NOTICES AND EVENTS          - 6/ 9/ 2010      <--Prev : Next-->


They are neatly stacked together chronologically in a Gold Cross Shoe Box, carefully placed inside carved wooden kist, tied in red velvet ribbon.
Neat cursive script addressed to Miss M. Morton, Rhodes House, Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia on the front of the envelope and on the back - from 72467 S/L M.R.Hill R.A. F. In Transit.
The first one is dated 29 February 1944 and the last one 27 February 1945. Then towards the back of the box there are several written to Squadron leader M. R. Hill 72467 with the address blocked out by an official sticker.

The sticker is penned in red and marked "Returned to sender on Air Ministry instructions from RAF Station Peterhead. "
Finally at the back of the Gold Cross shoe box is the telegram ...
One feels almost uncomfortable reading the tender utterances in these treasured epistles. Eager and excited talk of the wedding plans, whispers of love, but reducing to gestures of desperation and anguish when the letters were being returned. A lifetime of love and heartbreak in a shoe box, tied in a red ribbon.

There are photos too, not many in those halcyon World War II days, those charming sepia photos of men and women in stiff khaki serge with air force ribbons and medals festooning the breast. These simple words of utmost adoration, in a world torn apart by war, mean so much more than the trite phrases of today, a lonely vigil by just one of hundreds of thousands of men and women Missing In Action probably over the North Sea.

But this are so much more special in that the Miss M. Morton was my own precious Mum The roses did not last however, the handsome Squadron Leader had placed a standing order for a dozen red roses to be delivered to Rhodes House every Monday for the beautiful titan haired Miss Morton. They still came for many sad weeks after that terrible telegram...

Next to the Gold Cross shoe box is my own much smaller bundle of love letters from HeeHoo, also written in a war situation, but some forty years later. Some from J.O.C. Grapple, some from J.O.C. Hurricane. Possibly not so poignant and romantic, as call ups were six weeks in six weeks out in those days, thankfully without a tragic ending, but infinitely precious just the same.
As I tie the bundles reverently, I muse over this ancient and almost forgotten art of beautifully scripted hand-written letter writing.

Today one seldom puts pen to paper. It is so much easier to type, using e mails, Skype, Facebook and Twitter. Will ball point and fountain pens become an anachronism just like the feathered quill ? Sadly my own daughters will probably never have the secret pleasure of re-reading their own love letters, how does one re- read e-mails and text messages kept from thirty years ago ?
Modern love letters will undoubtedly disappear into starry eyed cyberspace never to be secretly read and re-read in a cocoon of rosy warmth, ever again.