Thursday 3 November 2022

Learning from the letters

Letters from the past

In the process of writing one’s story, much research still needs to be done, the many things you think you remember from things said and related, over time that should be reviewed and confirmed. The confusion of dates and events along with those involved.

I thought I was going type out the sketches of memory percolating in my mind over the last couple of weeks, but at the same time, I had been thinking of reading letters going back 30 years just to fill in some gaps.

Reaching for the trusty shoebox, I read the first lover’s letter from April 1992 and many subsequent letters afterwards with some dates confirmed and what feelings we had for each other then. My parents each with their entreaties about what should be doing in the UK, full of advice on how to approach things and the obligatory badgering about making introductions and getting married.

Letters with a blast

On the event side, it occurred to me that there were things I might not have noticed, marriages, births, and deaths placed in their perspectives of relationships, celebrations and there were quite a few, who was doing what and where, especially how they were getting on, I had not read these letters since when I received and read them the first time.

Other things that could wear you down from all quarters, as questions, requests, demands, and pleadings extending beyond relations to friends and passing acquaintances, many with the view that you are living large abroad with no responsibilities apart from that which regards them. If one were to put a cost to the tranche of requirements, you would be totally wiped out. For those of us with regular engagements, you had to ignore and withhold a response totally.

Yet, there were many more letters to read all of which read out in my head in the hearing of the voices of the authors, that itself brought a kind of mental strain even though none had the contemporaneous urgency that portended the time of writing, I had to give it a break and find another time to read a few more.

Letters written to last

Though, in one of the letters from my mother with some useful historical content that I jotted down from my notes, she also revealed that she once worked at Vono Tipton. Vono was also known in Nigeria for beds, bed frames, bedsteads, bedding, and furniture. What I did not know was that VONO is in fact an acronym for Vaughan Only, No Others. The company was founded in 1896 by Ernest Vaughan and at one time, the largest employer in Tipton. [The annals of Tipton industries]

As for the other pertinent pieces of information I gain, I would suppose those would be woven into the stories to be found in my book.

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