From the Phil Bateman Family Archives-Family history is important

From the Phil Bateman Family Archives.
Family history is important, and when you receive letters or snippets of information, right at the time you receive them, you aren’t thinking much about how they will read a few years on. If you are like me you will extricate the news and its relevance then and there!
Maybe take the information on board in your head and then chuck the letter
Fortunately, I seem to have hoarded a fair few of mine!
Now I am reading the letters again, after decades in some cases, the emotions roll back, and there are still some lovely comments to extract which remind you how our lives have changed, and are still changing.
In a letter dated the 11th July 1976, My Nan writes to Mary and me about the weather in Toronto that month.
My Nan was born in Wolverhampton in 1887 and died in Toronto Canada in 1980.
She was aged 93 then, and a wonderful church going lady. she was christened Mary Ellen Blower, and she married my Grandfather – Joseph Lawrence Bateman on the 16th February 1907 at All Saints Church Wolverhampton.
The Bateman family emigrated to Canada in 1923.
My Nan was still ‘very English’ despite her long time living and bringing up a family in Canada.
This came through in this letter’ She started in her letter with a paragraph about the weather. Well most English people start up a conversation about the weather and My Nan told it as is was on the that date in July.
She wrote” It’s terrible here, cold wet and foggy! We have never had weather like this?” Writes nan.
I recall I had written to her to tell her that Mary and I were going to visit, she was 89 then and living in a high-rise block of Apartments Number 701 Schuter Street Toronto.
She was living an independent life, and she loved it!
When we visited later that year, we had lunch with Nan and she cooked for us in her apartment. It was cosy apartment and she had a great view of the new CN Tower being built. This CN Tower held the record for the world’s tallest free-standing structure for 32 years until 2007 I remember our conversation over the lunch table, and Nan explained how she used to watch the progress of the tower, explaining in much detail of how the helicopters had played a role in its construction.
But back to her letter.
Nan wrote “by the time you get here it may be warmer!
There was lots of family chit chat, but re-reading the letter now indicates that the time of the ‘letter mail’ was already coming to an end.
Nan wrote,” it was so nice to talk to your Mom and Dad on the telephone, it only cost $12 dollars and it was worth it, I will have to call more often.”
As I have remarked earlier it’s the social history that is contained in these letters, that catch you and sometimes gives you an insight into their lives.
I noticed that on the back of the letter that the tag in the address was not that of her Christian name – In the family and amongst her friends she was known as ‘Nell’ , and that was what the “N” on the name tag told you. Mrs N Bateman. Clearly, she was very much at home with being called Nell.
I just wonder what Nan would think now, as electronic mail, and other new technology is developed. Our messages whip across the world from person to person. On telephones and home computers.
No one in 1973 would have thought that the letter and the ’bluey’ would suffer such a decline as they have now – would they! That in itself is part of all our social history.

Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more