It has taken me a while to sit and write this. A slight hesitation on my part, I do not know why. I am still in a very reflective mood looking to the past perhaps too much. I think, in part, it is that I have been clearing and emptying my parent's house. Finding lots of documents, photographs and tiny reminders of a family's life. My younger brother and I never lived in the house as a family home, having both left years before my parents moved.
I mentioned my father's letters to my mother and asked if she would like to see them. I told her I was looking for photographs to show her when I came upon the leather bag that held those precious letters. I have known for a number of years that my father had written many letters to my mother in the months before their marriage in October 1946.
lovely grained leather shoulder bag
I visited my mother and took the bag with me. I gave my mother the bag and asked if she had remembered that I had found them. She looked inside and took out a few of the letters and a smile spread across her face. I asked if she would like me to read them to her, she said she would like to read them herself. The writing was very faded and some of them were written in green ink so they proved to be a challenge as my mother's eyesight is fading. She handed me the letters and I chose a short letter to read. It was a letter about their meeting the previous night and how my father had enjoyed seeing my mother. It was so funny as when I finished the letter it had a funny postscript reminding my mother to water the leek plants! She laughed and explained that she was in charge of the plants but couldn't recall why.
my father's beautiful handwritten envelope
All of the letters were delivered by hand and this was a puzzle to me as they lived about five miles apart and my father did not own a car then. When I asked my mother how she received the letters she mentioned that the Co-operative Society had a delivery boy who would take groceries to the customers on his trusty bicycle. He obviously incorporated many visits to my mother's address on his travels!!
letters written on order forms, invoices and scrap paper
A lot of the letters were very long, several pages written outlining their meetings and their hopes for the future. I read my mother a couple of the shorter notes and the twenty first birthday telegram she received from my father. She said she would like to see the letters again and for me to read some to her on another occasion. Her concentration wavers a lot. She did enjoy hearing my father's words. It definitely made her smile and I am sure she was remembering that time and they obviously meant a lot to her as she had kept them for over sixty five years.
I have always had a photograph of my parent's wedding framed in my home. My mother always asked me why, she obviously thought it strange. I just love this photograph, they look so young, my father was 23years old and my mother 21years old. I love their outfits, I have the corsage my mother is wearing, it is made of wax and I was told it was edelweiss.
the happy couple 7th October 1946
I am sure my mother enjoyed seeing and hearing some of the letters. I do think it is so lovely that my father wrote these sentiments to my mother, sometimes within hours of leaving her and when he was to see her the next day. My mother's recollection is that she never replied to any of the letters.
I particularly love the way my father signed off every letter in his beautiful handwriting -
yours till your mine - Jacky x
Bittersweet memories indeed......... Jayne x