Sunday, August 9, 2009

Letters from my Grandma

My Mum's Mum was a pretty special lady. When I was very tiny (like 2 years old) we moved to Barcaldine. This meant that we were way away from the wider family, and the phone wasn't then what it is now - it was something only really used for emergencies, or for a three minute "are you extending?" quick message. In fact, Mum has since said that there was a while we didn't have the phone on at the house - I guess they must have just relied on their mobiles!

Anyway, Grandma didn't want to lose contact with any of her grandkids, and so in the weekly carbon-copied typed letter to all her children who lived away she started to include a picture letter for the grandkids. Looking at them now, I see evidence of tracing and carbon being used, or she would send a post card or colouring-in page (at one time there were six of us receiving them - how did a minister's wife find time without a little bit of cheating?).

They lasted from whenever she started doing them, up until we moved to Brisbane and were able to be in personal contact again. Sometimes she would include a story (often on the back) so my Mum would write it out on the page beside where she stuck it down.

I'm very glad that my Mum had the forethought to stick them into an exercise book, so that I have almost all of them. I don't think any of my cousins still have theirs, and this becomes a good way to share the riches around. My books became more special in December 1985 when my Grandma died suddenly with bleeding in her brain.

In some ways when I read them it's almost like reading a prehistoric blog.

The chance that they wouldn't be among the things I would grab in the event of house fire?

... Approximately None!

I should perhaps mention that their house had a railway line across the back fence and whenever we visited it was exciting to watch the trains go past (I believe she actually memorised the timetable so that she could get us in the right place at the right time to see them). I'm presuming this is why Grandma would have sent a photo of a sheep train to her horse-mad grandaughter.


Givinya De Elba said...

This is just lovely.

I didn't know (or remember) you'd lived in Brisbane! When, and for how long? What suburb?

Long dark hair, blue eyes said...

what a lovely lady to write to you all like that!

I hope you scan them all in and keep a copy somewhere safe

Hippomanic Jen said...

We lived in BrisVegas from partway through 1980 until 1983, when we moved to Cloncurry.

First we had a temporary rental in the Valley (Fortitude Valley, that is) until we moved into our own house in Yeronga. That made it three schools for my grade one year (Barcaldine, Fortitude Valley and Yeronga).

Then, of course, I lived in Brisbane at a University College for a few years, remember?

Bush Babe said...

What a great momento to have... I remember getting handwritten letter from my grandmother in her wonderful loopy writing (often giving us 'little hints' on improving ourselves!)...

And yes we had party lines too - nothing was secret in those days!! No whinging about lack of mobile phone coverage back then!!!

Do you remember those drum rolls that schools used to copy out pages with? I feel positively ancient...

Anonymous said...

How gorgeous and special! I can sounderstand the sentimentality there.

And - BB - Gestetners - that yummy smelling purple ink :)

Hippomanic Jen said...

Yes, I loved the smell of the handouts at school! Now I feel absolutely ancient!

Hippomanic Jen said...

And BB - don't you love those opportunities to improve ones-self?