The first letter I ever received from my grandparents came when I was five years old. It came two weeks before Christmas, from a very long way away. Dog-eared by the journey, it was written in my cousin’s neat schoolboy script, half the page taken up by kisses and with a 20,000 lira note taped securely to the bottom. I kept the letter in my doll’s house and would insist on my mum reading it to me as often as she had the patience to.
They’d write every three months or so, sometimes sending photographs of their dogs. The letters are crammed full of chatter, family news, stories about life on the farm, weather reports and funny little Neapolitan proverbs.
Nonna’s no longer here but her voice is as loud and playful in these letters as it ever was in real life.
So I was very chuffed to read this letter from LeRoy Pollock to his 16 year old son Jackson, posted by a friend on Facebook (thanks Liam). Let me count the ways I love this. The gentle affection and formal, old-fashioned lilt. The beautiful mantra on life (“moral, don’t worry”). The way he says “Bully”.
It makes me smile and then I remember what it is to get a letter from far away.