Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Letter from Dorothea

I found letters in one of the manila folders in my finance expanding files. I have been clearing out my wardrobes. (Decluttering, always good until two days afterwards, when you realise you finally need to use that widget that had been sitting there unused, taking up space just in case, for 18years.)

Who gets snail-mail since whenever? The entirety of my incoming epistolary correspondence since leaving Australia in 1998 barely raised a bump from within the folder. Some of the letters I've kept for my biographer and because I am a hoarder, but some are important to me.

The flowing script of this one indicates an education from before the 1980s, back before everyone was taught to write in Courier or Times New Roman.


Dear Phillip

I was walking in the back yard this cold dampish evening. It was beautiful, calm cold crisp air and of course there was the autumn beauty of the deciduous trees, especially I must admit to the [next door neighbour]’s yard with beautiful golden leaves of their two magnificent 35ft high silver birches. I mused, I must send a birthday letter to Phillip if I write & send it now it just might get there in time for his birthday & and that will give him a very pleasant surprise for once in a life time (from me.)

I also have a desire to rush out and get a camera to register our own Autumn leaves on the front trees. I an afraid the winds will have beat me to it and they will have blown to the ground and all that is left will be the stark branches of the silver birch and liquid amber tree, then of course the task of raking our lovely autumn coloured leaves, wet with rain and belted into the ground eventually finishing on the beds to become a great compost. This task of course will be mine, all too late for the camera!!

I am back to mundane thinking hopefully not expressing my fears and such about Dorothy ... Dorothy and her chesty feelings.!!

Have spoken to you since, before you were on your way to the Phillipines. When you mentioned it, I was immediately obsessed by the fear of your safety with the problems in Fiji. “Think again stupid!” Paula wised me up! In a nice way, she said, “You dag, he is going to the Philippines.”

So much for “time waits for no man,” that has all been ten days ago. I must wish now that you have a happy celebration for you 43rd birthday, we will be thinking of you on the 23rd June 2000! Hope your life continues to be to your liking and enjoyable in the future. A new order of accommodation, house companions, no doubt a few decisions of some consequence for you.

God bless you Phillip, take good care of yourself , we all love and care for you.

Happy Birthday,

Mumsy X

Dorothea C Ramm


Chesty feelings - anxiety, worried about a heart attack.

"Mumsy" - from a scene in a Norman Wisdom movie we both thought was hilarious back in the day.


I used to send my mother post-cards from my travels in Australia - usually from conferences or locum placement - and they invariably were of women in welcoming, one-piece bikini, all-over tan, tourist-kitsch poses. I presume she thought I was funny, or was trying to be. Very rarely did she send letters to me.


We have just recently moved her into a nursing home, and she was assessed and placed in the dementia ward. Tough for her, as she pretty with-it most of the day, but then she drifts away around sundown with the old anxiety and mild paranoia.

You can see that lost look in her eyes after 6. The world doesn't make sense any more.


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