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 Post subject: A letter from the past!
PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:13 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 6:46 pm
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Location: Masterton New Zealand
A Letter from the Past.

After the second World War, my father, a Royal Navy officer, was eager to travel and put in for any overseas postings going. Although no philatelist, he collected every stamp that passed him by on his travels around the world and sorted them away for his little boy. Common stamps, rare stamps and first day covers were stored away in quantity. Any notable event , every inaugural flight, every Royal visit, every Centennial event where a First Day cover was available, were all duly noted by my father and carefully addressed and posted for his little boy back home.
My mother and I usually followed him to his new posting, always by ship and on one occasion a returning lend lease aircraft carrier called HMS Ranee, returning to the USA via Bermuda and a hurricane! Dad would have arranged housing for us by the time we arrived and usually established a group of new friends for both my mother and I. As a result of our time in Bermuda my parents accumulated a strong list of Americans friends who had holidayed on the island , so when his posting finished a visit to New York and Pennsylvania was certainty , as our return passage to Britain was booked from New York on RMS Queen Mary.

In 2010 , during a quiet period when I had nothing to do and the weather invited an indoor pursuit, I unpacked the large cardboard box which held my stamp collection, some in albums, some in books and some in old cigarette tins and shoe boxes. This was about a five yearly activity when I would count them and try to get some order into them by entering them into a computer database, maybe sort a few more, then eventually pack them back in their cardboard box for the next five years and get on with doing something useful.
This time, I opened a file full of manilla folders of first day covers. Each manilla folder enclosed about five envelopes hinged at the top so that those underneath could be examined. As I flicked through them the light behind my desk affected a kind of ‘x-ray’ of the envelope and I noticed something inside that I had not noticed in the previous 5 yearly sorts. I extracted the paper insert to find it was a letter from my father. It was dated the 15th of February 1953, and written in a quiet evening on board HMNZS Tui.

“Dear Mike,
I don’t know when you will get this, or even if you will get it at all.
Tui is anchored in Port Underwood in the Marlborough Sounds and all hands are stood down except the watch so I thought I would write you a letter while you are tucked up in bed in Auckland.
I hope you have enjoyed your travels with your mother and I. The time in Bermuda where we swam together in the clear waters watching sergeant-major fish swim about and crabs crawling along the sea floor 30 feet below us. We saw and felt the hurricane in 1947 and watched our little boat get turned into kindling wood from the veranda of “Cartref”, our home. Then the year on Bluck’s Island with only two houses , one of which was inhabited by Major and Mrs Kitchener, nephew of Lord Kitchener of Khartoom.
I was so pleased when the grumpy little boy cheered up in New York when we took him to Coney Island and laughed as he slid on a mat down the spiral slide . When we ate a ‘Skyscraper’ soda amongst the friendly New Yorkers who picked our accents and made us one of them and the visit to US Steel’s steel mill in Pittsburg with a friend who was a Vice President of the company.
How your mother worried, as mothers do, when you went to boarding school in Colchester after we returned to England, but how you fitted in played football and cricket and told us stories of Captain Taylor the 70 year old gym teacher who was a whizz on the parallel bars.
I hope the experiences that we had together help you when you grow up and deal with the world as an adult, be confident but kind to others especially the weak. Help those who need it in any way you can .
Your mother and I have enjoyed your company as a child and look forward to seeing you develop as a young man and hopefully achieve your dreams in adulthood.

Lots of love
Dad

As I read this letter from the past my eyes welled up as I thought of my beloved dad who sadly died 40 years ago. It was almost as if he knew I wouldn’t get the letter until he had gone. For 17 years he knew it had been written but I did not, until that fateful day of the 5 year stamp sort.

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 Post subject: Re: A letter from the past!
PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 2:22 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:49 am
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Love remains the truest binding in all the worlds. Had a little crystal cry on account of that beauty...and here we are, passing it backwards and forwards into the Great Unknown.

Thanks for sharing that beauty with us. Your dad was a wonder. Apples and trees.


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 Post subject: Re: A letter from the past!
PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:27 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 11:56 pm
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Location: Solihull, UK
Thanks for sharing that letter, Michael. :)

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Blessed are the crack'd - for it is they who will let in the light.


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 Post subject: Re: A letter from the past!
PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 6:40 am
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Location: Canada
What a life you've had, Michael, a great adventure.

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 Post subject: Re: A letter from the past!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 3:21 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 11:42 pm
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Location: Devon, England
what a lovely and moving post, thanks for sharing Michael. Gee, you and your dad & family had some great adventures!


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