Letter From My Grandfather

Going through my father’s papers recently, he died last year but we are busy people and it takes time to sift through the clutter which is other people’s lives, I found a letter which I read almost by chance, and realised how little I knew of the man I remember as just sitting in the corner of the room watching us grow and making no comment day by day.

” Dear Son,

Uncertainty is commonplace, the mess we make of life is commonplace, but during the war in an attic far above the street, lying with a lady whose name I did not know, but with whom I had escaped capture, human first and last, clinging to each other and a sense of humanity, we listened out for every sound, as down below the German soldiers walked our streets, seeking out their enemy.

Whatever we had done, together or separately was nothing beside the aggression that invading nation exercised, whose troops destroyed our own, and whose leader spoke of order as he understood it, though below us only carnage reigned,

In a city full of rape and plunder alien troops gorged themselves on villainy until, by some miracle, they had had their fill at last and moved onto to conquer fresh landscapes expanding their empire, after laying waste our land. We lay there silently: embarrassingly intimate as fear cast aside conditioning and wondered where the road to safety lay. We spoke in whispers, planned our escape which for now just meant lying there in stillness while darkness filled the room.

At last the city returned to something approaching normal and somehow we survived. The war of which I write seems unrepeatable but everything, I fear, is repeatable.

When you read this I will be gone to join your Mum, the lady who lay beside me on that night, and hopefully we shall find our peace at last.

May you, my son, know nothing of that world, and live to treasure those who touch your life. Time and again man imprints his chaos on the world around him but I pray you live in a period marked by harmony.



About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, creative writing, Fiction, Humanity, Peter Wells, Understanding and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Letter From My Grandfather

  1. A story lived by many people, and now given words by you in your own, thoughtfull and sensitive way. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. mikesteeden says:

    In terms of our British mongrel breed, born post WW2, we’ve had it easy. You tale makes that point without saying as much. Superb.


    • We have but will our children be able to say the same. That is always my concern!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mikesteeden says:

        I agree. Moreso since Brexit, let alone the serious nutters all over the planet. I’ve 4 offspring and a growing pile of grandchildren. I think this mongrel nation of ours overlooks the point that for every decade in modern history the nations of Western Europe were at war. Nearly 8 decades on (a record) we haven’t been at war in these parts. Because of European’s acting collectively. With the rise of the far right here and there I see it coming; see the seeds of disaster about the continent. We should be in there with them to keep that far right in its place. Sorry, I seem to have got carried away there…mind, that’s what fine words you write should provoke!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I feel we may be on the same wavelength here. I’m not surprised !


  3. Al says:

    And to think, today’s youth need “safe spaces” when they are offended by something someone said. They should all read this to find out about real safe spaces. Or watch the movie “The Pianist.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Brilliant as ever. (Should “Grandma” in the penultimate paragraph not be “Mother”??)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The hopes of us as parents often revolve around a peaceful world for our children, yet they never seem to see this until it’s too late. No blame attached – it just seems to be the way of things. Sad to think that there has been more conflict since WW2 than in previous history.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. wdfyfe says:

    Excellent, as usually, with a conservation of words that gives it just the right mood and — dare I say it — realism.


  7. ksbeth says:

    this is so bittersweet and beautifully written –


  8. Dare I say, at least something good came out of it???


  9. Tender, beautiful and heartbreaking. I felt every word of your tale to the core.


  10. Heartbreakingly beautiful, Peter.


  11. joey says:

    Very beautifully written. Just wonderful.


  12. ASH says:

    Was worth reading several times.
    True craft.


  13. This is brilliant – moving and thought provoking.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. nelle says:

    How fortunate we have been to not have lived through such a time. How stupid we are for making it again possible. Really poignant writings, these last two.


  15. I think they were of a generation we will never see again – born and reared in a world completely different to ours, with different senses of duty and responsibility than seems to be the norm today – hardship and sacrifice borne with dignity and even humour, with no sense of entitlement. We may never know their like again.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh my lord. This was a heartwarming piece of storytelling. I absolutely loved it. Thank you so much for sharing it this way. All the best to you. I’ll return to read again. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. When will we ever learn to chose the heroes that keep us from the terrors in the night, rather than send us forth to confront them?


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