Sweet teen love letters from the 1940s.
This delightful little epistolary collection opens a window on the contrasting worlds of post-WWII London and Akron as seen through the eyes of 16-year-old Brit Stephanie Grant and her Ohioan pen pal Paul Duke, one year her senior. The year-and-a-half correspondence between the two developed after they answered notices for â€œpen friends” in their local newspapers. What began as a kind of vicarious travel adventure soon blossomed into a great friendship, resulting in Paul’s visit to London some six months later in April of 1949. (The couple married in 1950 and are still together.) Both parties’ letters abound with interesting tidbits illustrating the differing conditions in the comparably posh Akron, â€œ â€˜Rubber Capital of the World,’ ” where the snow never stays white for long, versus post-war London, where food rations and muted living were still the norm. Other points of note in these strikingly mature letters arise from entertaining linguistic differences between American English and British English. Some of the more amusing observations come from Stephanie, who writes, â€œ â€˜What a funny phrase to use, â€˜bum steer.’ The first word has an entirely different meaning over here, I’m sure.’ ” As Paul plans his trip, he questions his pronunciation of â€œThames,” and Stephanie opens her next letter with typical British urgency: â€œMy goodness! I have never been so amazed as when I read your pronunciation of Thames! You must never pronounce it as it is spelt! It is Temms. As for other places, Leicester is Lester, Gloucester is Gloster, Worcester is Wooster, and Worcestershire is Woostersheer.”
A pleasant study in the growth of young love across the Atlantic.