A photo of the letter which was found among the rubbish. / SUR

Words of love which have survived the passing of time

Workers at the area's waste management plant have found a letter written by a young man on military service to his girlfriend 47 years ago


For a while now, the Costa del Sol waste management centre in Casares has made announcements about items in good condition which have been found among the rubbish from the 11 different local municipalities which is handled by the plant. Jewellery and coins are among the most common items, and this year one piece of jewellery has already been returned to its rightful owner.

Now, however, one of the workers at the plant has rescued something with a sentimental value which could equal that of the most precious jewel. It is a letter written by a soldier to his girlfriend in 1974, which is still very legible. In it the young man, who it seems was doing his military service in Santurce, expresses all his love and affection for the girl, and says he can hardly wait to see her again.

The only information to be gleaned from the letter is the soldier's location and his age - he was 22 when he wrote it. It is dated 21 April 1974. There is nothing to indicate his name or that of its recipient, nor the address to which it was sent. It consists of three folded pages which the sorter at the plant found on the solid waste classification belt and decided to separate from the rest because she found it interesting.

In the letter, the young soldier announces that it would only be 19 more Sundays until they would be together again, and then they could get married "and be together forever. You will see how happy we are going to be," he wrote.

Among other curiosities in the text, he tells her he has cut his hair, so his future in-laws could no longer refer to him as "that hippie". From the conversation, it seems that his girlfriend's parents didn't consider him good enough for her. He insists that he has changed and asks her to convince her parents that this is a serious relationship. "It's logical that they don't trust me right now, because if they did it would show that they didn't really care about you," he says, then "tell them from me to try to get to know me a bit more now. If after a while they still feel the same about me, I will go, if I really am not going to make you happy, although I know that is not going to happen".

The letter ends with a reminder that in 127 days they would be together again, "this time forever". It will be kept at the plant as a curiosity. It is unusual for anything made of paper or cardboard to still be intact if it is deposited in with general rubbish and not the recycling container.