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A Love Letter

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By Joan Shiers

During Fall Into Place have sent out creative packs to the people of Leeds. These packs included some prompts for people to write something. They were very touched when Joan Shiers sent them this letter, addressed to her husband of 60 years, who died nine years ago.

Dear Ronnie,
Sixty years ago today, I walked down the aisle on my Father’s arm; a shy young bride of 19, to see you waiting for me. Your best man, your brother standing next to you, both with identical beaming faces. The happiness I felt shone out of me. Our wedding was perfect, everything I could have wished for – and then we started our life together, two youngsters. We felt our way through life, plenty of ups and downs. It wouldn’t have been a marriage without them. We weathered the storm together.

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Joan and Ronnie on their wedding day in 1960

My daughter says I put you on a pedestal and yes, I suppose I did. To me you were perfect. We met on a
hot day in June 1959 at the local outdoor lido. I was with a friend who knew you. You came up to speak to her and asked her if I would go out with you. I said yes. The next day we went out in the afternoon and ended up at a local youth group. You pulled me onto your knee and said, “will you marry me?” I knew you were joking but, laughingly, said yes! However, five months later you asked me again. This time for real. Once again, I said “yes” and I meant it. You had just gone into the army to do your National Service which had been deferred while you were at University. On May 15th 1960 I became my handsome Second Lieutenant’s wife. We lived in married quarters in Edinburgh and I was terribly homesick. Once a week we went into town and had a proper meal - my cooking wasn’t all that good at that time! I like to think it improved after that.
 
Our three lovely children came along and in due course so did all the joy and problems children bring. We got through it all together. I sit here thinking how lucky we were. The children married and we now have eight wonderful grandchildren. Sadly, my darling, you had to leave me nine years ago after we had a wonderful Golden Wedding. I never thought the day would come but come it did. You didn’t live to see our beautiful three great-granddaughters: Abigail, Isobel and Amelia.

Dear Ronnie,
 
How you would have loved them. So now I sit here in isolation at this dreadful time, with only my memories to keep me company. But being the hoarder that I am, I have all your lovely anniversary cards which I have been reading today. You wrote such lovely words in them which bring me comfort. The little ones all know your name, Poppa Ronnie, and see your photos. You will never be forgotten my darling.
 
Yes, I am the lucky one. I have been blessed.

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