Eight sides of A4 mark my first letter to Posie in about 20 years…
Posie Danby was 12 years old when one Christmas after the dinner and the gifts were out of the way. Her grandmother who had bought some cheap Christmas crackers from Woolworths was about to discard the cardboard box in the fire when she noticed the writing on the inside of the box….
The summer before had seen me helping out my mum, making crackers from home-transferring crackers from one box to another in a bid to earn some extra pocket money. In the repetitive boredom of the task I found myself writing my name and address in the bottom of a couple of boxes and therein that moment of happenstance a friendship had been conceived although I would not know it until the following January when a letter addressed to me with a Canadian postmark landed on my doorstep.
We wrote, loyaly as good pen friends do. Having much in common – younger brothers, music, interest in boys. Years later I would spend the summer with her family having saved and worked hard to take my first flight at 17 on my own. Posie visited here a couple of times, her last visit just a couple of years ago when she came with her eldest son,MacDuff then 5 and she had been here in 2003 for my eldest sons christening as she is his Godmother.
Oskar was 18 months when we visited Montreal, where Posie (actually christened Nicola but the nick name had stuck when her Grandma had called her that).
We spent 3 weeks in Montreal, I spent my days negotiating the subway with a push chair and getting to see the sights of the city. Picking up a bit of French on the way.
Posie who worked at the MgGill university as a translator, was at work some of the time during my stay but spending time there the distance in miles and time not seeing or hearing from each other for long spans were soon forgotten up as if the time that had passed between visits and letters were just days.
The letters we passed back and forth as teenagers had made way for email, but as life always does take hold our correspondence dropped off. We were busy making careers, making a life and making babies. And now it’s the odd post and comment on Facebook to check in and a long distance phone call once in a while.
So last night I did something I hadn’t done for a long time. I wrote a letter to Posie. I will stamp it and send it the old fashioned way. By the time she reads it, the thoughts and feelings of the moment when I wrote will have long passed. A week or two no doubt. Will they still be relevant? Will they still feel true? They will remain trapped in that time forever.
I wrote to her as I did when I was 12, on scraps of paper in bold purple felt tip.
Our letters were always colourful, different shades of paper, a change of ink- often many times on the same sheet. I stuck with the purple pen for the time. My words flowed. My news of all that has happened and of how I feel. And questions of what was going on with her and the family, that which wasn’t posted on her timeline. I hope she will send me a reply. The old fashioned way and I look forward to finding an envelope in her handwriting in the near future.