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Letters to Frank…

January 18, 2011

I have a collection of letters that belonged to my Dad.  They were written to him by his grandmother and his great grandmother, mostly in the early 1950s.  It turns out my dad was curious about his family history when he was about 15 years old.

This is one of the letters.


51 Ward St


Mrs Martin just gave me these African & French stamps

Thank you once again Frank for your letter, also the privilege of reading your far-away pen-friends letters.  You have quite a list now. how do you cope? What did you mean in Gran’s letter when you said we might see you with a team of boys & girls early in december? Are you a sports team coming up? be nice to see you blow in one day. I hardly think it can be sports, you do not play sport, do you? Anyway, we hope you do blow in.  Be very lovely for you all if you can get in at Esperance – you all need that sort of a break.  I do hope it can be managed – can’t help thinking though, your enquiries were a bit late – all families want to be away at the same time.  You are not getting your swimming pool for this summer, are you? bad show, it would have been lovely.  Got no stamps to enclose in this – will save our ordinary ones up till they grow a bit. Well, must away now. think  I will mow the lawn it looks pretty ragged, wil just about have it done by tea-time.  Hope you are all well & that we might see you soon. our love dear, Aunty.

My Dad collected stamps when he was a boy.  He divided his large collection between the three of his children.  I still have some of them.  Some of them were stolen when I was younger.

Like me, my Dad ‘did not play sports’.  My brother was the sports person in my family, and some of my dad’s sisters played alot of sport and were very good at it.  Dad told me once he didn’t wear shorts, because he had ‘knobbly knees’.  I looked at my knees and decided that I too had ‘knobbly knees’, and quite liked them.

The swimming pool Aunty refers to in her letter was completed in 1953, so this letter pre-dates that – probably 1952.  A history of Norseman I just found informs me that the road to Coolgardie was bitumised in 1956.  The swimming pool was central to the summer holidays I spent in Norseman as a child.  I can’t imagine what Norseman would have been like in summer without it.

I’m fairly sure that Aunty, my great-grandmother, would have been mowing the lawns with one of those push along manual lawn mowers.  She would have been 66 years old in 1952.  I remember a story I was told when I was younger (or perhaps overheard).  Aunty’s husband – my great-grandfather, Angus McLeod and George Jones, his father in law – my great-great grandfather were both horse trainers.  They had just installed running water to the stables and someone asked them why they did not install running water to the house.  They said it would ‘make the women lazy’.  As indignant as my inner feminist feels about that, I can’t help smiling at the irony and humour in that response.  From my recollections as a child, and from off the cuff comments like ‘I think I will mow the lawn’ from a 66 year old grandmother, I’m quite sure the women were anything but lazy.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. comicstar permalink*
    January 18, 2011 8:46 am


  2. comicstar permalink*
    January 18, 2011 8:47 am

    I love that Mrs Martin had reason to receive French and African stamps. This Internet-reliant culture has a lot to answer for.

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