Dear Mum and Dad,
Guess what? Next week Paul and I are going to Bermuda. It's our turn-the last ones in our family-to visit this island of paradise. And what really excites me the most is that we're hopefully going to retrace some of your steps, and see the things you saw for the first time, decades ago.
Our sister Sue (and John) have so generously invited us to stay with them in their apartment. Do you remember when the suggestion was made for you to go in the early 1970’s? Whilst we have been fortunate enough to have visited many far flung places around the world, you had never ventured further than Blackpool for family holidays, in England. Outside England I think there was only an odd trip to Dad's homeland, Ireland, and one holiday in the Isle of Man.
Because I can't ask either of you, I wonder what did you feel like when the time came for you to go? I vaguely remember the excitement at home. You had never been on an aeroplane before, and I can imagine you thought that going to Bermuda was as remarkable as flying to the moon. Sue and then boyfriend John gave you an experience of a lifetime, and you returned full of exciting tales about your adventure. With the help of music cassette tapes, you described the unique sound of the steel bands and calypso songs such as 'yellow bird'.
When your photos were developed you showed us images of vibrant, colourful fish, even more colourful cocktail drinks, turquoise sea, and blindingly sunny skies. I remember you telling us about eating 'brunch'. Like you, we'd never heard of the word. With gawping mouths we tried to imagine (but how could we?) the banquet style breakfast-come-lunch, with delight!
Being working class through and through, I’m sure you never dreamed of being in a position where you would visit anywhere as remotely exotic or as far away as Bermuda. I wonder if you really knew where the island was in the world? Oh Jim and Kathleen, you didn't know what was to come when you got home.
So sadly, eight years later, you died Dad, and left us. Too, too young. And there was more ill health and further sadness in store for the whole family.
But we'll be thinking of you both as we step off the plane next week, and I'll be humming the song you played non stop on your return- Bermuda is Another World
Loving you always, Sheena xx