Friday, February 1, 2008


My mum, Marion Clark Currie used to write her sister-in-law, my Aunt Blossom, when they were both mothers of young children. Every few weeks a letter would come through the mail and mum would be engrossed for long minutes, then peels of laughter and tears would come to her eyes. We would gather around to find out what was so funny.

Aunt Blossom lived on the Magdalen Islands, in mum’s home town, village really, of Old Harry. All her family, which was extensive with her being the youngest of thirteen children, lived in the area or passed through the area, while on vacation.

We, on the other hand, lived in Oromocto, New Brunswick or Geary which is 5 miles outside Oromocto. My dad was in the Canadian Armed Forces and stationed at Camp Gagetown. Yes, I know, and I’m proud to have grown up an army brat. But that is another story.

Getting back to the letter writing. This was something that became a ritual between the two good friends. Every two or three weeks this letter would arrive and laughter would sound out. It must have gone on a few years or more. Then the letters stopped arriving. After a few more weeks, Mum must have got frustrated by not having news of home, because she went to the shopping mall, if you could call it that - the Steinburg’s shopping center and bought a card. I remember the card well, for good reason even though I was but a child at the time. It fit in a number 10-sized business envelopment and was made from white card stock. The front had a black silhouette of a fashionable lady with a knee length dress on and high heels and her hair piled up on her head. Nothing else was on the outside of the card. On the inside, only the bold, black, printed words stood out on the right-hand page, “IF YOU CAN’T WRITE ME - DRAW ME!!!!”

She neatly put the card in its envelope, licked it and stamped and sent it to my aunt Blossom, without a word from her except the address on the envelope. A couple of weeks later the letters resumed and there was no longer any difficulties with communication.

Years went by. We had moved several times and each time the letters from home would catch up. Then Dad was stationed in Germany and we all went to spend four of the best teen years, a kid could ever have. Mum became very busy with all the moving, packing, unpacking (we lived in several different houses during those first few months), traveling and visiting all the surrounding countries - twice each. I guess she was too busy to think about family back home.

We were getting ready to take a trip to Holland, when through the mail came a letter clearly addressed to Mum with a return address Old Harry, Magdalen Islands. Mum was busy and put the letter in her purse, planning on reading all the news from home while dad drove the car. She opened up the letter while we were driving along the autobaum and stared at it for the longest while, with the rest of us wanting to know the news. Then she laughed and laughed and laughed. She couldn’t tell us what she was laughing at. My sister grabbed the letter/card and looked at it - a black silhouette fashionable lady on the outside cover. She opened the card and the only words on the inside were, “IF YOU CAN’T WRITE ME - DRAW ME!!!!” The card was in immaculate condition.

Mum had dad stop at the first Post Office in Holland and she sent the card back with only a postal stamp on the inside of the card from Holland and a short letter on a separate piece of paper from the hotel stationary where we stayed. From then on, this card traveled back and forth across the Atlantic ocean, every couple of weeks, for the next four years. Every time it was returned to Canada, it had a different stamp in it. It didn’t stop there though. When we finally moved back to Canada in ‘69, to Calgary, the card continued to arrive on schedule like clockwork and each time it was returned, it had a different stamp from the provinces or states that mum traveled to.

I don’t know when then the card stopped its voyage. Perhaps it was the day mum flew it back home herself and hand delivered it to Aunt Blossom, sometime in the seventies. I saw the card only once since then and I know it was at my aunt’s house long after cancer had taken both her and mum. My cousin took it out of a trunk. It was still in an ancient yellowed no. 10 sized business envelope, with faded addresses on the outside and no stamp. The card was worn and torn and had many finger print smudges, probably from my Aunt or Mum cooking up storms in the kitchen or digging up gardens.

Perhaps the card is still in that trunk. I don’t know. But I couldn’t get it out of my mind this evening and I had to write about it. I know that my son knows nothing of the card and I’m pretty certain my nieces don’t know about it either. This is a story that will let them know just a little more about their grandmother and grandaunt, because they will never know otherwise, any more than I know about my grandparents or great-grandparents.


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1 comment:

jen said...

I loved this story, it brought tears to my eyes..thanks for sharing with us.