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One every day, for 39 years: Meet the local couple that shares more than 16,000 love letters

BUENA VISTA, Va. – The secret to a lifelong romance might come down to a love letter -- but not just one. One every day, for 39 years.

Since 1972, Martha has been the only woman in Ronald's heart. 

"I want to live the dreams that others can only fantasize about. I want us to share our lives completely."

And for 47 years, he's written her love letter after love letter to prove it. 

"I think I finally figured out there is 16,227 as of this morning," said Ronald Gravatt. 

And Martha's kept every single one.

"They are very special. They bring back good memories and happy times and things that we did," said Martha Gravatt.

Most were handwritten.

"My father used to sell typewriters, so I typed the first page or two here," said Ronald of one of his letters. 

When he didn't have ink, he got creative.  

"I switched and began sewing the message," said Ronald. "That is done with needle and thread."

But they never stopped. In these stacks at the Gravatt's Buena Vista home, nearly 2,000 love letters written while they were still dating. 

"I loved it. I loved going to my mailbox. He made me feel very special," said Martha. 

"Have you ever gone to your college mailbox and found it empty? She never did. No," said Ronald. 

Martha and Ronald showed the first letter to 10 News. 

"We had been to see 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown' together," said Martha. 

"It says silver and gold, have I none...but such as I have I give unto thee...," read Ronald. 

A love so strong, he never stopped writing -- not even on their wedding night. 

"On Hotel Roanoke stationary. The letter that was written for August 2nd, or wedding day. It began and it hasn't stopped since," said Ronald. 

Since that night, he's written one every single day for 39 years. 

"It sounds crazy I guess, but that's what she asked for and it seemed like something I could do. So I did," said Ronald. 

"I guess I was just spoiled by it. I didn't want it to end," said Martha. 

In 1972, stamps were only 8 cents. A lot has changed since then, but one thing has remained the same. 

"As I said it's always going to be there. There is no lapse," said Ronald. "Other people have their traditions. Maybe they have their coffee at the end of every day, or glass of wine. But we have a letter to share."


About the Author:

Rachel Lucas

Watch Rachel weekdays from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. on Virginia Today.

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