100 days, 100 ways: days 8-2

This is my final 100 days, 100 ways.  My Day 1 picture will be shared when I get home. I will absolutely be sure to keep you posted & share photos from my voyage home.  Make sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter for quick updates.

I have to be honest committing to 100 days of anything is quite a lot, but thanks to guest quoters such as my brother (who officially got the MOST like’s) and with the help of YOU ALL sharing quotes & photo op suggestions, I was able to do it.  Thank you all so much! ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

100 days, 100 ways: days 99-93

100 days, 100 ways: days 92-86

100 days, 100 ways: days 85-79

100 days, 100 ways: days 78-72

100 days, 100 ways: days 71-65

100 days, 100 ways: days 64-58

100 days, 100 ways: days 57-51

100 days, 100 ways: days 50-44

100 days, 100 ways: days 43-30

100 days, 100 ways: days 29-23

100 days, 100 ways: days 22-9

100 days, 100 ways: days 22-9

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This is the twelfth & thirteenth of my Feel Good Friday series that I started.  In honour of my 100 day mark, I will share a photo from each day with a quote. Twelve of them are from Paris & Burgundy and the final two are from London.  I was there for a writing course with some University of Windsor writers.  Stay tuned for a France post soon! xoxo

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100 days, 100 ways: days 99-93

100 days, 100 ways: days 92-86

100 days, 100 ways: days 85-79

100 days, 100 ways: days 78-72

100 days, 100 ways: days 71-65

100 days, 100 ways: days 64-58

100 days, 100 ways: days 57-51

100 days, 100 ways: days 50-44

100 days, 100 ways: days 43-30

100 days, 100 ways: days 29-23

A postcard from Paris

 

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June 30th, 2013

Dear Grama,

Just a quick postcard to tell you what a lovely time I’ve been having in the enchanting city of Paris.  I’ve spent time wandering the book & art stalls along the Seine stealing glances at Notre Dame in between.  I’ve spent an afternoon at cafes with colourful canopies & outward facing seats so the patrons can watch the world go by.  I’ve wandered uphill to Montmarte taking in the picturesque rod-iron terraces lined with wooden shutters & flower boxes. The historical beauty of Paris is incredible and I’ve been officially swept off my feet by the love & romance that radiates from this city.

I was also sure to visit the one and only – Eiffel Tower – that literally made me jump up & down with excitement when it came into sight.  As we climbed up to get the best view of the breathtaking structure, I once again lined myself up to the exact place that you stood many years before.  I thought of the beauty of that moment.  This was at a time that you & Papa had been reunited for many years, it was a trip you two did with a group of war-brides that you travelled the world with, and it was just a teeny, tiny glimpse of your happily every after.  

It fills me with love, hope &  gratitude.  

With a granddaughter’s love & admiration,

Carly 

xoxo

 

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100 days, 100 ways: days 29-23

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This is the eleventh of my Feel Good Friday series that I started.  In honour of my 100 day mark, I will share a photo from each day with a quote.  I’m currently in Paris until Monday & then heading to Burgundy for a writing course with some University of Windsor writers. I will return to London July 10th for my final 10 days (eeeek!). Expect updates here & there.

Keep on sending quotes in the comments below, through Facebook, send an email to lifesletter(at)gmail(dot)com or use the form in the About Me page.

Thanks everyone. xox

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100 days, 100 ways: days 99-93

100 days, 100 ways: days 92-86

100 days, 100 ways: days 85-79

100 days, 100 ways: days 78-72

100 days, 100 ways: days 71-65

100 days, 100 ways: days 64-58

100 days, 100 ways: days 57-51

100 days, 100 ways: days 50-44

100 days, 100 ways: days 43-30

Dear Grama…I will write often.

