Dear Grama

I choose Alice

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May 1st, 1946

My Darling,
Many thanks sweetheart for the letter I got this afternoon. I hope you are fine darling as this leaves me but missing you like hell. Nothing very much exciting happened to-day, this afternoon as it was my half-day I did Janey’s shopping up at John Barnes and then I rang up both Doris and Vera and we had a little chat. Doris told me that the Ill de France is sailing on Wednesday with brides so that made us very happy, even if we are not going on it, its all those nearer to us anyway. It would really be lovely if I would go with either Doris or Vera but I don’t really care darling because I know at the end of the voyage you will be waiting for me and that thought would keep me going if everything else went wrong darling, but I have a funny idea everything is going to be lovely, I only hope it’s soon, please God. I have just come in from the Golders Green Hippodrome. I thought it would make a change, it was quite good, I saw Henry Hall and his Orchestra, he’s got a smashing band and I could hardly stop myself from getting up and dancing to it. Remember when we nearly went there darling to see pantomime but when we got there it didn’t start until Sat so we went all over London and finished up at the Met, Edgeware Rd., remember? I suppose building a house would be a very good idea darling, but I guess you’re right and it’s better to wait until we get to-gether and then we can really talk it over. I guess you just about know me by now because I am going to say that anything you do will be alright because you are the best and cleverest husband in all the wide world and I know you think things over a lot before you decide. That girl yesterday really made me mad (the one who got her sailing papers) because she didn’t seem at all pleased and she said “I’m sorry I started it all now, aren’t you?” and I said “Of course not, I’ll do it all over again.” And I would darling, because I love you and only you for the rest of my life. Well sweetheart I guess that’s the news for another day, it was a lovely day for the 1st of May and let’s hope May will be a lucky month for us. A guy spoke to me while I was waiting for the bus this morning, he said, “you look happy,” so I said, “well it’s the 1st May and a lovely day, so why not?” Well now I guess I’ll have to sign off so good-night my darling. Please look after yourself for me. God Bless You and pleasant dreams, darling. Good-luck. Au-revoir. Hope to see you soon. All my love to you forever.
Your everloving wifey,
I LOVE YOU (in x’s)



May 1st, 2013

Dear Grama,
Oh I had the most incredible day today, I could just scream from the rooftops just how amazing life is and how magical it is to be here retracing your steps. I had an absolutely wonderful lunch with someone I now consider to be a very close friend. I met her while finding my wedding dress, actually. She suggested we meet at Liberty, which I’m sure you loved back in your day. We browsed some shops & had a lovely lunch. Dessert, the infamous carrot cake, was to die for. After our 4 hour lunch date and amazing conversation, I made my way to St. James Park to soak up the sun. As I sat on the park bench, I couldn’t help but feel curious about the man sitting next to me. I’m not sure if this has happened since living on my own over here, but I just love chance-meeting conversations. You never know what will unfold or who you’ll end up meeting and becoming friends with. This man was in his 70’s and once our conversation began, I knew I was meant to meet him. He told me all about the time that he spent with Elizabeth Taylor, his one liner words of wisdom that he lives by, and all about why he still works, well into his 70’s, at a place he adores: the theatre. The chance meeting couldn’t have been more perfect, because this very day, 67 years earlier, you had been to see a performance at a theatre.
After we bid each other a lovely farewell, I felt like meeting him was a sign from you, so I decided to catch up with him and walk in the direction of the theatres. I asked him which theatre he worked at and if it was possible to get last minute tickets. He told me all the in’s and out’s and showed me where to queue up for returns. I ended up getting an £80 ticket for £27.50 and the show was phenomenal. It was Peter & Alice, which is about Alice in Wonderland & Peter Pan all grown up, starring Judi Dench and Ben Wishaw. The performance left me deeply moved and I, yet again, found myself in the middle of Central London fighting back the tears as I ran to catch the tube. The message of the performance was that life is a choice. We all grow up, bad things happen in life and it’s all part of the journey. We can choose to dwell on it and let it take over our lives, or choose acceptance in life. It left me with a very obvious urgency to live my life to the fullest. It made me want to make the most of my every day. In the end that’s all we’ve got: CHOICE. That message was illustrated so well in Judi Dench’s line: “I could be the old woman who saw the last of her days lonely in a room somewhere…or I could be Alice. I choose Alice.”
A few hours earlier, on the park bench in St. James Park, Legend (what the gentleman I met goes by…no joke) looked at me and said: “The reason I still work in my 70’s is because of something I heard in a play once…I could be lonely sitting in room somewhere…or I could be Legend… I choose Legend”
Grama, you sure did the same in life. You chose life. You chose happiness. You chose Rene. The bright, bold, bubbly, make the most of this life, Rene.
With a granddaughter’s love & admiration,
Ps…I choose Carly