Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A Link With The Past

Recently, I've started a new project which is to go through all the photographs I've managed to retain over the years, select the best, - or at least those I think are best, or have special significance, and scan them onto the computer. Some of them may even find their way onto Flickr (some already have).

It has, so far, been a fascinating voyage, and I've come across some interesting pictures. Of course I have tons of the girls in their early years, but I've also got many pictures that go well back into the past before being married or having a family. I've still got the pictures I took during a 'glamour' day at the Photographer's Club in London, Deer in Richmond Park, even an ex-girlfriend! These are all memories, and were important to me at the time, and many still have a relevance today. I'm sure there will be many more memories in the boxes I have to go through. I just wish I had gone for quality rather than quantity.

However, one thing I did find which made me stop for a while was a brown envelope sitting at the bottom of the box. It is address to me and had been posted at 1:30pm on the 10th February 1956 in Manchester. On opening it I found a birthday card that had been sent to me for my 3rd birthday from my Granddad and Nanna, my mother's father and mother. My birthday is on the 12th February.

Inside the card was a letter.

The beautifully handwritten letter had been written by Granddad to wish me a very happy birthday, and had probably accompanied a 10 shilling note for Mum to buy me something. At the age of three, I probably would not have read the letter myself, and I'm sure it was more a letter from a father to a beloved daughter. However, one paragraph struck me as I re-read this letter. In it Granddad said that he was "back between the blankets for a day or two". He goes on to say that, "I am not too bad, but I have shivered all over." Granddad was none too well and had gone back to bed.

On the back of the envelope is a short note from my mother:

"Granddad died - 8.20pm, 11th February 1956". The day before my 3rd Birthday, and my card and letter was the last thing he ever wrote.


MoxieGrrrl said...

What a touching, sad story, but what a nice keepsake.

My mother told me she had never written a letter to her grandmother, but when she found out she was pregnant with me she decided to write her one very late at night. She found out later that she had passed away that night.

sandegaye said...

What a treasure that card is! And how wonderful of your mom to pass it on to you..

We all come full circle & when our ancestors speak to us, it's always special..

James said...


What a touching and poignant story. How tremendous to hold your grandfather's last written words in your hand 50 years later and know that he wrote them to you. Amazing.

Thanks for sharing.

James @ Right Face!

jane said...

My gosh, I'm not sure what to say. That is so sentimental. Bless your Granddad for writing on your card, even when he was on death's bed. Thanks for sharing that with us, Mark.

None said...

Wow, I have shivers reading that post and seeing your Grandmother's note on the back of the envelope. That is truly bittersweet.

Barb said...

Mark, thanks for sharing this story though it's bittersweet. What a great treasure to have.