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Ethel Baddeley a lively feisty young girl was born in Oldham in 1915 in poor but happy circumstances.Grandma's Letters tells the story of her growing up during the First World War and of her struggle as a young mum in the Second World War when her husband of just a few months left to fight the Japanese in Burma and India. Unbeknown to them at the time of his departure she was pregnant and it would be four long years before Ken would see his daughter.The last chapter tells of Ken's War deriven mainly from a diary which he kept of the long journey to reach Northern India and his stories of fighting a vicious enemy.However the major part of the book consists of Grandma Howard's letters all written when she was over eighty to her children and her six grandchildren. They say that letter writing is a dying art and that it is a great joy to read other's letters. Her letters are a joy. Repeated exactly as they were written, spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and as she mentions complete with breaks for the toilet, a snooze or food. She writes about the birds and flowers in her garden, religion, politics, modern society, family values, the past, husband Ken, death and dying.
She is funny, outrageous, frank,sensitive, warm and over the years has exasperated, enlightened, shocked and confounded her friends and family. Her letters are an insight into a lost world of good manners, respect and caring and reveal the daily struggle of the elderley to cope in a society so alien to that in which they grew up. At 91, her eyesight failing she no longer writes or paints but still rails against the fading of the light.A lovely unusual book.