1997 Newsletter
I always enjoy reading my son, Robert’s newsletter which he sends out at Christmas, so I’m having a go myself. I didn’t know how to start so Robert said write it as if I were writing a letter to my dear, late husband, Frank, who died on 21 June 1984.


Dear Frank

AT last I will try to get in touch with you. It has been a long lonely year. Thank God for Robert and Bettine.

We managed to go to see Raymond before he died and I keep in touch with Iris on the ‘phone. Can you picture me on the ‘phone?

John, me, Bill, Bettine, Iris, Ray and his dog.

I have to do a lot more for myself now you are not here, but Robert and Bettine take over everything they can for me. They know how it worries me, but I do try, even ‘though I am not always successful. I shall ask you to help me more in the future.

So another year gone and still I carry on. Every day I thank God for our children. I don’t know for how much longer I can bear it. I am now the oldest living member of the family - a big responsibility, listening to their troubles and encouraging them in their achievements.

I don’t know who I will see over Christmas. Robert is so busy. He will spend most of his time in church. His wife, Charmian, is also singing in the choir over Christmas. She is working at BOC Transhield (who deliver to Marks and Spencer) and only has Christmas Day off. You would be proud of them, so would be Granny and Granddad.

Bettine has to take me about and help look after me, so that my Homecare and Meals-on-Wheels ladies can take a break over Christmas. Bettine is a lovely daughter. You will know that our grand-daughter, Rachel, has just got married. You watched it all from heaven.

Rachel and her husband, Philip, are struggling a bit. There is talk of them coming to stay with me over Christmas. They live in Basingstoke.

The sun has come out and Robert is coming to take me out shopping in the wheel chair, so I’ll take a little break now ...
After shopping and getting my pension Robert took me out for a ride to Snelsmore Common. They now have three dogs again and he goes up there most days. Sometimes he pushes me round in the wheelchair, sometimes I stay in the car and get on with my knitting. All year I have been knitting woollen squares which I will make up into dog blankets for Christmas.

Back in January Robert had to have Thomas put to sleep. When he was too ill to walk he came to stay with me whilst they took Buckingham and Henry out. I used to take him for a little walk done the garden tying his lead onto my walking frame.

It got dark very early tonight. I am very lonely now, but Bettine will be calling in on her way home from work, but nothing will make up for your company. I am so lonely, but they are happily married the same as we were.

I shall give the house a good clean over but on Fridays I have Josie, one of my Homecare ladies come to do it for me. She is so jolly and we always have a good chatter.

I can’t look after the garden so well. Do you remember Bill Carter, Bett’s husband? They have a son called Frankie. Well he used to come to do all my odd jobs for me, glad to earn a bit extra money, but he met with a terrible accident on his motor-bike, so I miss you more than ever. It makes life much harder for Robert and Bettine, but they are so good and kind to me ,just like their father. During the summer Graham Foster and his wife, Elizabeth, (from church) worked very hard giving the garden a good tidy-up. Jackie and Terry have also lent a hand.

I shall be very pleased when Christmas is over. We shall go to the cemetery on Christmas Day, it will bring you nearer to us. Robert still sings in the church choir. In fact he spends a lot of time working for the church. You would be proud of them both, and, of course of Bettine’s two children, Rachel and Matthew. To think Rachel was married a few weeks ago - you would have loved it.

Bettine comes to see me on Saturday evenings. She brings her dog and gives her a good grooming. She is an old English sheep dog called Jessica, and she takes over our small living room.

...Well Frank I shall be glad when somebody comes to see me. Friday today. Won’t be until night time. Too wet to do any gardening - roll on the spring. Think I will have a little sleep. I seem to have a bad cold coming on. No peace.

On 15 February I celebrated my 84th birthday. The family gave me a party at Charmian’s and Robert’s house. The picture shows me with Mr and Mrs Eatwell. Mrs Povey and Joan were there too.

Our son celebrated his 50th birthday on 22 October. After a family birthday lunch on 19 October, they took me for a walk by the canal. The picture shows Bettine, Matthew, Robert, Murray (their new dog) and me by Weavers’ Cottages.
ANOTHER day - how can I manage? It is pouring with rain. Robert is taking me to church. I am going in the wheel-chair. Bettine bought me a cover up rain coat, so I won’t get wet. You used to like going to church on Sunday mornings.

The back lawn needs cutting, but it is too wet. I must buy some holly wreaths for the graves, but I expect we shall be able to sort it out by Xmas.

Good night and goodbye. God bless you.

From you loving wife, until we meet again my Frank

IVY xxx

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas

and a Happy New Year

Ivy Willis