John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way1 through Grand Central Station2.
He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn t, the girl with the rose. His interest in her had begun 12 months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself absorbed3, not by the words of the book, but by the notes penciled in the margin4. The soft handwriting showed a thoughtful soul and insightful5 mind.
In the front of the book, he discovered the previous6 owner s name, Miss Hollis Maynell. With time and effort he found her exact address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to write him. The next day he was shipped to another country for service in World War II.
During the next year and one month the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile7 heart. A love began to develop. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She explained: “If your feeling for me has any reality, any honest basis, what I look like won t matter. Suppose I m beautiful I d always be worried by the feeling that you had been taking a chance on just that, and that kind of love would make me sick. Suppose I m plain 8(and you must admit that this is more likely). Then I would always fear that you were going on writing to me only because you were lonely and had no one else. No, don t ask for my picture. When you come to New York, you shall see me and then you shall make your own decision. Remember, both of us are free to stop or to go on after that—whichever we choose... ”
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