It was tempting to throw out the whole bundle. But I kept it to sort, and how glad I am. Because I found two letters, on blue paper and in an even, rounded handwriting that was familiar to me.
They were written by my mother-in-law's mother.
My mother was across the world, my mother-in-law was in America, and I was bereft of female relatives - except for Beena, who set herself up in the village inn, 'just to keep an eye'.
Her tender words unfurled from the page and wrapped themselves around me like a silky shawl. Our baby is 'thriving', she writes. I am 'a good little mother', and my husband 'marvellous' as he does every kind of chore 'so well and happily'. She loves to see and hear me 'playing sweet melodies' on my guitar after his early evening feed, which makes him 'quiet at once.'
A year later, things fell apart tragically, but for now I have this beautiful memory revived, through the blue pages that Beena wrote over 40 years ago. Treasure amidst the falling leaves of autumn .