YP Letters: A lifetime of letter-writing and mingled souls

From: Margaret Whitaker, Harswell.

Reader Margaret Whitaker extols the virtues of letter writing.

LAST February, a handwritten envelope landed on my carpet stamped officially by the Post Office “more than kisses, letters mingle souls”.

This 18th century quote is still true. In almost 90 years’ life I have given and received many letters (most now in a blanket box) from friendships formed long ago and continued to life’s end.

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Their children then communicate with me, giving them some comfort and consoling me for the loss of a friend.

In wartime, I wrote to school chums lost through evacuation and replaced by new friends.

My school adopted a warship so we wrote to the crew and knitted them hats and gloves.

We were each asked to choose a French penfriend in 1945 when the war was nearly over. I began writing to Simone when she lived in Algiers and they kept hens and rabbits on the verandah of their flat for food, she in her beautiful English and I in my faltering French.

Books being the only gifts permitted by post at that time, we sent hollowed-out books to these French girls, filled with coffee. Sim and I never met but wrote to each other for our whole lives, and a month ago I got a letter from her son saying she was widowed and giving me the address of her care home, so I wrote my last letter there.