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June 14th, 1946

My Darling Nick,

Many thanks sweetheart for the two letters I got this afternoon.  I hope this finds you okay darling as it leaves me but very very lonely for a certain handsome guy who by the way happens to be my husband (the best in all the whole wide world).  I have a bit of good news for you to-night darling.  Doris got her papers this morning and very short notice she has to be ready at 24hour notice from to-morrow.  I reckon the papers have been held up because of the holidays.  Her number is 38,616 so soon please God you can look out for your little wifey, after them telling me at the repat office yesterday they had reached 38,600 I knew Doris would hear very soon.  Now I know it’s near the waiting seems worse then ever, I can’t sleep at all these nights.  Last night I thought I would go crazy, tossing and turning there, I think it’s all the excitement.  I am glad you are getting on with the sink darling and that you have made it special low for me, I think you are a real angel for trying to get everything done, but please don’t worry yourself too much darling about everything. I am sure everything will work out lovely especially if we are to-gether to figure it all out, with you beside me darling I shan’t care about a darn thing.  The only thing I worry about is that I hope I get used to everything quickly because I know a lot of things are different over there to here.  One thing I know I musn’t ask for a joint in the butcher.  I don’t mind a bit about your teeth darling, you’ll always be good-looking and I shall love you in fifty years time just as much as I do, by the way darling I didn’t marry you for your looks, but you sure are handsome.  Casanova, I’m sorry I couldn’t resist that.  By the way darling, is our house nearer to the factory than your mothers was? I can just see you now some of these mornings, P.G. soon jumping out of bed and dashing round so as you won’t be late in the morning, I guess that will be one of my wifely jobs, eh! Well sweetheart I guess that’s the news for another night, much as it is, but it won’t be long now darling, whoopee, when I can stop writing to you I shall be the happiest girl in the world, but I thank God that we started writing nearly two years ago darling.  Now I suppose I must say, Good-night darling, God Bless You and may all your dreams be pleasant.  Good Luck.  Au-revoir.  Hope to see you soon.  All my love to you forever. 

Your ever loving wifey. 

Rene

I LOVE YOU (in x’s)

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June 23rd, 2013

Dear Grama,

It comes with mixed emotions for me to tell you that my journey that has been structured around your letters has come to an end.  You wrote your final letter to your sweetheart on June 23, 1946 and I’ve officially been through each and every one of the 110 letters that were scripted with love. There is a questionable gap between the date of the last letter and the date on the infamous telegram sent with excitement to Papa upon hearing the news of your sail date.  That is something that I’ll never have an answer to.  Why the gap? Were the last few weeks of letters lost, thrown away, or never written at all? Does it even really matter?

Where I stand with it all in this very moment is that it was all part of the plan for me.  Even before organizing the letters by date, I was invited to join a group of writers from the University of Windsor.  I leave this Friday for France.  I will then get my proposal ready for my book to submit to my literary agent – still pinching myself about being able to say that – before leaving for my highly anticipated voyage home. I can’t even begin to imagine what it will feel like to board that ship then depart on the 20 hour train journey to Windsor, just as you did. Over these last few weeks I’ve come to some deep and life changing realizations about my journey.  The kind of realizations that keep me up at night writing. The time I’ve spent here living this dream truly has changed my life and it’s incredible to think that it all began on a sunny day in California.  So the rest of the journey’s in my hands now as it truthfully has been since day one.

Thank you for such an incredible gift that brought me so much joy, clarity and adventure over these past 6 months. And you better believe that I will write often.

With a granddaughters love & admiration,

Carly

xoxo

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**Photos by Ashly Flannery – aflannery(at)live(dot)com **

A special bond

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(above picture: Grama & her siblings.  Left-Right. Janey, Rene, Albert, Naty & Joe)

June 10th, 1946

My Darling,

Once again I settle down darling to write you a few lines, which I sure hope I won’t have to do soon now, P.G. This is the fourth day I haven’t heard from you and I sure hope it’s because of the holidays.  I hope you are quite okay darling as this leaves me but longing and just anxiously waiting for when I can be with you again.  It has still been a holiday here in England.  Bank holiday Monday, I know you don’t have that one in Canada.  After waking up this morning and being disappointed because there were no letters, I mooched around, made a cake and done a few odd jobs.  Then after lunch I met Doris in Piccadilly (remember the red light, darling?).  First of all we took in a show, saw a film called “From this day forward.” It was a lovely film all about a couple who had just got married so of course Doris and I enjoyed it but boy did we ever wish we had our husbands with us. I really do think though that Doris and I should hear any day now because it’s two weeks ago now when Ethel got her papers.  When we came out of the pictures we went and had supper, then we walked all down the Mall right to Buckingham Palace and saw all the decorations.  We also saw the Royal Stand where the King and Queen stood and saluted everyone.  It was quite interesting but I still wouldn’t have cared if I hadn’t seen it.  In the last two letters I wrote darling, I put our new address on it, I hope I have spelt it right but if I haven’t don’t blame me it’s the way you wrote it, but I think I’ll wait to address this one to make sure of the address from the letters I hope to get in the morning, please God. Janey just said ‘it’s a shame you aren’t here because there are a lot of Cowboy films on now.’ I don’t have to tell you I sure wish you were here now, it would have been especially nice if you could have met Albert, I know you two would have got on smashing to-gether.  Never mind darling, just let us two get to-gether again, P.G. then everything will be fine.  Now I guess its time for me to hit the hay for another lonely night darling, but I sure hope those nights are numbered now darling.  Good-night sweet.  God Bless You and Sweet Dreams to you.  Good Luck.  Au-revoir.  Hope to see you soon.  All my love to you forever.

