Dear Grama

A special bond


(above picture: Grama & her siblings.  Left-Right. Janey, Rene, Albert, Naty & Joe)

June 10th, 1946

My Darling,

Once again I settle down darling to write you a few lines, which I sure hope I won’t have to do soon now, P.G. This is the fourth day I haven’t heard from you and I sure hope it’s because of the holidays.  I hope you are quite okay darling as this leaves me but longing and just anxiously waiting for when I can be with you again.  It has still been a holiday here in England.  Bank holiday Monday, I know you don’t have that one in Canada.  After waking up this morning and being disappointed because there were no letters, I mooched around, made a cake and done a few odd jobs.  Then after lunch I met Doris in Piccadilly (remember the red light, darling?).  First of all we took in a show, saw a film called “From this day forward.” It was a lovely film all about a couple who had just got married so of course Doris and I enjoyed it but boy did we ever wish we had our husbands with us. I really do think though that Doris and I should hear any day now because it’s two weeks ago now when Ethel got her papers.  When we came out of the pictures we went and had supper, then we walked all down the Mall right to Buckingham Palace and saw all the decorations.  We also saw the Royal Stand where the King and Queen stood and saluted everyone.  It was quite interesting but I still wouldn’t have cared if I hadn’t seen it.  In the last two letters I wrote darling, I put our new address on it, I hope I have spelt it right but if I haven’t don’t blame me it’s the way you wrote it, but I think I’ll wait to address this one to make sure of the address from the letters I hope to get in the morning, please God. Janey just said ‘it’s a shame you aren’t here because there are a lot of Cowboy films on now.’ I don’t have to tell you I sure wish you were here now, it would have been especially nice if you could have met Albert, I know you two would have got on smashing to-gether.  Never mind darling, just let us two get to-gether again, P.G. then everything will be fine.  Now I guess its time for me to hit the hay for another lonely night darling, but I sure hope those nights are numbered now darling.  Good-night sweet.  God Bless You and Sweet Dreams to you.  Good Luck.  Au-revoir.  Hope to see you soon.  All my love to you forever.

Your everyloving wifey,


I LOVE YOU (in x’s)


June 20th, 2013 

Dear Grama,

Sorry that it’s been a while since I’ve written.  I’ve been so busy in quite possibly the best way.  I had Ryan & Sulienne here visiting for 10 whole days and this letter was the first day of their visit.   Naturally I brought them to Central London despite their fading eyes after a night of travel.  The lights and excitement of Piccadilly sure woke them up and they were both in awe as I led them though the city center with ease that even surprised me.  I really have gotten to know your city, Grams.  I even must have that air about me, because aimless tourists approach me on a regular basis asking for directions.  I secretly love it.

I could sit and list all the things we experienced together, but that would be the longest letter imaginable, so I will sum up our time together as best as I can.  We laughed like siblings do. We shared the teeny tiny space of my flat and came out of it with only a few bruises.  We fought like siblings do.  And most importantly, we cherished the moments we got to share together like most siblings forget to do.

Suli has been in our lives since a few months after you left us.  Grama, you would love her.  She if full of life and wonder, and has a passion for travel, adventure and seeing the world.  She absolutely loved the history of your city, the amazing stories of the Royal family, and pure magic that London has to offer.  She truly has been like a sister to me since they started dating when I was 14.  I am grateful for our bond and the loving, honest and inspiring conversations that were had.

Ryan was mostly along for the ride, getting excited about making Suli happy, enjoying visiting the pubs that Shakespeare frequented, and going to the dog races.  I imagine him & your brothers would have ‘got on smashingly’ as well.  He also really enjoyed seeing your neighbourhood and honouring this journey in his own special way.  The night before they left, he said something to me that will stay with me forever.  It was about how happy he was for Adam and I.  Specifically how thrilled he was that I had found someone that can take care of me in a way that I need a man to.  Fixing the car, hanging the blinds, carrying heavy things from the basement and coming to my rescue when anything breaks.  Things that Ryan was just a phone call away to do during my 2 years of single-living in my apartment in Windsor.  As we were finishing up our last dinner together and clinking our glasses in cheers of a great holiday, he nonchalantly mentioned that I am to always call him, even if I don’t have anything for him to fix.  He loves me.

Having them both here made me think a lot about how your siblings must have felt about you making the big move across the pond.  I am sure they were beyond happy for you, and I am also sure there was a bit of sadness in seeing you go.  Of course it’s all a part of life and we all grow up and get on with our own lives and families and at the same time recognizing that the end of eras create a bit of nostalgia.

The love that siblings share is special.  It’s a beautiful thing.  It’s a bond that no matter where life brings you, its strength is enough to withstand the distance.  Almost immeasurable, really.  My guess is that it’s the kind of love that could go the distance of the Atlantic…20 times over.

With a granddaughter’s love & admiration,





4 thoughts on “A special bond

  1. Krista Rempel says:

    Hi Carly,
    This post really struck a cord with me. I can relate as I’ve had to stay in touch with my sisters through long distance most of our adult lives. We have finally been in the same city all together for more than a month but that will pass once Meg’s goes back to Ottawa in September. I love my sisters more than words can describe and we have the best time together (as we all gather together for tonight’s fireworks). We can also have the worst arguments but they usually pass. Great letters! I’m glad you had a great time with your siblings and I’m looking forward to seeing your smiling face soon.
    Xo Krista

    • Thanks so much for sharing Krista! Every time I see you & your sisters together it makes me smile. You can feel the love & bond between the 3 of you. It truly is a beautiful thing. Enjoy this time & enjoy the beauty of loving & supporting each other from a-far. It sure makes the reunions sweet. So glad you got something from my post. That’s all I ever hope for. Hugs & see you soon! xoxo

  2. Cecile Verheyen says:

    Hi Carly …your letter made me very emotional… I ‘m thinking about the band I had with my brother ….and who left me 2 times, first when he emigrated to Canada..I was only 18 ! and the second time when he passed away much to young and to early! Luckyly his kids gave me all the love I needed after I lost him definitely (but he still is in my heart forever ♥).

    I’m glad you had a wonderful time together, I could feel the love you have for each other, and I wish you lots of more years of happiness with your “siblings” (as you call it…I can’t find the exactly meaning of that word !? have to explain it sometimes!!! ..I suppose it are your best best friends even and also in a “relationship”!?)

    Time is flying now…and your last days in London will soon come to an end..I’ll miss you overthere..although we were not together..It felt like you were much closer !!!
    Thanks for all the love you gave me ..It felt good!

    Enjoy the last moments in London in the memory of your granny !!!

    ♥ Cecile

    • Aunt Cecile. Thank you again for sharing. I am so glad you enjoyed my letter. Siblings is just another way of saying “brothers & sisters.” I admire you for your efforts in sharing your words with me. I don’t even think I’d be able to craft a 5 word sentence in Belgian. I am glad you always feel your brother in your heart. I wish I could have met him. I am so grateful to get to know you though & hear all about the Verheyen side of MY (soon) family. Love to you. xoxox

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