In the Times of Wednesday this week I read a short article abut love letters and how sometimes their story can change lives. A young woman in Canada found a cache of love letters written by her grandmother from post-war London to her newly-wed husband, a Canadian soldier, who had been repatriated to Canada ahead of his wife. Their granddaughter was inspired to come to London and recreate the life her grandmother was leading in the six months before she was able to rejoin her husband. Each week she opens more letters and tries to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps and has so far visited her birthplace, gone to a film at the Marble Arch cinema and recreated a day out in Oxford. At the end of her stay she wants to travel back to Canada onboard the Queen Mary II, just as her grandmother did in 1946, alongside other war wives, on the first RMS Queen Mary, even sailing on the same date, July 19.
Carly Butler, the granddaughter of this story has, I feel, added a new dimension to the telling of family history, and a fascinating and endearing one at that. It is romantic in itself, I think, to take the letters and change her own life, even for six months and is a wonderful and unique way of honouring her grandparents’ earlier love story – a story that became the story of their family.