Trea­sured al­bum

The Arran Banner - - Letters -

Sir, On Christ­mas Day 1914, my mother, who was 16, re­ceived a gift from her fa­ther – an au­to­graph al­bum, cov­ered in dark green, soft leather with gilt-edged pages. As she gazed at the bare pages think­ing of all the friends who would cover them with po­ems, jokes and sig­na­tures, she never dreamt that her fam­ily would look at her al­bum 100 years later.

Her fa­ther was a cap­tain in the mer­chant navy – a dan­ger­ous oc­cu­pa­tion in that ter­ri­ble war, and her mother, my granny, kept an open house for sol­diers of the Northum­ber­land Fusiliers sta­tioned in nearby bar­racks. There they could re­lax with a cup of tea and a chat by the cosy fire and, if I am not wrong, a bi­ble read­ing and a prayer be­fore go­ing back to their bare quar­ters – I knew my granny!

Many of th­ese young men, boys re­ally, left en­tries in mum’s al­bum –verses and paint­ings (not just draw­ings) show­ing such great skill and talent, I still mar­vel at their pic­tures.

And, here’s the re­ally sad thought, none of those fine young men re­turned home from the war. What a waste of lives and talents – but they left a lit­tle part of them­selves in this al­bum. Is it any won­der we trea­sure it still, 100 years later.

Yours, Joan Jeav­ons c/o Ruth Thomp­son Lam­lash

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