My trea­sured heir­loom

Country Life Every Week - - Future Heirlooms -

Michael Mor­purgo, writer

My wife Clare’s Aunt Joan, who was also her god­mother, passed away a few years ago. She was a good age. She left us a photo in a sil­ver frame of Clare’s fa­ther, the late Sir Allen Lane, founder of Pen­guin Books in 1935. Allen was a much-beloved cousin of Aunt Joan. She had the pho­to­graph

be­side her bed when she died. She adored him. She never mar­ried.

At home, I took the pho­to­graph out of the sil­ver frame to pol­ish it and an­other smaller photo fell out, clearly hid­den be­hind it. It was of two of­fi­cers in British Army uni­forms of the Se­cond World War. There are no names on the back. We have not a clue who they are, only that it seems very likely that one of them was some­one she had loved very much, a re­la­tion­ship she wished to keep pri­vate.

There is a story here we shall never know—and that is as it should be. We now have the two of­fi­cers in an­other frame, in pride of place on the top of the desk be­side Aunt Joan’s pho­to­graph of Clare’s fa­ther.

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