Janet has a bout of nostalgia
Are you in the mood for a bit of nostalgia? I was sorting out a box of stuff that I have been meaning to see to for ages, it usually happens if we get a few wet days. I came across a small packet of letters. The letters were from my Father, who had been called up at the start of the 1939 war. All we knew about his whereabouts was that he was somewhere overseas. It must have been grownups who decided where the letters had come from because of the contents. All the mail was censored then but my Father was quite an artist and he had drawn a camel and a palm tree on the Christmas letter, I expect someone who had been overseas recognised the type of scenery depicted on the picture. I think most people thought it was Africa.
The mail allowed the service men small sheets of paper, only to have writing on one side. The letter was then photocopied and I expect it was censored too. With a piece of paper that was only four and a quarter by five and a half inches, and one and a half inches were taken up with the address and censor stamp there wasn't much room left for any messages from my father. I imagine each person could only send one sheet of paper at a time, we never had more than that from him.
For my fourth birthday, I had received a parcel with an hanky in it, one corner had an embroidered posy of cornflowers daisies and poppies. Beneath the posy the words "To my dear Daugther", were embroidered. When I learnt to read I realised that was no way to spell daughter, incidentally, the computer doesn't like it either!
One of the letters has a drawing of the Military Police badge, no news in the letter but now I do wonder if it was Dad's way of telling us he had been promoted. Three other letters are on the theme of Dad coming home in the near future. One letter has a message in very small writing, "Hello Janet darling, I hope that this is not wishing for too much, but still it will not be too long before we are together. Lots of love Daddy. Followed by lots of tiny kisses, it must have been very hard to be so far away from home.
I would be interested to hear of anyone else who has similar letters. I have always been a collector of what most people regard as rubbish, but this particular little hoard is very precious to me. I can still remember the excitement when our postman would come to our front door waving the longed for mail.
Janet Tilburn. November 04