I’m currently writing section 3 of my book, which is primarily based on March of 2013.  It was a time when my mom was visiting England and I was feeling very reflective on the passing of time and the changing dynamics between mothers & daughters.  My grama’s relationship with her mother, my mothers relationship with my grama, my relationship with my mom, and hopefully some day, my relationship with a daughter of my own.

I came across this video again, which brings me to tears every time.  And brings me back to what it all boils down to: Love.  And that it liberates.

Beautiful said, Maya Angelou.

 

 

That’s right folks, our wedding video has had over 80,000 views in only a few days.  It’s a pretty surreal feeling even 7 months later.  It sure has been an exciting week reliving the magic of our surprise wedding day all over again – not to mention getting my butt into gear…back into the blogosphere.  Thanks again to Steve Shilson of Straylight Films for capturing our day so beautifully.  More to come soon…stay tuned.

May 31st, 1946

My Darling,
Thanks darling for the life-saver (letter) I got from you this afternoon. I hope your head-aches have gone by now and that you are quite okay. I am fine in health but terribly, terribly lonely for you! To make me feel worse they even played our song to-night, as if I had to be reminded how much I miss you. Things back here were very much the same to-day. I went into the shop again this morning to give them a hand and I got two lovely presents, one was a beautiful set of fruit knives in a lovely case from Mr & Mrs Samuel’s, more knives darling, we are getting quite the collection of them aren’t we? The other present was a very nice dressing table set a customer gave me, I thought it was very sweet of her as she had made it all herself and she is about 70 years old. Now we have a home of our own darling, I am thrilled with everything I get and I try to picture it in our home, please God soon. If we get any more presents I shall soon have to get myself another trunk. I wonder if Eileen will be going on this next trip of the Queen Mary, I reckon it should be leaving again about Wednesday, I sure hope I will be going on her next trip. The Royal Canadian Navy’s show “Meet the Navy” has been made into a picture and it’s on at the Empire, I am going to try and see it, I don’t have to tell you that I sure wish you were here to take me to see it. Janey said as you have now got half a house can she come along now with Dixie or will you still have to build her a log cabin. Everybody here in London seems to be preparing for the Victory Day next Saturday (except me) they have put flags up in Trafalgar Square and they have also put a lot of stands up on Oxford St. I think I shall stay in all day on that day, crowds are dangerous and I don’t want anything to happen to us now. Well, husband of mine, I guess that’s all the news for now, it’s not what I want to write and I know not what you would like to read, but soon, please God darling it will come, I guess we just have to wait a little longer. God Bless You dearest, Good-night and have pleasant dreams. 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 31st, 2013

Dear Grama,
What you’ve said about wanting to stay away from crowds has got me thinking. The whole idea of fear has been on my mind a lot lately and I can’t help but think that this comment is out of character for you. In one hand I realize the fear you must have felt is completely unfathomable for someone of my generation. From living through the years of the war and the constant air raids, to falling in love with a soldier who was off at war…that, I cannot even begin to imagine. From what I remember of you though, from what mom tells me, and from what Papa shares, you embraced fear. You loved the adventure of it all. You even told us on many occasions, that you enjoyed the excitement of sleeping in Swiss Cottage tube station during the air raids.
The fear I have been experiencing is not even close in comparison…but it’s fear all the same. It’s fear of being here alone, fear of putting my words & dreams out there for all to see, and fear of writing a book.
Today I experienced facing a fear on an extreme level. I was invited by a dear friend to experience what feels like a hidden secret of London…the women’s pond at Hampstead Heath. After walking through the vast beauty of the park itself, the winding trails brought us to the secluded and sacred pond that women have been swimming in since the 1800’s. After passing the gate that says “No Men Beyond This Point” I knew I was going to experience something unique.
The night before my swim, I had realized that I was feeling disconnected to so many things. I felt disconnected to you, disconnected to what I was over here to do, and disconnected to the present moment. I was letting fear take over and getting caught up in the negative voices in my head. When I woke up, I couldn’t help but think of the song by Mumford & Sons “Awake my Soul.”
I knew I was in for an awakening today, on many levels…so my word for the day was Awaken. Let’s just say…the 12°/53° temperature of the water was QUITE the awakening. As well as being awakened to the notion of embracing fear, just like you always did. I realized on my walk to the park that in my excitement, I forgot about the small fact that I’m not really the best swimmer. It instantly brought a whole new level of fear into the picture. It reminded me of how the fears of not being able to write, were very similar to my fears of not being able to swim. If my life depended on it…of COURSE I would know how to swim. If I looked like a weirdo and was kicking my legs & flailing my arms…I would swim. I would get from A to B. I would somehow, someway, swim. Just like I’ve been doing here…on this blog, in my journal & in my writing. I’m writing. I’m somehow, someway, accomplishing this dream that I had NO idea how to do. Isn’t life in general like this? Marriage. Raising babies. Pursuing careers. Aren’t we all just learning as we go, embracing the fear of the unknown and awakening our souls to LOVE.
A line in “Awake my Soul” that really speaks to me is… “In this body we will live, in this body we will die….where you invest your love, you invest your life.”
Thank you for modeling embracing fear so well, Grama. If you didn’t embrace fear, you wouldn’t have asked Papa to dance the first night you met, you wouldn’t have agreed to marry him, you wouldn’t have come to Canada, and you wouldn’t have been YOU.
With a granddaughter’s love,
Carly
Xoxo

