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My Dearest Mum
I'm sending you my fondest love and
wishing you very many happy returns of the day. If
only I could be home for this, your birthday, mum dear,
I'd give the world to be able to do so. Lets see, this is
the third year that I have been away for that day, just
when I could help make it such an enjoyable day for you
The above is from a birthday letter a soldier sent to his Mother in January 1946, the soldier was my Brother Wally. It was written when he was stationed in Japan six months after the war ended. I have another letter dated late December of the same year, eleven months later, in it he writes about how much he had missed his family over Christmas. He promises that, "when I do get home we will have a party really worth having, I want the children to have the time of their lives, something they'll remember." The love my brother felt for his parents comes out in his letters, and it is so strong I can almost feel it seven decades later. He signs his Mothers birthday letter, "Always your loving Son, Wally."
He then added forty four kisses, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxX. One for every year of her life, and two for luck.
If my Mother had not treasured and kept those letters, that part of our family history would have been lost, I will remain forever grateful that my nephew Peter, Wally's Son, sent me my copies, I confess to having tears when I read them!
In 2007 my beloved Daughter Kathryn gave me an unusual gift, a book full of almost empty pages. On the first page she wrote the following.......
Dear Dadda, You always have so many wonderful stories to tell, and are so open with your feelings and memories. Unfortunately, your darling daughter has a terrible memory, and whenever I try and recall your tales I get frustrated that my brain can't fill some of the gaps in my retelling . This book can help me. You've alway written such brilliant letters, so I thought you might like the chance/challenge to fill up this book for future generations to learn from and laugh at. I hope you enjoy reminiscing as much as I will enjoy reading. Love you Dadda, Kathryn xxx
Well,Daughter, You have sown the wind and now, you will reap the whirlwind. I will not fill in the book, but will, instead, write the answers to the many questions the book asks on, "Kens Cosy". For this you must thank (or blame) your brother Morgan, for it is he who set up the "Cosy" to make this possible. It is he who pulled me, kicking and screaming, out of my time warp world, and it was his gift of a lap top, aka the Magic Box, that got me started last Christmas.
In the same way the the letters my brother sent to my Mother, gave me pleasure, I hope the memories I write down will be of interest to those close to me. I have often found when writing to friends that I feel closer to them, I did not expect it to be the same when writing about lost loved ones, it is! My brother Wally died in 1987, but today I felt he was still there with me. When I write about my meal table exploits of the long ago 1950's, my Dad is there too, he comes alive in my mind and I can hear his wonderful laughter. "The book of Empty Pages", will inspire me to write more, and the memories will live on.