April 8th, 1946
My Darling Husband,
Many thanks sweetheart for the two lovely letters that were waiting for me when I got in tonight. I hope this letter finds you in the best of health darling as this leaves me just dying for you. I have just come in from being out with two other brides, we had quite a pleasant evening, let our hair down and had a good jaw. We all seemed to be in better spirits tonight and full of rumours. Vera, has heard from somewhere that she should be going about the middle of May. She is about the same number as me so that’s not bad is it darling? Doris has also heard that the Ille de France is still taking brides without children so that also sounds good. That’s all I’m living on these days darling, your letters and rumours but one of these days darling, P.G.E., I shall really get my sailing papers then we will be all set for perfect happiness. We went to the Lyons Corner House (you love that place don’t you darling…anyway, it was somewhere to go and talk). We had supper then we went for ever such a long walk, right through St. James Park, we went past Buckingham Palace and had a good look at it as we kidded ourselves it would be the last time we would see it. Doris it the girl who is going to Welland, she says its 14 miles from the border, I thought you were on the border, darling. By the way darling, I weighed myself tonight and I weigh 9 stone, so I guess I have lost weight. (You will soon be able to lift me). But I guess I had better lose a bit more so as you can carry me over the threshold of our home, please God. Keep wishing and dreaming me over darling, because with both you and me wishing and dreaming, we might get somewhere. I’ve got now that I don’t care what they send me over in, a luxury liner or a cattle boat, anything as long as it takes me into your arms, darling. A bride to-night said she hasn’t written to her husband for over a week and she was only married in December. I don’t know how she can be in love with him and not write, I feel much better after I have written to you, I feel just as if I had had a good talk with you, but it’s a very, very poor substitute to talking to you darling, as well you know sweetheart. I guess that rounds off the news for another lonely day today without my darling husband but all we can do is hope and pray that it won’t be long now. The clothing coupons started today so I think I will treat myself to something this week. Now I guess I’ll toddle off to bed, darling to get some more beauty sleep. Good-night my dearest darling, God Bless You and may all your dreams be pleasant. Good Luck. Au-revoir.
Your everloving wifey,
I LOVE YOU (in x’s) N.H.Wiebe
April 9th, 2013
I was so excited to read that you spent some time in Central London. I’ll take any excuse to spend a day wandering a place that thousands of tourists from around the world come to every day. It’s especially easy now that the weather is getting nicer and we’re actually having quite a few sunny days. Being in London sure does make me appreciate them when they come around.
This specific day I spent at a café in St. James Park called “Inn the Park.” As I was sitting having a wonderful lunch on the patio while I journalled, wrote out some postcards & read, I started to get curious about the “Lyons Corner House” that you spoke of. After doing a handy google search, I realized that the place that you and Papa loved so much was no longer there. It had been open from around 1909 to 1977. I thought it would be great to find where it was when it existed and I at least knew it was on “The Strand.”
As I ventured up and down the famous street, I had high hopes that there’d be an old sign that one would imagine they’d typically find on English buildings saying something like “here stood the old Lyons Corner House.” Sounds like something that would be in a historically rich country. Too much to ask? After a nice long walk looking buildings up and down as if I were sizing them up, I decided that I’d better ask someone or else I’d be doing this all day. Going into a hotel to ask a concierge sounded like a great idea. As I walked into a rather swanky hotel on the Strand, I brought out your letter and asked the man if he knew where the old “Lyons Corner House” used to be. The middle-aged man’s eyes lit up as if I had brought back a sweet memory for him. He went on to say that it was where the bookstore now stood, on the corner facing Trafalgar square. I asked him if he had ever been there and what he remembered about it. “Why yes,” he went on to say “my mum used to take me there as a young boy. I remember having tea and great meals there. It was a lovely place.” As he finished, a curious look came over his face, probably due to the fact that a young gal with a North American accent would ask such a thing. I told him my story, he said it was a pleasure to share his memories and wished me well on my journey.
My next stop was the bookstore, where I browsed the shelves, wandered the aisles and made my way up to the coffee shop on the second floor. I ordered myself a tea and found a free seat next to the window. I looked out at the spectacular view of the Admiralty Arch between Trafalgar Square and the Mall that leads to Buckingham Palace. I took a few moments to imagine what it was like in the 40’s. Whenever I do that, my mind always seems to change the colours of today, into black & white. As I took a quick snap with my phone, changed the settings to black & white, and really took it all in, I thought about the fact that I was, yet again, sharing a view with you.
As I continued my walk through St. James Park up towards Buckingham Palace, I turned back to have one last glance of the mighty building that, I imagine, represented so much for you: Familiarity. Nostalgic. Loyalty. Home.
With a granddaughter’s love & admiration,