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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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April 12th, 1946

My Own Darling,
Very many thanks for the three lovely letters I got from you today, they were really smashing and I am the luckiest girl in the world to have such a wonderful, marvelous husband. Remind me darling to give you more than one special kiss when I see you, in fact remind me to give you a hundred. I bet by the time I finish you will be begging me to stop. I hope this finds you fit and well darling as it leaves me but terribly, terribly lonely for you. I had a letter from Eileen this morning and she seems to be in a real bad way, her sister who she lives with has to get out of her house by the 22nd of this month. She is going to live with her husband’s people but poor Eileen has no where to go, she was hoping she would be on her way but it doesn’t seem so, you see they are very much behind with women with children and what makes me so mad is things like I read in the paper to-night saying that if so many thousands of G.I. Brides don’t apply immediately they will have to cancel shipping they have arranged for May as there are not enough of them, but maybe it will be better because maybe the Canadian Government will get the ships. We are thinking of asking Eileen if she would like to come here but you know we haven’t got much to offer her. I still say that little prayer for you each night darling, I couldn’t fall asleep without it and I thank God every night that we met darling, but it must have been fate sweetheart because I am sure we were really meant for each other and that I was born for you and for you alone. I sure do remember that evening we bought the Sandwiches and walked home eating them, great big sandwiches, we sure are a couple of crazy kids, but I’d give anything in the world if we could only do the same right now. When I was with Doris and Vera the other night we were having an argument because we all wanted to pay the bill so Doris said “I bet Rene wouldn’t mind being penniless right now if she could be on her way to Canada to-morrow” and I sure wouldn’t. Do you think you could put up with a penniless wife darling? Right now the wireless is playing “I’ll Walk Alone” and I am darling until that wonderful day until you are walking beside me. Well darling, I guess that’s the news for another lonely day without you, it’s exactly three months ago since that Friday you walked in when we looked after Dixie, do you remember? Three months without you that have just dragged along but I am hoping and praying that it won’t be long now when we can look back at these lonely months to-gether. So sweetheart until then please God soon I guess I shall just have to have patience so I will say Good-night my darling. God Bless You and dream pleasant dreams. 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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April 15th, 2013

Dear Grama,
I had big plans of writing a wonderfully uplifting letter to you all about my amazing weekend retracing your steps visiting parks, museums and historical sights. When I went to write it all down today though, I got that far too familiar feeling of loneliness that I couldn’t quite shake. I wrote out a letter, telling you all about my glorious weekend, but it was a surface letter, almost like small talk. I wasn’t being authentic, or real or even honest. I literally crumpled it into a ball and stopped myself just before launching it across the library. I turned the page in my notebook and wanted to burst into tears because of the fact that I, yet again, wanted to scream off the rooftops that I was “THE LONELIEST PERSON IN LONDON!!!” – (a wee bit dramatic, I know). I even took a break from the library, went to the park and passed every free bench to sit in the only one of the bunch with a person sitting on it. I engaged. I conversed. I connected. We all know that works for me.
It was when I got up and made my way back to the library that I realized I was utterly BORED of my loneliness story. I was sick of feeling this way and was NOT going to write a letter about it to you. It’s seems like a waste. After a quick pep-talk with one of my favourite people on the planet, I came to the realization that all that was needed was a shift.
Wanting to stay on the TRUTH train, I realized that along with this loneliness, there are other truths that are WAY more powerful to feel. Like the fact that what I truly miss about Adam are all of the little and simple things that actually are the biggest and best things a gal could ever ask for. His glance. His touch. His laugh. I long for being able to walk hand-in-hand in a park, to sit and have a coffee together and run out of things to say, or silently read books together on the couch in a place we call home.
It’s the point you so often make in so many of your letters. About you showing up a penniless wife and being the happiest girl in the world. About you wanting to get in “a row” with the war brides who say they’re not in a hurry to get to their husbands, as long as the money keeps coming.
In this very moment if someone offered me a big house, a nice car, a million dollars or the winning lottery numbers, I would say an easy: nope, no thank you, not interested. The only things I want are truly the simplest things you can think of. Togetherness, an embrace from the man I adore, and a commitment to live this kind of gratitude for one another for the rest of our lives.
Thank you for teaching me quite possibly the biggest lesson I’ve learned yet. That THIS is what life is all about. It makes the loneliness worth it.
With a granddaughter’s love & admiration,
Carly
Xoxox

Ps…I just heard news about the Boston Marathon tragedy. Yet another perspective shift that reiterates what is truly important in life. Hug those you love. Xoxo

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