Letters To My Mother
Julie Kirk over at the amazing blog Notes on Paper is Going Postal for the third year in a row. Going Postal made me think about a time when I was growing up and the only way I could have contact with my mother was through letters and postcards. This is what I remember about that time
It is often said that the past is another country and this is certainly true when I think of the time my mother spent in hospital in the 1960s. Right up until the late 1970s when people suffered with their nerves (a euphemism for stress or a nervous breakdown) they were often not cared for at home but in hospital. Now it’s all about care in the community but back then many people went into hospital for a rest, good food and some tlc.
For one month my sisters, my brother and myself, went into foster homes because our father who had become our main carer was also taken ill and had to be hospitalised himself. During my time in my foster home I missed my mother terribly and was only allowed to write to her once a week. I don’t recall much about the content of the letters only how I finished them; I would always tell her how desperately I missed her. Years later my mother told me how important the letters were to her and how she and her friend would spend all week deciphering what I had written.
Most weekends my foster parents would take my sister and I out with the rest of their family on day trips. We were taken to a number of places but I especially remember Bristol Zoo and Bourton on the Water. I loved Bourton on the Water where they had a model village of the town. On the trip to Bourton on the Water I was allowed to buy a postcard which I was able to send to my mother. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to write it but at least my mother was able to have some correspondence from me. My mother kept the postcard all her life and when she passed away in the late nineties I got the postcard back.
Communication when I was growing up was a lot slower than today, many people didn't have landline phones and mobiles didn't exist. At that time the majority of us communicated with one another by sending letters and postcards and that made communication extremely personal. I don’t recall getting any mail from mother when I was in the foster home; unfortunately she probably didn't have enough money for a stamp. I do like to think that my one letter a week gave her something to look forward to at what must have been a very difficult time.
Although it’s creased, grubby and worn in places here is the postcard I sent to my mother.
Here is the back of the postcard and a picture of my mother at that time. You cannot actually see my mother's face as she is sat with her back to the camera at the end of the carnival float nearest to the nurse.
Until next time