on their sleeves.