Tag Archives: snail mail

Post 51. So, how old is your fiance?


I didn’t hear from Tony for about 2 weeks.  The mailbox was empty.  It was the longest I had to wait to get a letter from him.  I was upset.  I wondered if he had changed his mind.  Worse still, I wondered if he had met someone else.  My imagination ran wild. 

In the meantime, I loved my job in the engineering company in Johannesburg.  It took a while to get on with some of the German secretaries, especially Charlotte.  She was blunt and she felt it her duty to let everyone know exactly what she thought of them at any time.  No one liked her.  I made her my mission. She started to warm up to me and we became good friends. 

One day she asked me what my star sign was.  I told her I didn’t believe in horoscopes and such things.  She eventually got me to tell her when my birthday was.  She was surprised.  Apparently people under my star sign and people under her star sign didn’t get on; ever.  She had never met a person born under my star that she got on with; ever.  I didn’t fit into the “star” box.  She was surprised again when I told her what I was like as a child and how I was changing all the time.  She was concerned that Tony and I wouldn’t be compatible.  I assured her that he had also broken out of his box.  The stars had nothing to do with the changes that had taken place. They had no power to change anything.  She was fascinated.

Everyone in the office was involved in my love life. The guy who picked up the post from my desk teased me for running after Tony.   He could only see the letters going out.  He had no idea how many letters had been filling my mailbox at home.  

We had been writing for months and neither of us had thought about asking each other’s age.   After we got engaged by phone, cassette and letter, Tony thought he might as well find out.  The post guy in my office picked up my letter with the answer and posted it without a stamp.  It went to all the islands in South East Asia and it was weeks before Tony got it.  His friends in New Zealand were asking him how old his fiancé was.  He kept telling them he had no idea.  They thought he was crazy.  

It was two weeks before I heard from him.  When he called, his voice was shaky.  The police had come to their house and Tony was asked to go with them to identify a body in town.  It was his dad, Doug. He had died from a massive heart attack.  

Just a few months before that, Doug and Tony talked about their relationship, their differences and their issues.  Tony was able to totally forgive his dad.  It was a heavy, 24 year old weight off his shoulders. 

Doug had been into a big property deal in the centre of Auckland.  His risky, high powered life had taken its toll.  He was only 59. 

I felt helpless.  Tony was so emotional and I cried with him.   I felt awful for having been so selfish and also happy that we were in touch again.  He hadn’t changed his mind.  

Everyone wanted to know what was happening and when he was coming.  As soon as he had enough money; that was when he was coming.

Post 41. Snail mail and cassettes


Rolleston Place was smaller than ever.  Val had painted my room a pale pink and put all kinds of Holly Hobby figures all over it.  It was like going back to my childhood.  They were so happy to have me home.  I had gone from 48- 55kgs and they loved every bit of me.

I also arrived home to a huge bouquet of flowers and a marriage proposal.  “I know I haven’t been in touch with you for the past two years, but I want you to be my wife.  Will you?  Love, Ian.” Wilf and Val were hovering and hopeful.  I couldn’t believe the cheek.  I gave Val the flowers and put the note in the bin.

Being back in my neighbourhood was hard.  It was difficult to connect with people.  Not many were interested in my travels or experiences and not many questions were asked.  It was as if I hadn’t gone anywhere.

While I was away, Dave and Bev got married and Rigby and Sue had moved to Johannesburg to take on a small church.  Peter was working in a bank in Pietermaritzburg.  The house was quiet and I felt isolated.

I took a few months off then started to look for a job.   I accepted one with YFC and was going to start the following month.  At the same time, Rigby and Sue called and invited me to join them in Johannesburg.  It seemed to be the right thing to do so I called YFC to apologise and made my plans to move to the big city.

Tony had replied to my subtle note.  A few times actually.  Wilf and Val wondered about all the post arriving in our little tin post box.   They knew something was brewing.

Tony wasn’t going to mess around.  He did not want another girlfriend; he had had enough of those.  He was serious.   In one of his first letters he made it clear.   In the only way he knew, he said “I guess I am asking for Social Permission”.  I wasn’t going to make it easy so I replied, “What exactly do you mean by that?”   He made it clear he had marriage in mind.

By the time I moved from No 28 things were in full swing.  We were in a “serious long distance relationship.”  My address changed and Rigby and Sue had to deal with all the mail in their mailbox.

I applied for a receptionist job in an engineering company in Sandton and got it.  I worked for three companies; M.A.N, Sieva and Alsthom.   I was surrounded by naughty Germans and Frenchmen and I felt right at home.

Every day, just before lunch time, I called home to ask if any mail had arrived for me.  If the answer was yes, I jumped into my little blue VW beetle and drove home as fast as I could.  I grabbed my letter, jumped back in the car and read at every stop light, all the way back to work.   There were so many letters, I did that trip most week days.

Cassettes were my favourite.  Tony would chat and sing songs he had written.  He told me all about his day and night and everything in between.   I listened to them over and over again; especially the one where he farted while he was talking.  I couldn’t believe my ears.

He commented and laughed, but seriously, did he not know about rewinding and erasing?  I kept rewinding to make sure I had heard correctly.  I laughed so much.  That clinched it for me.  I knew we were going to have lots of fun.

I looked at the qualities I had written down years before.  He was everything I wanted in a husband.  He even played the guitar.

There were just two things I wondered about:

1. He wasn’t a pastor.

2. He was called to live in India.  Was I?