Tuesday, September 3, 2019

my mother's lover

Some beauty for you - a fall bouquet picked for the dinner table tonight...
... and Macca, taken by his daughter Mary. He's 78. May we all look so good. He looks a bit like my mother, in fact. Yikes. Let's not go there!

Here is something my mother's lover wrote to her in September 1956. Dad had given Mum an ultimatum - he would not negotiate the future of our family with her lover, once my father's good friend, in the country (we were in England.) And so the man was forced to leave her side, temporarily, they both thought. Incidentally, he was married with two children, as was, of course, my mother. Mum and I were living with her parents in west London, and my dad and brother in north London.

I shall keep in touch with your mother, darling, until I leave; and after that I shall write to you through her. Please read my letters, love, although if you cannot bring yourself to do so, that too I shall understand. Please oh please write to me soon and tell me what is happening to you and the children, and how you are. And if and when you need me, darling, cable or telephone and I shall come—I shall come with all speed and with my heart so full of happiness that I shall burst. For with all this, my Sylvia, and whatever may come, I shall love you more and more each moment. And darling, if things become more desperate that your thoughts turn to suicide, then call me too, that I may die with you. If it should be that we cannot live together, then let us at least die in one another’s arms. This too I ask you to promise.

He had it bad! And he was a good writer, if a bit verbose - there are scores of letters, all as impassioned as this one. Odd, and sometimes shocking, to delve into these more than 60 years later - but what the hell, I'm a writer, that's what I do.

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives; even the air feels different, crisper, more businesslike. My young tenant went off with shining face to his new job this morning, and Ben went off to JK. A bit reluctant, but there were no tears.
The serious one in the middle in the hat.

May your hat and shoes be as splendid.


  1. How strange to have such intimate information about your mother and someone who clearly adored her.
    And the first day of school...My Ottawa grandson began on Friday, in a large t-shirt with the school name. He looked joyous, walking to school with his neighbour and friend, who also began that day. I wish the whole rigamarole didn't have to start so early for them. I wish they had a few more years to dream and paint rocks and figure out the world on their own terms. Maybe I'm alone in this wistful thinking?

  2. Theresa, I wonder how his mother feels about more time for him at home - because I can tell you, my daughter is overjoyed to have both boys in school full days. Mind you, they do sometimes skip to do interesting things with her. I think Ben was happy to go, if a bit overwhelmed, because he wants to be wherever his big brother is. And - yes, these scorching letters from this passionate man who went ON and on and on about how much he adored her - I can see how hard it was for her to decide to say no to him and go back to my dad. I'm very glad she did, tho'. It's a story!

    1. It's a beautiful group of children...

    2. It's the most multicultural school. Eli told his mother last year that there were two Eli's in his class and since they both had dark hair, the teacher had to find a way to tell them apart, so she called them Eli 1 and Eli 2. When Anna actually met Eli 2, he was not just a boy of colour, he was very dark-skinned. And yet, to Eli, there was no way to tell them apart. If only we were all so open-minded! Maybe our grandkids will save the world yet. Bon voyage, Theresa. I'll drink a toast to your voyage tonight.