Tag Archives: Revolutionary War

Write to Me with Sentimental Effusion: A Rant about John and Abigail Adams.

14 Nov

I just realized something yesterday.

My abundant love of John and Abigail Adams, and the whole era of the Revolutionary War, has been with me for twelve years now. That’s over half my life time. That’s fucking incredible.

I can remember being a fifth grader, trying to convince my friends to watch 1776 with me, doing an extra credit report on John and Abigail’s family (not because I had to, because I wanted to), being disappointed that everyone recognized William Daniels as Mr. Feeney instead of John Adams, and getting into a fight with one of my best friends about who accomplished more for America, Jefferson or Adams. Since I was ten, I’ve certainly grown in my adoration. I’ve read books about John and Abigail, along with many of their letters. I’ve named characters in stories after them, and I’m working on a modern day adaption of their own story. I have a motherfucking playlist on my iPod dedicated to their relationship that I listen to fairly frequently. I’ve watched documentaries, the HBO miniseries, and, as always, the musical. Needless to say, I’m crazy about these two.

I’ve tried diligently to explain over the years why their love stands out amongst millions, but it’s rare that a friend truly listens to me on the subject. It makes me sad that people don’t understand that theirs was, truly, one of the greatest love stories of all time.

Here’s an excerpt from one of Abigail’s letters to John that seems to be most well known:

“…should I draw you the picture of my heart it would be what I hope you would still love though it contained nothing new. The early possession you obtained there, and the absolute power you have obtained over it, leaves not the smallest space unoccupied. I look back to the early days of our acquaintance and friendship as to the days of love and innocence, and, with an indescribable pleasure, I have seen near a score of years roll over our heads with an affection heightened and improved by time, nor have the dreary years of absence in the smallest degree effaced from my mind the image of the dear untitled man to whom I gave my heart.”

How is that not the most goddamn romantic thing you’ve ever heard?

Every person, in the world, should strive to find a love that is as strong, brave, and true as the love Abigail and John had for each other. They were separated for five whole years while John was in Europe – no telephones or IM or skype, like we have nowadays; five whole years of never seeing the others face or hearing their love’s voice – and yet their love persisted. Hell, they spent more time apart than together throughout the duration of their marriage, but still, just by reading the letters they wrote back and forth, it’s obvious how deeply they cared for one another and how immense their love was. Not only that, but they respected one another as intellectual equals. John often called her “my Portia” or “my Diana”, but as always, they consistently called each other “My Dearest Friend.” They never engaged in extramarital affairs and, once they were together, only ever had eyes for each other. If only people could find what Abigail and John had.

True, undeniable, total, genuine love.

“Is there no way for two friendly souls to converse together, although the bodies are 400 miles off. Yes, by letter. But I want a better communication. I want to hear you think, or to see your thoughts. The conclusion of your letter makes my heart throb more than a cannonade would. You bid me burn your letters. But I must forget you first.” – John Adams to Abigail