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,
Rene
I LOVE YOU (in x’s)

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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,
Carly
Xoxo
Ps…I choose Carly

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Feel Good Friday Series

100 days, 100 ways: days 85-79

This is the third of my Feel Good Friday series that I started.  In honour of my 100 day mark, I will share a photo from each day with a quote.  Thank you to those who sent quotes & photo op ideas.

  • Have a favourite place in London? I’ll go take a picture in honour of YOU!
  • Have a favourite inspirational quote? I’ll feature your quote on my photo.

Use the comments below, send me a message on Facebook, send an email to lifesletter(at)gmail(dot)com or use the form in the About Me page.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

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100 days, 100 ways: days 99-93

100 days, 100 ways: days 92-86

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Feel Good Friday Series

100 day, 100 ways: days 92-86

This is the second of my Feel Good Friday series that I started.  In honour of my 100 day mark, I will share a photo from each day with a quote.  Thank you to those who sent quotes & photo op ideas.

  • Have a favourite place in London? I’ll go take a picture in honour of YOU!
  • Have a favourite inspirational quote? I’ll feature your quote on my photo.

Use the comments below, send me a message on Facebook, send an email to lifesletter(at)gmail(dot)com or use the form in the About Me page.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

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100 day, 100 ways: days 99-93

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April 22nd, 1946

My Own Darling Nick,
After another lonely day without you darling I am here to try and tell you how much I love and miss you, but how can I tell you on paper, it is practically impossible, if I was only with you darling I know everything would be okay. I sure missed my letter this morning darling but as it was Easter Monday there wasn’t any, but I shall be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to collect the mail. I hope you are okay sweetheart as this leaves me. My cold is much better now and I feel more like my old self again. I am sorry I didn’t write last night darling but I only had this one air letter left and as the post offices don’t open until tomorrow I saved it for to-day, or rather I should say to-night. I hope you had quite a good Easter darling but if it was anything like mine I guess it was rather a lonely one. Yesterday Janey, Dixie and I went over to Joe’s for an evenings jaw, my aunt was there and my cousin, Mrs. Lissner and us, we only sat around chatting all evening and I learnt how to bottle fruit getting good aren’t I, but I don’t know what could happen if I try and experiment. There wasn’t much doing to-day the fair was on at Hampstead Heath. I wish you would have been here darling because I would have liked you to have seen it. I used to go there every holiday in my young days (old woman talking). I shall never forget one day when I was about thirteen years old I went with a crowd of boys and girls and we spent all our money and didn’t have our fare home so when the man wasn’t looking I cheated and put a penny we had left on the shilling square so we got a shilling to ride home with. I didn’t go to-day though because its not much fun on your own so I went to the pictures. I went to the State and saw Bette David in ‘The Corn in Green’ it wasn’t bad, but I sure hope that I spend next Easter Monday in a much better way. He has just announced on the AFN that the Americans should tell their wives to apply now to go to America because they have vacancies on the ships going next month, it sure makes me mad to hear things like that when all of us are waiting for ships. Well darling, I guess that’s the news for now except for me to tell you I love you, miss you and want you terribly and as you say this sure is no way to spend our married life, but never mind darling P.G.E. soon we will be to-gether then no one will be able to part us. They are just playing “Sentimental Journey” I hope mine will start soon please God. Goodnight Sweetheart. God Bless You and have pleasant dreams. Good-luck dear. Au-revoir, see you soon I hope. All my love to you forever.
Your everloving wifey,
Rene
I LOVE YOU (in x’s)

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April 22nd, 2013

Dear Grama,
Whenever you mention a song in your letter, I always play it while reading your cursive. It has this beautiful way of putting a cherry on top of the image I paint in my mind. I can literally imagine you listening to the wireless radio longingly writing your love on paper to your sweetheart. I love how music has that ability to add a whole new dimension to the imagination. Much like the thought of how spectacular life would be with a soundtrack.
The music of the 40’s has come in real handy over the last week as I retraced your steps. I listened to it while finding the old State theatre, visiting parks and monuments, and making my way to the neighbourhood your brother Joe and Phoebe lived with their children. It made it sink in even more just how utterly grateful I am to be here, on this journey. It was also with the help of a complete stranger who reached out to me yesterday through Facebook. Being a fellow temporary Londoner, she shared with me some of her experiences with loneliness, some advice on places to visit, and some things to really take in and enjoy in this moment. Like the fact that we’ve been here long enough to know certain things that tourists can’t quite grasp for the time they’re here, being able to find hidden gems, and being able to really call “the most amazing city on earth” home – even if it’s for a short time. The thoughtful message came at exactly the right time. It helped me put words to exactly what it was that I was going through last week. I was finding that every single day, I was falling a little more in love with your home. The Jubilee Line has a special place in my heart that will forever and always be the line that we shared. Or the fact that I have my very own favourite route that I take when in Central London. It takes me through Piccadilly Circus, Leicester and Trafalgar Square following the route along the Thames to Westminster Abbey and Houses of Parliament, turning around and waving to Big Ben before carrying on through the picturesque St. James Park making my way to Buckingham Palace. That very walk left me in awe one night last week, as I walked passed some buildings that were grandiosely posing for me as I stepped back to grab a snap. It took my breath away.
As I say in most of my letters to you: Thank you. Thank you for being born here, thank you for falling in love with Papa, and thank you for having the courage to leave a place that you loved behind. It makes me happy to get to understand now why you never lost your love for England, your British ways, or your ever so endearing accent.
With a granddaughter’s love & admiration,
Carly
xoxox

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