Tag Archives: letters

1721. Funny old lady

Rue was known simply as “The funny old lady who lived down the road”. That’s because she lived down the road and was a funny old lady.

No one knew her very well, but she seemed pleasant enough when greeted in passing. She lived down a fairly long driveway. It would have been a good ten minutes’ walk. Rue would wander down it every day at the same time (never on a Sunday) to check the mail box on the side of the road. As far back as anyone could remember (and that would be a good forty years) she had never missed a day.

A good forty years ago she had lost a son in some war or other. Which war it was no one really knew. He hadn’t been in the war for very long when he was killed. He’d never written home. Somehow Rue hoped he had written and the letter was “lost in the mail”. Sometimes a letter can do that. But lost for forty years? So everyday deep down when she opened the mail box to check she always thought of her son.

It was a momentary thing. It was a brief daily ritual. But today was different! There was a letter there! But it wasn’t from her son as such, but almost. It was the ticket to go see his grave.

342. Letters from the war


Sadie McDonald got a letter from her son nearly every week. Sometimes a letter would arrive after a two week gap, but usually it was every week. Sometimes a letter dated earlier would arrive after a letter dated later. The mail was unreliable.

It was 1915. Sadie’s son, Ewen, was at war. Every day, Sadie would check the mail, hoping for a letter. If a week went by, of course she would worry a little. Why no letter? But if Ewen had been injured or killed, then the police would have come to tell her. Wouldn’t they?

They did come to tell her. Early one morning they came; her son was dead.

For the following week, Sadie checked the mail. No letter came. Nor in the second week. Surely a letter would have been on its way to her between the writing of it and his death?

For the next nearly forty years, Sadie checked the mail every day; feeling silly, feeling sad, but half hoping.