My Letter Writer, My Love.

It is often said that the art of letter writing is dying in the face of new technology. And I’d probably agree if I wasn’t married to G.

My first letter from G arrived weeks after we’d met, aptly it was posted from an airport. When he was away while we were engaged he sent me an 8 page letter on what he’d hoped for our future together. It was possibly the most romantic thing I’d ever read, until the next letter came. He’d quoted Mordaunt:

Sound sound the clarion, fill the fife!
To all the sensual world proclaim
That one hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name

Underneath the quote he’d written “I would give up my life if it meant one more glorious hour with you”.

It’s fair to say the bride was more than weak at the knees.

While I’m a fan of the thank you or the phone call, G’s always been a big believer in getting things down on paper. There has always been a notebook, or a file somewhere nearby. When tidying rooms and emptying pockets for washing I often stumble across the words of a song that he’s written down, or the name of a tune he’s heard on a plane. I swear G’s heart takes up his entire chest cavity.

When we first moved to Qatar we stayed in a hotel. Each night when we’d hit the buffet for dinner a really lovely man called Denzel would show us to our table. He always took the time to speak to the children and he seemed particularly interested that G and I were okay. When we left the hotel I found Denzel and said thank you, and the little travellers all gave him a hug goodbye. About four weeks later we were getting ready to go out on a Friday afternoon when G’s phone rang, it was Denzel. He’d called to say thank you to G.

It turns out G had written the hotel manager a letter, he wrote of the impact Denzel had had on our family and how much we appreciated the interest he’d shown in our lives. Denzel had provided a constant in what was a very new and ever changing world. As a result of G’s letter Denzel had been named employee of the month, but what he seemed particularly happy about when he rang was the fact that G’s letter had been read aloud to the entire food and beverage staff at the hotel. He told G more than once “The Manager read your letter – to everyone!”

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Months before Julia Gillard’s much talked about misogyny speech, G forwarded me an email. It was a reply from the Prime Ministers office. The subject: “Just incase Julia drops in and you’re wondering why”. I scrolled through the thread trying to work out why Julia’s assistant was sending G a note. Over the years G and I have had to agree to disagree when it came to politics. As I began to read his letter to Julia I realized why he is my one true love:

Dear Prime Minister,

As an expatriate Australian I have sat by long enough reading and listening to the incredibly poor press that you receive as a result of being a woman.  It is very disappointing that your gender is somehow an issue or even a talking point with the Australian media and more broadly the Australian community.

As an Australian who has lived in several countries, and now resides in Qatar, I think it is very damaging to our international reputation and standing in the global community when the gender of Australia’s leader is an issue at all.

I am writing to you to let you know that I am incredibly proud as an Australian to see a strong, confident, articulate, well educated women as the Prime Minister. As the father of four children, the eldest two being girls, I think it is very important that there are role models for them like yourself.

Just to be clear I am not a Labor voter, and more than likely never will be.  My letter to you is not about politics, but to say please keep going as a role model for all Australians and in particular young women.

Thanks,

G

PS. My wife and I have a holiday home in Port Willunga.  We do not rent it out as it our family home back in Australia.  If you are ever looking for a weekend away in South Australia, please let me know as you would be more than welcome in our home.

Don’t you love the way he’s invited her to stay at the beach house? I wouldn’t vote for you but please come and stay anytime!

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This morning I woke up to find an email in my inbox. It was a note from a baseball coach in Adelaide who was replying to G. He had some great ideas on what we could do to help our third little traveller and suggested a time to meet over the break. I sat staring at the screen, I read G’s letter to the coach more than once, a letter written by a father who was willing to try anything to help his son. Over the weekend while I’d got emotional about watching the turmoil of our little guy, G had sat stoically, not saying a word. I on the other hand wanted to talk it out. This is kind of the way we work. As G gets quieter I talk more. The difference being that as he gets quiet he starts thinking, planning, working on an action to make a difference.

On Thursday G and I will have been married for 15 years. The couple who met, became engaged in 3 weeks and married 3 months later. When G wrote that first letter he talked of travel, children, of an extraordinary life lived by ordinary people. An adventure. I read that letter completely consumed by his love for me. It was all about us.

Fifteen years later and it’s his letters to and about others that steal my heart.

My letter writer, my love.

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