Hello Alice

Saturday February 22,  1941

A letter from away…

” The night is one of those peculiar to late fall rather than approaching spring.  A ceiling of clouds that appear to be heavily laden with snow, and beneath a margin of strange brilliance that seems always just at the horizon. The air is cold damp and refreshing, bringing with it that urge of the unknown which we ever failingly endeavour to solve, a suggestion that life is still worth living, “though why” we can’t exactly say, nor will we ever be able to do so.
Still the call is there beckoning ever onward to, apparently, the horizon, since there seems no other destination…”    Joe

An excerpt from a letter in our family archives, written by my grandfather, who never came back from the war.

Letter © J.McRae
Image © Karen McRae

72 thoughts on “Hello Alice

  1. What an interesting extract! After a matter-of-fact opening, the second paragraph becomes surprisingly poetic in observation, in a search for understanding, and in expression – and your photo reflects the tone of the piece admirably. It is a very moving passage, especially for those of us old enough to remember the war years.

  2. This made me rather sad in a lot of ways. So beautiful Karen, thank you for lifting me up albeit in a strange way. Beautiful post.

  3. This is so beautiful, Karen. Thank you for sharing this amazingly poetic family treasure. A gift on Valentine’s Day!

  4. Wonderful post, Karen. Makes me want to read more of their correspondence. Beautifully written and the perfect photo to accompany the text. Happy Valentine’s Day 🙂

  5. Wow! Beautiful timeless words from the past and a beautiful timeless photo from the present. Powerful stuff!
    Regards, Steve

  6. “The importance to do something of moment…” – That part of the last line has me hanging on to read more, though perhaps better left unsaid. Wow – what a letter. So beautifully written, so honest, so vulnerable. Thanks for sharing your grandfather’s love. Lovely photo to accompany – the letter wouldn’t have been the same without it.

      1. Something I heard recently also resonates…”the greatest casualty is being forgotten”. We need to be reminded of the sacrifices that have been made so that we can live the lives we do.

  7. Beautiful post, Karen! I just love letters and photographs from the past! They bring history to life – even more so when it is personal! You are already aware that I was Headmaster (Principal) of a school here in the UK. One day a couple of years ago, a lady came into school and offered us a really thick diary, which had been kept by her mother during World War I. She valued it greatly, and wanted to make sure it would be used and looked after, because it was a record of her mother’s courtship during the war while her fiance was away on active service. It was filled with a wonderful record of her everyday life and her love for her fiance, and was absolutely stuffed full of love letters, cards, theatre and travel tickets etc. etc. It was wonderful to read and such a valuable historical resource of one woman’s actual experiences! I loved your post, Karen, and the photograph is a cracker! Thank you for sharing a rather sad but inspiring personal part of your own family history!



  8. What a touching post. And an amazing letter from your grandfather. He writes so beautifully – which is only so more touching knowing about his unknown fate. Your photograph is beautiful in itself but adds so much depth and emotions to your grandfather’s letter. Such a strong combination. Very beautiful, yet full of sorrow and yearning.

  9. How sad to lose a man with such a soul and such a way with words. I’m so sorry the War took him from your family, from this world. But he runs through you, Karen. It’s ever apparent. Wonderful post!

  10. This is such a wonderful post, Karen. Old letters were so eloquently written. Writing was an art form, sadly being replaced by IM. On the bright side we don’t have to wait a month or more between communications.

    Your photo is stunning.

  11. You are very fortunate that yours is a family that values such personal treasures from the past as this letter. Surely the more we know about our ancestors, their lives, and their thoughts, the more they will live on, in and through us. And your photograph is a very worthy accompaniment. Really, a wonderful post. Thank you.

  12. wow – poetry is infused in your family’s bones… amazing to think that you are both intense students (those who study) and “amateurs” (those who love) of your natural surroundings…. lovely!

  13. Wonderful post. The letter is very moving and written so well. My grandfather also served in the war. I’ve posted an excerpt from his Flying Log Book showing photos of his aircrew.

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