|With granddaughter who became Professional Bleeder|
My mother's birthday I remember was August 11 but August this year passed without my marking it. For what it's worth she would have been 110, a meaningless factoid. This morning I woke, vaguely aware - as on many other mornings - of my debt to her. Wondering whether I qualified as a dutiful son.
I have my doubts but I did at least write. Here's part of a letter from Philadelphia, ca. 1968
Dear Mum, I note your suggestion of jewellery for Christmas. By the time I received your letter I had made the supreme effort and bought everybody's gifts. I use the words "supreme effort" not as they apply to the act of buying, but to the act of packaging. All my love and devotion to my parents goes into the business of wrapping my gifts safely. It's an evening's work and involves the use of about £1 worth of paper, string and sticky paper tape. As a matter of fact, even more love and devotion goes into the packaging of the Folkestone parcel (ie, to VR's family). This is usually bigger... Yours is fairly utilitarian I'm afraid but I do know you use one and this one's a little gayer. Father's is experimental. We'll see.
NOTES. Secure packing and insurance were essential for UK-bound parcels; otherwise they were routinely stolen in New York. I have no idea what the "utilitarian" and "experimental" gifts were.
US friends, appalled by the RRs’ disinclination to be emotional, would have approved of "love and devotion". But, see, it is repeated and therefore jocular.