Here’s another letter, written a few months after the one Jack wrote, this time dated 28.4.48, and written by Flora Hannagan (Nan), my grandmother.
How are you all getting on? Quite well, I hope.
We are all looking forward to seeing you. I do hope it won’t be too long. Monica has not been well for the last fortnight but she is getting on alright [sic] now.
Terry is home again as he couldn't study at all on account of his eyes. It was a great disappointment I can tell you but they expect him to go back. May be he is not meant to be a priest after all but as Fr Loughran says we can’t go against the will of God. at present he is working on the Railway.
We will have a really good talk when you come home; that’s better than all the letters.
Everyone else is quite well. I am afraid Michael’s birthday present will be late as usual for we have not been able to go to town. I hope he has a very nice birthday. A very, very happy birthday Michael, with plenty of good things to eat and a great big kiss from Nan and Pop.
I am late with the ‘Tablet’* and things, Pat but I will get them away as soon as I possibly can. I have had quite a lot to do lately.
I do hope Frank is quite well. We saw a little about the Radio games in the paper but we didn’t understand how Frank got on.
Tons of love and good wishes from all here and a great big hug and kiss for my lovely wee boy.
God bless you all,
At the end there are two enormous kisses on either side of ‘To Michael from’ Nan and Pop.
This is a lovely tender grandparent letter. I wonder if they had any inkling at this stage that their ‘lovely wee boy’ would soon be coming to stay for good. It can't have been long after this letter was sent, because I understand I arrived in Dunedin before I was three, and my third birthday was on the 13th May, 1948.
The envelope shows that this letter, originally sent to the 6th floor of the Rationing Directorate in 159 Flinders Lane, was forwarded back to 7 Stanley St. Perhaps my mother and I had already left by the time it reached Australia.
*Tablet: not some modern device that had somehow made its way back in time, but the popular Catholic magazine. I would eventually write many book reviews for its successor: Tui Motu.
Here's a second letter, written a few months earlier, on the 16.2.48, on a letter card (I think these were called: they were perforated on three sides and presumably the recipient tore them open).
Dearest pat, Frank and wee Michael. How are you all getting on? We are having a lovely rest here and it's a beautiful Camping ground. Dad is disappointed that there is no fishing but he may do a bit on the way home. I think or rather I am sure this rest is going to do me a lot of good but I'll be ready for hard work when I get home. Wish you were all here with us, it would be lovely. We went to Mass at Hawea Flat yesterday and they have a most beautiful little Church. Tow life size statues, one of the SH, [Sacred Heart] and one of Our Lady of the B.S. [Blessed Sacrament, I think.] Hope we will be seeing you this year. Tons of love and good wishes to you all and a great big hug and kiss fro wee Michael.
God bless you all Mum. xxxxxx from Nan and Pop [This last bit was squashed up one side.]