January 4, 2016 by auntkatefirmin
[rec’d 7/24/48 ans 8/30/48]
Four Marks, Alton, Hants
My dear Katie,
I must write you a long letter, I have so much I must tell you & also to thank you so gratefully for the food parcel. I am going carefully with it for I believe we shall come off badly this winter, just lately, in 2 weeks we only had 1/2 lb Corned Beef not in a tin, they gave us no chance for extra fresh meat as the strike was over. Am going to send you a few Country Life books Fan is going to send you (I think) a heavy old fashioned book of parts of England not at all what they are today. She would pay your fare over & love you to come & live with her Katie, but tho she is a dear really she is very eccentric to live with, I could not live for good with her, but let me whisper it, in the winter – a lovely bungalow oh so cold (which she does not feel) not a cosy chair & she will do her own washing at home & dries sheets round the only fire in the place & she won’t spend a penny on a newspaper (which newspapers are my very life) all she knows from the wireless only. She has a nice bathroom I have not got one but I do have stoves & keep the place warm & not have to wear my coat all day indoors. I have to be careful, but on I do like a comfortable chair & a few comforts She is going to ask you to come over here to live. I wish you could but I am certain you would be very bored after a time If only you could come on a visit again. We didn’t like the Felicia family they are far too fly for us, & they robbed Fan terribly after the accident I can’t tell you all in a letter my dear only treat this with confidence won’t you. Could I send you any wool?!!
Katie, all love dear Amy xxx
[written at the top margin on the front page:] These stamps are off now & will be valuable one day they are for the nephew
A few thoughts related to this letter:
-As it turned out the winter of 1948-49 was unusually mild in England and Wales.
-I should do a listing of events in Britain in 1948: I haven’t found the strike that Amy is referring to, but there were plenty of events in the newspaper to keep her reading, including the London 1948 Olympics.
-In 1948 home appliances, including washing machines, were very unusual. I imagine Amy washed her delicate small items such as underthings at home and perhaps had a small drying rack she could place near a stove, but the thought of tackling washing the sheets at home in a tub by myself and trying to get them dry in a damp cold house makes me shiver to think of it. Even in the 1960’s Aunt Kate in California did not have a washing machine; she sent out her washing to a laundry service.
-Amy doesn’t say when her bungalow was built, but it seems typical for the era in having an outdoor lavatory. She doesn’t mention the arrangement of the rooms or where the stoves were placed; perhaps there will be more clues. I remember a rental cabin at the beach when I was a child where we had to heat water on the stove to take a bath – at least there we had an inside toilet!
-Felicia was the adopted daughter of Amy & Fan’s aunt Harriet. Felicia lived in the London suburb of Croydon, had been an actress, and clearly lived a different life than the other cousins. That branch of the family had been mostly out of contact until cousin Fan tracked down Harriet after cousin Connie died without a will. If I understand correctly, there was a serious automobile accident in which Felicia and Fan were involved, but the details are lost in time. This was before the National Health Service, so perhaps Fan incurred expenses that Amy believed Felicia should have covered.
-Kate’s nephew by marriage was a stamp collector.