216 Clydesdale Road
March 23rd, 2017
My dear Johnny-Boy,
It’s so wonderful to have another letter from you. And just a miracle we should be “talking” to each other across almost seventy years. Does this happen to anyone else? And the dates of our letters are getting closer together. Maybe it will not be long before we are meeting in the middle!
It’s all bringing back memories I haven’t thought of in many many years. I feel like we are two quite different people: old John and young John. You have almost your whole life before you, while most of mine is behind me. It’s hard to believe I have been retired for almost ten years, ever since I moved to Canada. And that I worked as a doctor for forty years in England, Scotland, and America. And before any of that I was a student at St Bartholomew’s Hospital medical college in the city of London for seven more years. All of that is way ahead of you.
Well, in a way we are two different people. Later on you will learn all about how our bodies are made up of more than a trillion (which equals a million-million-million) tiny cells. And you will hear about something called DNA (much too difficult to write out what its stands for!), that is in every one of these cells. This is the one thing that makes every one of us different from each other. So it has always been exactly the same in you and me, but on the outside we are totally different. Actually on the inside too, but now I’m getting into pretty deep waters, so I’ll keep that tale for another day. (Don’t forget, if anything I write is too hard to understand, you have Mummy to help you out. I know she would love to).
You asked me to tell you about how I came to live in Canada, and also about Dorothy. Well, these two things are closely connected. Because Dorothy was born in Canada, and I came to live here all because of her. She was a professor at the university in Antigonish where we live. Both of us had been married before, but Dorothy’s husband, Patrick, died, and she came to Gainesville, in Florida, the town where I was a doctor and professor at the university. She took a car journey of over two-thousand miles, and she had never even filled her own gas tank before (“gas” is what they call petrol here). She was attending a course that I was helping to run, because she couldn’t decide what she was going to do with herself now that Patrick was gone.
I ended up taking her to the hospital wards where I worked, and she got to meet some of the children I was looking after as patients. So we got to know each other a bit, and were both quite sad when she had to go back to Canada. But we kept in close touch, and it didn’t take long before we arranged to meet again. And believe it or not, we decided then and there to retire and get married (imagine, two people in their sixties getting married!). We decided to live in Dorothy’s house here in Nova Scotia, and we got married in our living room!
That was ten years ago, and we’re living happily ever after, like they say in fairy tales. It’s a pretty romantic story, I think, so I hope you won’t think I’m getting too sloppy.
Do please write to me again. I want to hear much more about what you are learning at St Peter’s, the sports you are playing, and what you are getting up to with your friends. Just whatever you want to tell me. Give big hugs to Mummy and your sisters (if you’re not too old for hugs already).
Lots and lots of love to you, John