Ethel Lepine Fulton Ratcliff
TO MY VALENTINE
February 14, 1943
Long, long ago, my dear,
I fell in love with you.
How sweet and happy were those days,
When love to us was new:
Do you remember Somerville,
And Greenknoll’s country side?
Do you remember Hurleyville,
Where summer joys abide:
If I were to fall in love anew,
I’d want to fall in love with you.
Our wedding day was minus guests,
And it was bleak and cold:
It mattered not to me at all,
For you were mine to hold:
I heard you say a glad “I do.”
And we at last were wed:
The joy has never left my heart,
Though many years have fled.
If I were to marry anew,
I’d want to marry only you.
You, dear, were once my own sweet bride,
They said, “The teacher’s wife”.
We had but little in our home,
But sweet to me was life.
We learned to love those country folks,
And they to us were kind:
I doubt if those in palaces
A greater bliss can find.
If I were to have a bride anew,
I’d want that bride to be just you.
For thirty years you’ve been my wife,
A loyal wife and true:
If I have won success or praise,
I owe it much to you.
And you are just as lovely now,
As when you were my bride.
I’ve learned to love you more and more,
With love that does abide.
If I were to choose a wife anew,
I’d want to choose just you, just you.
And we have reared a lovely girl, —
Many blessings with her go:And we have reared two precious boys,–
Ratcliff Family – July 16, 1926
Left to right
Robert “Bob” , Walter
Ethel Fulton Ratcliff, Elizabeth “Betty”, Darius Mitteer Ratcliff
May they the Savior know.
For them we’ve toiled and sacrificed,
For them we’ve lived and prayed;
With them we’ve loved, joyed, and wept
With them we’ve hiked and played.
If I were to rear a child a new,
I’d want to rear that child with you.
The years will come, the years will go:
They’ll take away our strength:
We’ll find ourselves, if life is spared,
Grown old and weak at length.
So long the Christ has blessed us,
He’ll not forsake us then:
His grace for us will suffice
While we abide with men.
If I’m to grow old and feeble too,
I want to grow old along with you.
Our hopes are placed with Christ on high,
We wait a coming Lord:
We glory only in the Christ,
We glory in His word:
We trust to love forever more,
And with Christ’s glory shine:
We trust the fullness of our Lord
Will be both yours and mine.
When I then live that life anew,
I want to live that life with you.
Ratcliff Family – Naples, New York, 1935
Photos above – Source: Personal photo collection of B.J. Johanningmeier