Category: writing

A Poem From My Past…

I wrote this many years ago about my experience of being an unwanted child.  Not by my mother, but by my father.  Needless to say, I have not seen him for well over half my life.

My Dad & I

“I never wanted you, I didn’t want boys”
The words spoken by a grown man to his eight-year-old son.
A callous off the cuff remark?
No, it was a cruel and calculated remark.
His son could see in his eyes that he meant it.
Head down feeling ashamed of being a boy.

“I never wanted you, I didn’t want boys”
Years of cruelty followed.
A backhander here, a punch there.
The boy’s sister was the father’s favourite.
Sweets for her, but nothing for him.
Don’t tell your mother or you’ll get a slap.

“I never wanted you, I didn’t want boys”
The remark embeds itself in his head.
He watches other Dads love their son.
Fatherly love was something he never knew.
Fatherly love was absent, missing, gone.
Fatherly love was wanted, envied, but always denied.

“I never wanted you, I didn’t want boys”
Get to your room, get out of my sight.
His room became his sanctuary from cruel words.
He worked hard at school and passed all exams.
A report card came home at the end of each term.
No praise did his father give him, that was for the girls.

“I never wanted you, I didn’t want boys”
It was time to go as the divorce papers arrived.
Many years later, he met him again.
He told him this is my son, but it wasn’t this child.
A half-brother he never knew he had.
Realisation dawned and his head dropped again.

“I never wanted you, I didn’t want boys”
A lie and a truth in the same sentence.
A letter years later confirming rejection.
A hate builds up, but he realises it’s wasted.
His father missed out on so much, he knew.
I know how this ends, as I am that son.

“I never wanted you, I didn’t want boys”
I see him in the street, he knows not who I am.
The old man looks back but no recollection.
I smile to myself, I am the better man.
My want for my father has been and gone.
I’m strong through loss, I have coped with the pain.

‘I never wanted you, I didn’t want boys”
The time will come when you’re deep in the ground.
I may come around and speak to you then.
Tell you of cruelty made to your first son.
You’ll not answer back, and I will not hide.
I don’t want you, Dad, though I needed you before.

Letter Writing…

Well, my letter writing seems to be at a steady stream.  I have 5 penpals so far, a guy in France, and ladies in Germany, Bath, Finland & America.  I had written to a lady in Belgium but received the letter back saying that the address was incomplete, so messaged her as I had copied and pasted her address from her message.  Yesterday, I received a message asking if I would write to a guy in Russia, so what the hell, although I find writing the first letter always a little hard as I never know what to say or how far to go.  Do I just do a page intro and leave it at that or do I write something longer with no reals scope on discovery?  Getting a happy medium is quite the thing.  My penpal in Hamburg sticks to one sheet of A4 paper, both sides which work well, but I can be a chatterbox in the letter writing side, and when sending to my one in Bath manage usually 9 pages.

Postcards are coming thick and fast from Postcrossing, and with extras from my friend at Cupcakes & Canter, who was a great help with the penpals and quite an authority on the subject.

Now my mission is to get a penpal in Japan.  I learned to speak Japanese many many years ago and loved everything about the culture and the place, so thought I penpal there would be fun.  Maybe find one in New York as it is a place that I love to see on films and the TV, and maybe one in Australia or New Zealand. Oh, and Iceland too!

Postage Stamps…

Today I received postcards from Chicago, Finland, Taiwan & Japan, and I have to say I loved the postage stamps on them.  The UK postal system is crap, we do have picture stamps, but try and get them and most post offices have limited supply or, at it would seem most of the time, none at all, so we have to stick to the crappy one colour picture of the Queen.  Not that I have a problem with her majesty, but our banknotes, coins and stamps all have the same picture on them.  Don’t get me wrong, we do have picture stamps at regular intervals, but not all denominations, usually first and second class and the odd another one.  I just wish we were like other countries and had all these fancy ones all the time, it would make sending post to others via letter and postcards more of a pleasure.  Below is a card I received from Japan today, take a look at all the fab stamps on it.

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Penpals Update…

And we are off.  A lady in Hamburg contacted me and wants to write, so YAY!, here we go.  She is sending the first letter which I am looking forward to receiving and starting this journey again.

I have also been chatting to an 82-year-old chap who wants to write, but can only use email as he has tremours so writing is a no-no, which is fine with me, so email it is, not exactly snail mail, but I can live with it.  I used to correspond to my 85-year-old Great Uncle via email, although we had never managed to meet. My Mum was adopted and when I finally found her family my Great Uncle found me via Ancestry.com as I had him in my tree, we emailed quite a lot, but unfortunately, he died last year after a short illness.  It was a great shame, as he had said that he would like to meet me and my Mum and due to his eyesight, I said I would drive over to visit him, saving him travelling, he agreed, but, as he was not feeling too good said that he would arrange some time soon, alas that never happened.  Although we never met we wrote to each other each week.  He was a fascinating man that I wish I had got to meet.