Your everyloving wifey,

Rene

I LOVE YOU (in x’s)

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June 20th, 2013 

Dear Grama,

Sorry that it’s been a while since I’ve written.  I’ve been so busy in quite possibly the best way.  I had Ryan & Sulienne here visiting for 10 whole days and this letter was the first day of their visit.   Naturally I brought them to Central London despite their fading eyes after a night of travel.  The lights and excitement of Piccadilly sure woke them up and they were both in awe as I led them though the city center with ease that even surprised me.  I really have gotten to know your city, Grams.  I even must have that air about me, because aimless tourists approach me on a regular basis asking for directions.  I secretly love it.

I could sit and list all the things we experienced together, but that would be the longest letter imaginable, so I will sum up our time together as best as I can.  We laughed like siblings do. We shared the teeny tiny space of my flat and came out of it with only a few bruises.  We fought like siblings do.  And most importantly, we cherished the moments we got to share together like most siblings forget to do.

Suli has been in our lives since a few months after you left us.  Grama, you would love her.  She if full of life and wonder, and has a passion for travel, adventure and seeing the world.  She absolutely loved the history of your city, the amazing stories of the Royal family, and pure magic that London has to offer.  She truly has been like a sister to me since they started dating when I was 14.  I am grateful for our bond and the loving, honest and inspiring conversations that were had.

Ryan was mostly along for the ride, getting excited about making Suli happy, enjoying visiting the pubs that Shakespeare frequented, and going to the dog races.  I imagine him & your brothers would have ‘got on smashingly’ as well.  He also really enjoyed seeing your neighbourhood and honouring this journey in his own special way.  The night before they left, he said something to me that will stay with me forever.  It was about how happy he was for Adam and I.  Specifically how thrilled he was that I had found someone that can take care of me in a way that I need a man to.  Fixing the car, hanging the blinds, carrying heavy things from the basement and coming to my rescue when anything breaks.  Things that Ryan was just a phone call away to do during my 2 years of single-living in my apartment in Windsor.  As we were finishing up our last dinner together and clinking our glasses in cheers of a great holiday, he nonchalantly mentioned that I am to always call him, even if I don’t have anything for him to fix.  He loves me.

Having them both here made me think a lot about how your siblings must have felt about you making the big move across the pond.  I am sure they were beyond happy for you, and I am also sure there was a bit of sadness in seeing you go.  Of course it’s all a part of life and we all grow up and get on with our own lives and families and at the same time recognizing that the end of eras create a bit of nostalgia.

The love that siblings share is special.  It’s a beautiful thing.  It’s a bond that no matter where life brings you, its strength is enough to withstand the distance.  Almost immeasurable, really.  My guess is that it’s the kind of love that could go the distance of the Atlantic…20 times over.

With a granddaughter’s love & admiration,

Carly

Xoxox

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100 days, 100 ways: days 43-30

This is the ninth & tenth (update on my brother’s visit to come soon!) of my Feel Good Friday series that I started.  In honour of my 100 day mark, I will share a photo from each day with a quote.  Thank you to those who sent quotes & photo op ideas.

  • Have a favourite place in London? I’ll go take a picture in honour of YOU!
  • Have a favourite inspirational quote? I’ll feature your quote on my photo.

Use the comments below, send me a message on Facebook, send an email to lifesletter(at)gmail(dot)com or use the form in the About Me page.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

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100 days, 100 ways: days 99-93

100 days, 100 ways: days 92-86

100 days, 100 ways: days 85-79

100 days, 100 ways: days 78-72

100 days, 100 ways: days 71-65

100 days, 100 ways: days 64-58

100 days, 100 ways: days 57-51

100 days, 100 ways: days 50-44

100 days, 100 ways: 50-44

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This is the eighth (holy moly) of my Feel Good Friday series that I started.  In honour of my 100 day mark, I will share a photo from each day with a quote.  Thank you to those who sent quotes & photo op ideas.

  • Have a favourite place in London? I’ll go take a picture in honour of YOU!
  • Have a favourite inspirational quote? I’ll feature your quote on my photo.

