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[Open] A plain old letter
Junior Member

11 Posts
4 Threads

Pronouns: He/Him
Registered: Feb 2021

A handwritten letter on plain paper, in a plain envelope, was given to a North Shields postmaster and thus entered the vast industrial complex of the Royal Mail for a southern journey to Whitby.  It read as follows:

Dear Billy,

I hope this letter finds you.  I am writing to tell you that our father is very poorly and that the end is near for him.  I feel that the time is now for us to put aside the hurt of the past and be a family again, if not for our sake, then for father's. Things were said many years ago quickly and in anger, but we were young then and the young do not always make good choices.

I do not know what sort of man you have become, Billy.  I know you have married, for your last letter told us so, but as no letter followed, I do not know if ye are blessed with a family.  If that is so, I hope they make you very happy, and would love to know more.
Fer myself, I did not have a family, choosing instead a calling to be a nurse here in North Shields. I am a senior sister at the Preston hospital. Our brother Frank has been married to Eliza for many years and though poorly of late, he is well in spirit, with three beautiful daughters.  I should love to visit Whitby as the seaside can be so refreshing. Perhaps the next bank holiday.

Please reply with your current address so we may write.

Your sister,


121 Posts
2 Threads

Age: 48
Occupation: Railway Fireman
Height: 5'8''
Registered: Feb 2021

How do you write to someone you only knew as a little boy? And then met, but didn’t know – shortly – as a young man? Especially when those memories have been sealed and stowed away, where they wouldn’t have to be looked at?

Jane. The very recollection made him sick. For days he hadn’t known what to do. And there was enough drama to distract him, mercifully. He had considered not replying. He had considered going up to North Shields. He had considered replying but asking her to leave him and his family alone. All of these ideas had made him feel uncomfortable, yet each of them would recur while he lay in bed and couldn’t sleep, while he was at work and the hard labour seemed to do nothing to clear his head, while he was in the pub and didn’t manage to enjoy his drink or follow the conversation. The only option he had crossed out immediately was Jane’s own suggestion. There was no way she could come and visit. Everything would come undone. Insofar as that wasn’t happening yet.

At last, some two weeks later, he penned down a letter (or rather, made several attempts and finally produced a letter) in a messy handwriting littered with spelling errors:

Quote:Deer Jane,

Please no that I do not resent you or Frank or father and carry no bitternes for owt that happened when I returned. I new I had no place their anymore and if you said summut wrong, I do not even remember, and you had every rigth. I was and am sorry for all the pain I have caused.

I think it is better to allow father to die in piece and not bring back bad memories. I am happy to learn that you are a nurse and that Frank has a happy family. I work for the railway now. We have four children two boys, two girls. But it is better if you do not visit us and let the past rest. I am sorry for this and for everything.


He posted the letter and went straight to the pub to drink the stress and shadows away.
Junior Member

11 Posts
4 Threads

Pronouns: He/Him
Registered: Feb 2021

In one of the small, yet immaculate, staff lodging rooms at the Preston hospital, a tired nurse read a badly spelled letter. She paid little attention to laughter just beyond her closed door and focused on the words on the page.

"Oh Billy," Jane spoke aloud to no one shaking her head. She remembered a lad who liked an adventure, but who was easily swayed. That's how he got into trouble back then. Over the years, she and Frank had talked often about young Billy. Should she call him 'Bill' now or perhaps 'William', for he was no longer a child? Things seemed to have worked out for him, what with steady work and four children. Now, he was asking her to stay away. Jane thought those things were nothing to be ashamed of.

"Well Billy," Jane announced to her empty room. Right now 'Billy' fit because he was acting like a child. "Lucky for you, I'm yer older sister, so don't have to obey ye."

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