Inside there is a pencil note, ghostly after all these years. That’s it on the right. In case you can’t read it: “To Neil from Jeanette”. I posted her picture here in October 2008: An old picture…, and you can see more on the pages About the Whitfields: family pics for my brother and About the Whitfields: Wandering Willie’s Tales. You may read my mother’s account of what happened to her in About the Whitfields: loss.
Even after such a long time – she died 14/15 January 1952 – I find I think of her at this time of year. So does my brother, who was 16 at the time. I was 8. Amazing how much I remember though. Last night a flash memory came unbidden as I was walking down Cleveland Street and an ambulance went screaming by. Apparently in the ambulance on the way to hospital, sirens wailing, she said I would be jealous because I would have loved the ride. I recalled that last night for some reason. Had’n’t thought of that detail for years. “Small things can pit the memory like a cyst” as James McCauley wrote.
It is a fluke that I still have the card. It was in the drawer of my grandfather’s bureau, which I have carried with me for decades wherever I go. I found it and a couple of postage stamps (right) a few years back. I thought they were long gone.