Become a Fan
By Edna Sweetlove
Monday, January 01, 2007
Rated "R" by the Author.
A sad tale about an old folks home.
Eighty-seven year old Raymond Ward had been a resident of the Newark Home for the Aged for only two weeks. He was just beginning to grow accustomed to the institutionalisation to which his relatives had kindly condemned him. A little old man now, he had been strong in his far off youth and was impatient with his physical failings. His hair was white but at least he still had some. He looked out over the gardens towards the women's wing; it was raining gently. He knew which window was hers.
He had spoken to her only twice; he was a reserved man and words did not come easily; he could remember their uncertain conversations, but what he recalled better was the light in her eyes, which sparkled in spite of her age. Her name was Charlotte and she was beautiful to him.
He had acted impulsively and sent her a present. It had not been easy: he had needed to persuade Nurse Edwards to go and buy it, attach his note and deliver it yesterday. He had slept badly, thinking what Charlotte's response to his gift might be. The door opened and he looked up.
"Hello, Mr Ward! And how are we today? I'm thinking you're going to be happy with what I have here!" twinkled and teased Nurse Edwards, holding out the envelope. The handwriting was old fashioned and shaky but quite clear.
Newark Home for the Aged
14th February 1955
Dear Mr Ward (may I call you Raymond?)
I wanted to thank you for the lovely gift of your portable radio. It is a wonderful thing when a virtual stranger like yourself does something so kind and spontaneous. I am now 83 years of age and have been in this home for the past nine years. They treat me well, but the loneliness is sometimes hard to bear. But I think I told you some of that during our little chats.
As you know, I share a room with Mrs James who has had a radio for many years, but she won't allow me to touch it and she turns it off when I come into the room. Thanks to you I now have a lovely radio of my own.
My Son and Daughter are both very kind, they visit me one Sunday every month, but I know they only come from a sense of duty, which is why your gift is all the more wonderful as it was given out of compassion for a fellow human being.
You will be interested to know that today Charlotte (Mrs James)'s radio went wrong and she asked me if she could listen to mine so as not to miss her favourite serial. You cannot imagine how much joy I got from telling her to fuck off.
Thank you once again Raymond,
Charlotte Ross (Mrs)
Raymond read the letter through twice. He was moved to tears by her brutal honesty. By Christ, Charlotte was the girl for him.
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