I was lucky to have two sets of Grandparents growing up, Nana Lil and Grandad Ted, (my Dad’s parents) they lived with us, so I got to spend as much time as I possibly could with them. And then I had Nana Cora and Grandad Stan (my Mum’s parents). I didn’t see them as often and my Grandad Stan passed away when I was about 9 years old, so I didn’t really know him. I remember him being quite quiet compared to my Grandad Ted and maybe a little bit serious. He always smelled nice though, pipe tobacco mostly and he wore snuggly cardigans.
I know a lot about my Nana Lil and Grandad Ted, at least about the type of people they were. I saw them every day, I knew how they treat each other, what they liked, didn’t like etc… But my Nana Cora and Grandad Stan were sort of strangers to me, I never got the chance to see them as people, really. So when my Mum gave me a stack of letters written by Grandad Stan to my Nana Cora it was lovely to see a whole other side to him, opposed to him just being my Grandad.
I adore the way he spoke to her, it’s so sweet and romantic. You can see how much he truly loved, cared for and missed my Nana ❤
Here’s a collection of some war-time memorabilia. A few items are a little faded, but I’ll add in info for each picture where I can. I haven’t typed the letters up because some of it is difficult to decipher! His hand writing was rather scrawly..!
Here’s a 3 page letter, dated 13/08/1940 He talks about a gift he has received from her, something to do with honey, I think. And then goes on to talk about how strong they must both be as there are ‘tough’ times ahead. It’s very strange reading these, as I cannot imagine how either of them felt. Or how afraid they both must have been.
I think the first one here is dated 27/07/1940 I can’t really tell. The second one is earlier, dated 08/10/1939 and I think it says he’s sent her a ring…
The letter here is dated, 16/11/1939 and is to my Grandparents from someone, thanking them for cake!
The postcard doesn’t have a date but my Grandad does, helpfully, state that he will call my Nana on the 2nd of August 1938!
The top right image is of a 21st birthday card, to my Grandad!
And the ‘In Loving Memory’ was for Violet Gertrude Orriss, who I believe was my Great Grandma. She died on the 4th of May, 1915, aged just 26.
A collection of wedding invitations from 1932, 1938 and 1956.
I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been to receive something like this. The first piece of correspondence is addressed to my Nana, basically informing her that my Grandad was missing. But also reassuring her that this didn’t necessarily mean he had been killed, but that he might be a prisoner of war (which he was!) or that he may have been temporarily separated from his regiment. It goes on to request that if she is to receive any contact from him, that she notify them immediately.
The second piece of correspondence is them thanking my Nana for informing them that she had received word from my Grandad!
I really enjoyed looking through all of these little pieces of someone else’s life. And I believe it to be important to document and save these little snippets. The pieces of paper won’t last forever, the ink has already started to fade, so at least now they’ll be preserved by the internet!
I also like how I can now feel a little bit closer to the grandparents I never really knew.
Hold fast to whatever fragments of love are left, for sometimes a mosaic is more beautiful than an unbroken pattern.Dawn Powell.