Many people dream of finding a hidden treasure: an old masterpiece stored for generations in an attic, a priceless Chinese vase which has been used as a door stop, or a valuable statue used as a garden ornament. My own treasure was of a different kind; its whereabouts and origin were well known to me from when I was very young, and it was simply waiting to be explored, not found.
I knew that my parents had written a very large number of letters to each other when they first got to know each another just a few weeks after the Second World War ended. The letters have always been kept in two suitcases dating from the time when they were written. I thought that, out of respect for my parents, I would not look at these letters until after they had both died.
When I started reading the letters, it very soon became apparent to me that they had a value not just as the history of my family, but in a far wider context, since they depicted a situation applicable to countless thousands of young couples in Britain at that time.
In addition to the letters I have inherited large numbers of documents and mementos from those days, including medals, army uniform, receipts for all kinds of things, ration coupons, photographs, the invitation to my parents’ wedding, and much more. It seemed to me that these letters, illustrated by photographs of the artefacts and relevant documents, constituted the basis for a fascinating book, which would be not just a history of that time, but also a love story of a young couple who were brave, resilient, and full of hope, not to mention downright entertaining.
Creating the book was a very moving experience for me, and, at this time when the end of the Second World War is so much in the news, I hope that people like my parents will always be in our thoughts. They were among the lucky survivors from the Second World War, but it can still be said of them: “For your Tomorrow, we gave our Today”.
Wendy Williams is a translator and reviser, with academic qualifications in foreign languages, literature, and translation. Originally from Rochdale in Lancashire, she now lives in the East Midlands. Reading, writing, and social and family history are amongst her great passions. She is also a partner in a small music production business.