One of the downsides of the sites I have joined is one has to be paid for and so far, no one wants to talk to anyone.  The free one everyone wants to talk, some want husbands, romance, money and other things that are yet to be revealed.  My profiles states I am looking for snail mail pen pals but so far I feel that it is being ignored.  Oh well, I can always ignore and delete.

I have also returned to Postcrossing.  I have been a member since October 2007, but in 2011 I stopped sending as the cost to send a postcard as I had quit my job due to professional disagreements, that is to say, my boss wanted to do illegal things and I disagreed, so I walked.  I kept thinking over the years I would pick it up again and sent 2 in 2015 and did not receive a single one back which was not what the rules of Postcrossing dictate.  I have received 214 postcards in the past, so let’s see what cards I get and where they come from, and of course, I will share them here with you all.

I have checked out also some swap sites to and joined, so it looks like it may start to be a busy hobby for me.  Of course I will leave time to knit, and in all honesty, I think I need to pick up my needles again as the hat project I was doing has sat there since April, begging me to finish.

IMG_5506

Penpals…

I wondered the other day, how many of us had penpals when we were growing up, and how many of us had them when we were adults too?

I never had a penpal when I was a kid, living in a small village (of French origin) there was not exactly an opportunity to have one, hell, my primary school consisted of just 28 pupils, and apart from general subjects with a huge overdose of religion, yes it was connected to the church, there was nothing to inspire people to look further than their own garden gate.  No one I knew ever went on a foreign holiday, it was all quite alien.

When I was in my early 20’s I decided I wanted a pen pal, the internet did not exist, so this became a challenge.  I had no idea where to start.  By this point, I was working in the city, and on my lunch popped into WH Smiths as I knew they had international papers and odd publications you would never find elsewhere.  The New York Herald had nothing in at all but was an interesting read.  I tried several foreign publications including Le Monde, but nothing seemed to have the information I wanted.  In the end, I asked one of the staff there if they could recommend something, and to my surprise, she knew exactly the paper.  It was one called Loot, which had every conceivable advert you could think of, and I guess you would compare it to Craigs List on paper.  Adverts for cults, sex, personals, animals, you name it, it was getting sold in this paper, then close to the back, there it was, penpals.  I have no idea where they got the information, but I jumped right on it.

I ended up with quite a few people I wrote to, which suited me well as there was a great shop called Athena that sold coloured writing paper and envelopes, and there was also a few places you could get other designs of writing paper too just around the corner from work.  Some of my pals dropped off and stopped replying, so I dropped them too, but I had two that were constant writers, both from California, one Heather from Burbank and the other Rocko from San Diego.

Both came to visit me.  Rocko was a little over the top and was a party animal.  I was living about 2 miles away from the city at the time, so nightlife was easy to get to and walking home was good.  He was supposed to stay for a week, which I took off work, however, he stayed for a lot longer, which really was a strain as I was used to living on my own and in the end it really started to affect our friendship and my bank balance.  His friend was killed when he was over and that was my queue to make him go home, which was a battle.  He was not convinced that he should go, even though it was his best friend, but I persisted and eventually, he went after staying for about 6 weeks.  I heard from him once more after that, and then he vanished without a trace.

Heather, however, was a delight when she came to visit me.  It was 1998 and I had moved to a seaside town 25 miles away from the city, and she was touring again.  We had a great time, she only stayed for a few days as she was covering a lot of the UK visiting penpals and distant family.  We carried on writing for many years, then the internet came with email, so we ended up emailing each other, which was novel at the time, but I really missed getting snail mail.  Our emails slowed down over the years but still kept going, however, they soon stopped when FaceBook arrived.  To this day we are still in touch with each other through FB, but it’s not the same excitement that was felt when a letter dropped through the door.  I have FB but don’t really bother with it, as I really don’t feel the need to see every aspect of everybody’s life, warts and all, so it is there for the odd message and to keep up to date with the dog trainers.

About 10 years ago, I tried to start up writing again with penpals and had a few who then all wanted to swap to email, talk about colour me disappointed.  M started about 6 years ago to write to a few American prisoners, who were all quite charming, but then the begging letters started, asking for him to send money to them.  He did, to begin with as he knew they did not have much, but this turned out to be an error and they asked for more and more, and unfortunately, he ended up cutting ties.

I keep thinking that I would like to have penpals again, but knowing the way past ones have wanted to switch to email puts me off, and as for writing to prisoners, I would be happy to do that, but hey, I do not need someone that begs for cash in each letter.

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