Handwritten letters on crumbling aerogrammes or paper thin airmail paper are precious items storing vignettes of family life that are often forgotten. Combined with phtographs they bring to life the person and paints an unmatched portrait of the writer and the rest of the family members. Often outrageous, frank, funny, my father’s letters are a portrait of the romantic he was. My father’s birthday falls on the13 May, so inevitably anything I write for Mother’s Day has to include my father too.
In a letter to me in the 1980’s when I lived In Kuala Lumpur, my father Bennie had written “I left the house early morning by CTB [bus] from Hikkaduwa like Prince Siddharta. It was a sentimental journey after 40 years. In 1940, I made the same pilgrimage to ask God Kataragama to give me a wife. In 1941, I got one and married in ’44.”
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