Thursday, 12 August 2010

Never Mind the Goats

A letter to my grandmother from a fellow writer, found folded between the pages of a short story in a 1974 political magazine:

“Dear Mrs T,
Thankyou for your card and note at Christmas - I was sorry not to have seen you during the year after all; perhaps we’ll be better organised in 1974!
This was what I was writing when I spoke to you, and you very rightly said start now, don’t stop, so I thought you might like to see it. I’ve often thought of you writing with girls dispatched to school and goats milked, and admired it - and admire it even more now! To say nothing of R*’s industry and stickability.
I hope all’s well with all of you. Please remember me very warmly to Mr T,
and with love -

* R is my mother, Mrs T’s daughter, who herself is a published writer.

Girls dispatched to school and goats milked. And then some. An amazing woman. I saw her this week and she was concerned about the woman sitting next to her in the old people’s home, who didn’t know who she was when asked. “Come on now, do your best,” she said. My grandma didn’t know who the woman was. She didn’t know who the four great-grandchildren playing at her feet were either, but she loved having them there.

PS Since writing this I have visited her again. “I know you, don’t I? … Good, because you look nice.” She also asked whether I was a writer, and was very pleased to find that I was.

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