Use the comments below, send me a message on Facebook, send an email to lifesletter(at)gmail(dot)com or use the form in the About Me page.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

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100 days, 100 ways: days 99-93

100 days, 100 ways: days 92-86

100 days, 100 ways: days 85-79

100 days, 100 ways: days 78-72

100 days, 100 ways: days 71-65

100 days, 100 ways: days 64-58

100 days, 100 ways: days 57-51

All about Luck

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June 5th, 1946

 

My Own Darling,

Very many thanks dear for the letter I got to-day.  I hope this finds you okay as it leaves me sure missing you terribly.  Nothing very exciting happened again to-day, still no papers but I am hoping any day now.  Phoebe came round this morning and I went up Kilburn with her but I didn’t buy anything, just wandered around the shops.  Then this afternoon, or rather this evening, I went round to Naty & Julia’s, spent quite a nice evening just talking.  I got into quite an argument with Julia’s Uncle all about luck, he said there wasn’t such a thing and I said there was, it sure was quite an argument.  By the way darling do you think you could drop Naty, Julia & Mrs. Mann a few lines when you have a few minutes, I know they would love to hear from you.  I’ll put their address at the bottom of this letter.  Naty really makes me laugh with his daughter, he sits and watches Julia all the time while she is washing her and feeding her.  I hope you have made up your mind by now darling about that kitchen set, I really wish I was there so we can pick everything out to-gether, but I know you are a good judge darling and anything you get will be lovely, just us two to-gether living with everything will make it lovely.  I put some flags out of the window to-day, welcoming him home, Albert I mean.  We haven’t heard from him for some time so we hope he is on the boat.  I hope he hurries up and comes so as I can just see him before I go, but if I had a chance to leave to-morrow I would darling because the quicker I get to you the happier I will be.  While I think of it I’ll tell you what I will put into the telegram to you as soon as I get my papers please God soon, you see when I get them darling they will say, ‘You are on twenty-found hours notice from say June 17th’, so as soon as I get those I’ll send you a telegram saying ‘Received Notice, June 17th’ so you will know what I mean, I want you to know the good news as soon as possible, darling.  Well sweet I guess that’s all the news for now, so once again I’ll say Good-night my darling and wish from the bottom of my heart I could say it in person.  God Bless You and may all your dreams be pleasant ones.  Good-Luck.  Au-revoir hope to see you soon.  All my love to you forever. 

Your everloving wifey,

Rene

I LOVE YOU (in x’s)

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June 5th, 2013

Dear Grama,

I think this was one of my favourite letters you wrote.  It makes me realize what a believer you were in living a life that’s full of love, gratitude and excitement.  When I think about whether or not I think luck exists or not, I find myself absolutely agreeing with you.  I feel so lucky to be here on this journey. I feel lucky to have an amazing fiancé, family and friends. I feel lucky to be in good health, and above all, I feel lucky to have the outlook on life that I do, even if people think I should have been named Positive Patty.  I think the notion of gratitude and living a grateful life is what I identify with more, because I believe the way one looks at life has everything to do with how lucky or grateful they feel.

I imagine the luck you were referring to was quite similar to the things you were grateful for – having the chance meeting that you did with Papa, falling in love the way you did, having this amazing upcoming adventure of moving to a new country with the love of your life, and all the little things in between.  I can’t help but feel like I have taken after you in so many ways and that makes me happy.

Today I also ventured to the neighbourhood you listed at the bottom of your letter.  The address of Naty and Julia in Islington.  Walking around the neighbouring streets, I noticed that there had been a lot of new developments that didn’t look too promising, but I remained hopeful.  As I turned the corner, I noticed an older looking apartment building and there it stood in British fashion with it’s very own vintage sign commemorating it’s age and historical beauty.  I found the very building you visited, 67 years ago today.

It’s hard to explain in words what really happens to me when I experience this…what I feel deep in my core that creates connection to a world before my time.

I’ve been extremely lucky with all of the places your journey has brought me and as I think back to all the buildings, homes, and shops that are still standing with pride it makes me realize that you are right, yet again.  Luck absolutely exists.

