The Original Happy Mail | Those Letters

What am I going to do with all the letters?


I’m going to read them.

Of course I am. Safe in the knowledge that Mum knew that I would, at some point, and that I have the blessing of our Australian friends-like-family.

Over his morning coffee, The Brainy One casually enquired recently, “What will you do if you read something about yourself that you don’t like?

For once, I was ahead of him. I’d already given myself a pep talk … “If you decide to read them, you can’t complain or be upset about what was written 45 years ago.

And then I read something that backed up my pep talk …

Reading her {journals} won’t tell you who you used to be. It’ll tell you who your mother was, what she thought. Not who you think you were through her eyes. There’s a lot you didn’t know about your mother.

Prior to reading them, I’ve been pairing the letters – years 1974, 1975 and 1976 are complete. Sadly Mum’s very first letter appears to be missing, although I have my fingers crossed that it’s simply been misfiled. Years 1977 and 1978 are in progress.

Waiting to be paired

Shall I give you a flavour of how Mum described me in a letter dated 23 August 1974?

“… Ruth, 6 last birthday. Rather chubby, tends to be a bit babyish at times but she can charm the birds from the trees with her smile and brown eyes!”

Once all the letters have been paired and read, I hope to do something with them, I’m just not certain what that something might be.

I’d welcome any sensible suggestions, via the comments, on how to proceed.

10 thoughts on “The Original Happy Mail | Those Letters

  1. Oh Ruth, how I wish I had some advice but I too have a pile of letters that I really don’t know what to do with. I have my dad’s army kit bag full to the brim of every letter he wrote my mum during the war and every letter she wrote back. Every now and then I put my hand in to get one out and have a read but often it is too emotional. I cannot get rid of them but honestly don’t know what to do!
    Isn’t it lovely thought to see your parents as they were when they were young? Their thoughts, plans and opinions – all the things you never knew. I am sure there is nothing bad lurking in her descriptions of you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a treasure trove to have in your possession! Have you considered donating them to your dad’s regimental museum? That way, they’ll be stored in an archival-safe manner and catalogued.
      I plan to do some more pairing soon – it’ll be fun to see what I discover!


  2. OH how lovely. I doubt there will be any shockers in those letters, you have always written such kinds things about her, I’m sure she was always just as kind. One of my aunts took her husband’s Mother’s letters from her husband during WW II, to a printer that scanned (I believe) & made into a book & gifted it to my uncle for a special birthday. It’s a gorgeous book that included some photos that Helen had of them during that time period. I know it was costly but those treasures are now preserved forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A project like that will take time and you can do it in small sections. I suggest transcribing them – I know, that sounds like a job for life. I have transcribed letters my parents received from two of my Dad’s siblings after they emigrated in the 1950s. I intend giving the letters and the transcriptions to the local archives as they are a part of the history of the people of this area. I will include the photographs that were sent with the letters – I scrapbooked them years ago on archival papers – as I think the whole collection will be of interest to someone in a hundred years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My head tells me that’s the best option to take, but my heart feels simply overwhelmed at the mere thought of it. Still, now that I have them together, there’s no immediate rush.


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