The post office may be closed for Good Friday but that doesn't mean I won't be reading witty snail mail from my family today, for today is the day I start writing DINNER IN DUBAI and I'm blessed that my mother kept all my mail from my time there. When she died and we cleared our family home in Winchester, England, I found my letters carefully preserved in their airmail envelopes from 1987 when I arrived in Tripoli until her death in 2007. That's 30 years' worth! Now, Mum wrote to me every single week without fail and I kept those letters so when I've slotted everything together it will form a diary the likes of which can only be called a blessing when trying to regurgitate half a life-time of memories. Since I enjoyed numerous white-wine spritzers during my 5 years in Dubai, my memory has been seriously diminished. I'm hoping this "journal" will tell me what happened, when, where and maybe even why.
Interestingly, and rather sadly, my dad also kept all my letters - and those of my siblings - from the day he left home (sis was 4, I was 5 and bro was 7) until we were teenagers, when we gave up and stopped writing. At his death, we cleared his tiny Somerset cottage and found a suitcase under his bed containing all our heart-breaking letters begging him to come home. But that's another story.
Today is about the Persian Gulf. I've also unearthed my Dubai photo albums and as I surround myself with all this nostalgia, I'm moved to ask -- in the age of emails, Facebook and other intangible forms of communication, will this kind of pleasure -- this delicious melancholia -- be available to our children and grandchildren? Hm. There's a thought.
And here's another: if my mother wrote to me every-single-week-without-fail for 30 years, that's 30 x 52! Really? There are 1,560 letters in these boxes? Flippin' heck! I'll have to count them as I read them. Watch this space...