Postcard to Miss M. Judd, 2 Clifton Road, Folkstone.
August 5, 1914:
Dear Min. I am so glad you are having a nice time. Isn’t the war dreadful? My brother and his chum have volunteered for the front, starting this morning, so I don’t feel very bright over it. I’m just going to see them off. Much love, Lucy.
This postcard Lucy-to-Min was found stuffed in our basement like insulation. Against? It hadn’t stopped the next war from happening, other brothers to send off to die. We unearthed this message, written to Heather’s great-grandmother, while searching for answers to other, slightly more current questions about her uncle’s estate. He died a year ago in Vancouver, at 82.
I was on my way to sleep the other night when Heather read these words to me. They had the effect of wiping clean petty concerns just like that: who cares, I thought, that we don’t have enough milk for coffee in the morning; what difference does it make that I lost that latest bid for work at the University of Toronto; so what if arthritis is aching my big toe and it’s such a drag to wrap tensor bandages around it every day then stumble up the street for a chocolate & coconut macaroon treat at Bobbette & Belle Bakeshop.
She kissed her brother and chum goodbye, knowing she might never see them alive again.
Folkestone was a major embarkation point for troops travelling to and from Europe during the Great War. Thousands of soldiers marched down to the harbour on foot. Folkestone erected a war memorial at the head of the road leading to the harbour.
The pedestal bears the inscription: May their /Deeds be /Held in / Reverence
On the postcard, a rough, battering sea illustrates her thoughts, perhaps, as she plucked this particular card from a stack somewhere, this Lucy woman, and why did she choose to write to Min at such a time? What must it have been like to interject as though a hiccough the news of war: “isn’t the war dreadful?”