The next morning Eva and Nate hurried through their breakfast.
Mom laughed as Eva nearly spilled her glass of milk. “Alright, settle down.” she reached out and steadied the glass. “I’ve never seen you two in such a hurry to do school work.”
“Grandpa’s never told us stories before either,” Eva pointed out.
“True. Well, you two have fun. And be home before lunch!” she called after them as they hurried out the front door.
“Come on, Eva. Hurry!” Nate’s tone was impatient as he waited for.
“Nate,” Eva protested as she bent down beneath the bike. “The chain came off and I can’t get it back on!”
Nate propped up the kickstand on his bike and walked over to her, “how did the chain come off to begin with?”
Eva wiped her hands on her jeans as she took a step back and let Nate take the bike. “I’m not sure. It was on when I left it last night.”
“Eva, a chain doesn’t just fall off. Was it loose?”
Eve nodded, then realized he wouldn’t see her, “yes. It’s been needing tightened for a while, but I kept forgetting to ask you to do it.”
“Alright, well it’s on now and ready to go.” He stood and handed her the bike.
“Eva grinned, “thanks.”
“Welcome. Now can we please get over to Grandpa's?” Nate said in a sarcastic tone as he winked at his sister.
Eve grinned, “let’s go!”
Nate led the way down and driveway and in no time at all the siblings had propped their bikes up against the garage door.
“Nate, Eva, is that you?” Grandpa’s voice called out as Eve closed the door behind them
“Yes, Grandpa. We’re back for another story,” Nate smiled as they walked into the living room.
“Well, the story is going to have to wait--” Grandpa stopped at at the crestfallen looks on their faces and chuckled. “Well, it’s not quite that bad. Your Grandma’s at the church, but before she left she reminded me that up in the attic is a trunk of letters. Why we’ve kept them I have no idea, but they’re the letters Rachel and I sent back and forth while I was in Vietnam. I kept all her letters and she kept mine. When I got back she filed them all and put them in a trunk, which is where they’ve stayed ever since. Would you two like to go and take a look?”
Eva sighed, “would I ever! Just think, a trunk full of letters from the Vietnam war era. How positively enchanting!”
Grandpa chuckled as he led the way up the stairs, “I’m glad you think so. I have been up here for years so I have no idea where to find them. We’ll just have look till we find them I guess.
“Oh, a treasure hunt!” Eva squealed. “This is the best school assignment ever!”
Nate rolled his eyes, “girls. How can you get so excited over letters?”
Before Eva could reply, Grandpa took a key from his pocket and opened the attic door. “Well, here we are.”
The door groaned in protest as it opened, revealing a small room crowded with old furniture.
Nate groaned, “We’re going to be here all day!”
Grandpa smiled, “well, not quite all day I hope. Last I remember the trunk was pushed up against the window at the back. All we have to do is get over there and get it out.”
Eve eyed him doubtfully. “do we have to move all the furniture?”
“Nope!” Nate exclaimed as he started climbing the furniture, making his way toward the window. “I’ll just climb over and get it.”
“Well. . .” Grandpa looked as though he was going to call Nate back, then changed his mind. “Alright, but be careful.”
“Ahh, is it a cherry trunk with the initial "R" on the front?” Nate called, his voice echoing against the vaulted ceilings of the old house.
“Yes, that’d be it,” Grandpa replied. “Just please, be careful with it, Nate.”
Nate shoved around the furniture at the back, then let out an exclamation of surprise. “Grandpa, in the trunk. There must be at least a hundred letters in here! And there more than just letters, there a whole bunch of other stuff in the back.”
“Oh, come on, Nate. Hurry and bring it!” Eve said excitedly.
“I’m coming, I’m coming.” Nate lugged the trunk up over the other furniture and set it down with a thud.
Eva dropped down to her knees and opened the trunk. Row upon row of letters lay neatly inside.
“They should be organized by date,” Grandpa said. “Grab the first one and we’ll read it.”
Eve nodded and pulled out the first letter and handed it to Grandpa.
“Alright, Nate, bring the chest down to the living room. Then we can sit and read.” Grandpa started down the stairs and Nate and Eva followed.
They were soon seated in the living room and Grandpa looked down at the letter in his hand. “This letter is one Rachel wrote to me.” He broke the seal and pulled out two pieces of stationary. Glancing at the top, he read the date.“December 24th, 1961. . .”