Whilst going through some papers the other day I underwent a relativity
check-up.

I was reminded of when someone asked Albert Einstein to define relativity.
He replied as follows, “When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like
a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour.
That’s relativity.”

The papers I was going through, include 2 letters that my late father sent to
his Sister Ida who was evacuated out of London during the Battle of Britain
in WW2.  In the letters he mentions taking my Mother to the cinema.

This is where my relativity check-up occurs! You see my dad was writing in
the present tense about dating my mum, seven years before I was born and
I am reading about it after they have both passed away!

Now is that relativity or what?

The letters tell a remarkable story of how one teenager tried to go about
his ‘normal’ daily life amid the death and destruction going on all around
at the time.

What is impressive is the matter-of-fact way he described the devastation
of London, night after night.

I noted too, that this teenager along with everyone else fought their
way into work the next day despite the hardships and lack of sleep
the night before.

I may sound like a grumpy old man to say this but; how does this compare
with our modern day generation? There is no hint of whinging or feeling
hard done to, everyone just carried on and made the best of their lot.

OK! Not everyone was a saint. My dad does make reference in one letter,
to the burglars and looters who made the most out of other people’s
misfortune but these were definitely in the minority.

Another surprise for me was the mention of “The Brown’s Uncle Bert made
us laugh the other night. All the evening he had been saying how he wasn’t
bothered by air raids and that he would go up to bed as normal. At ten
o’clock sharp off he went pausing at the top of the stairs to say that it was
just a case of getting used to them. At ten fifteen he was down under the
stairs with the rest of us.”

Just to put this into perspective; Uncle Bert was totally blinded in the
First World War. In the same conflict, his twin brother Horace was blown
to pieces with no trace of his body being found.

It is sad that I have no recollection of any of the locations my Dad refers
to in the letters, because the family moved to the Sussex countryside
whilst I was quite young; where I had an idyllic childhood,
so I am not complaining.

Another sadness concerns My Aunt Ida; the recipient of these letters.
Last year, we were all looking forward to her 90th birthday. However,
sadly a few weeks before the big day, she suffered a massive stroke.
She also has ‘other complications’ which have resulted in her being
placed in a nursing home in her home town in Dorset.

If you would like to read the letters referred to above,
you will find them on this blog:

http://normanaylmer.blogspot.com/

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