With a granddaughter’s love & admiration,

Carly

Xoxox

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Awakened to Embrace Fear

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May 31st, 1946

My Darling,
Thanks darling for the life-saver (letter) I got from you this afternoon. I hope your head-aches have gone by now and that you are quite okay. I am fine in health but terribly, terribly lonely for you! To make me feel worse they even played our song to-night, as if I had to be reminded how much I miss you. Things back here were very much the same to-day. I went into the shop again this morning to give them a hand and I got two lovely presents, one was a beautiful set of fruit knives in a lovely case from Mr & Mrs Samuel’s, more knives darling, we are getting quite the collection of them aren’t we? The other present was a very nice dressing table set a customer gave me, I thought it was very sweet of her as she had made it all herself and she is about 70 years old. Now we have a home of our own darling, I am thrilled with everything I get and I try to picture it in our home, please God soon. If we get any more presents I shall soon have to get myself another trunk. I wonder if Eileen will be going on this next trip of the Queen Mary, I reckon it should be leaving again about Wednesday, I sure hope I will be going on her next trip. The Royal Canadian Navy’s show “Meet the Navy” has been made into a picture and it’s on at the Empire, I am going to try and see it, I don’t have to tell you that I sure wish you were here to take me to see it. Janey said as you have now got half a house can she come along now with Dixie or will you still have to build her a log cabin. Everybody here in London seems to be preparing for the Victory Day next Saturday (except me) they have put flags up in Trafalgar Square and they have also put a lot of stands up on Oxford St. I think I shall stay in all day on that day, crowds are dangerous and I don’t want anything to happen to us now. Well, husband of mine, I guess that’s all the news for now, it’s not what I want to write and I know not what you would like to read, but soon, please God darling it will come, I guess we just have to wait a little longer. God Bless You dearest, Good-night and have pleasant dreams. Good-luck. Au-revoir. Hope to see you soon. All my love to you forever.
Your everloving wifey,
Rene
I LOVE YOU (in x’s)

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May 31st, 2013

Dear Grama,
What you’ve said about wanting to stay away from crowds has got me thinking. The whole idea of fear has been on my mind a lot lately and I can’t help but think that this comment is out of character for you. In one hand I realize the fear you must have felt is completely unfathomable for someone of my generation. From living through the years of the war and the constant air raids, to falling in love with a soldier who was off at war…that, I cannot even begin to imagine. From what I remember of you though, from what mom tells me, and from what Papa shares, you embraced fear. You loved the adventure of it all. You even told us on many occasions, that you enjoyed the excitement of sleeping in Swiss Cottage tube station during the air raids.
The fear I have been experiencing is not even close in comparison…but it’s fear all the same. It’s fear of being here alone, fear of putting my words & dreams out there for all to see, and fear of writing a book.
Today I experienced facing a fear on an extreme level. I was invited by a dear friend to experience what feels like a hidden secret of London…the women’s pond at Hampstead Heath. After walking through the vast beauty of the park itself, the winding trails brought us to the secluded and sacred pond that women have been swimming in since the 1800’s. After passing the gate that says “No Men Beyond This Point” I knew I was going to experience something unique.
The night before my swim, I had realized that I was feeling disconnected to so many things. I felt disconnected to you, disconnected to what I was over here to do, and disconnected to the present moment. I was letting fear take over and getting caught up in the negative voices in my head. When I woke up, I couldn’t help but think of the song by Mumford & Sons “Awake my Soul.”
I knew I was in for an awakening today, on many levels…so my word for the day was Awaken. Let’s just say…the 12°/53° temperature of the water was QUITE the awakening. As well as being awakened to the notion of embracing fear, just like you always did. I realized on my walk to the park that in my excitement, I forgot about the small fact that I’m not really the best swimmer. It instantly brought a whole new level of fear into the picture. It reminded me of how the fears of not being able to write, were very similar to my fears of not being able to swim. If my life depended on it…of COURSE I would know how to swim. If I looked like a weirdo and was kicking my legs & flailing my arms…I would swim. I would get from A to B. I would somehow, someway, swim. Just like I’ve been doing here…on this blog, in my journal & in my writing. I’m writing. I’m somehow, someway, accomplishing this dream that I had NO idea how to do. Isn’t life in general like this? Marriage. Raising babies. Pursuing careers. Aren’t we all just learning as we go, embracing the fear of the unknown and awakening our souls to LOVE.
A line in “Awake my Soul” that really speaks to me is… “In this body we will live, in this body we will die….where you invest your love, you invest your life.”
Thank you for modeling embracing fear so well, Grama. If you didn’t embrace fear, you wouldn’t have asked Papa to dance the first night you met, you wouldn’t have agreed to marry him, you wouldn’t have come to Canada, and you wouldn’t have been YOU.
With a granddaughter’s love,
Carly
Xoxo

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