Oz and Myrtle's granddaughter Pam has very kindly given us permission to share some of the transcripts of their letters on this project site. We suspect he sent her this card in 1915 when he was courting her. He met her when she was 16 on a haystack ride, he was 18 years old. The picture title reads 'The Eyes Say No, The Lips Say yes'!
"Dear Myrtle, you will think me a very queer sort not writing to you as promised. I intended asking you out to an evening but as bad luck would have it I caught a fresh cold and had to stay in bed for a couple of days, then our regimental half yearly pay was to be given out & and I did not know what night I would have to attend. I am expecting I will have to go up one night this week, so if you could spare an evening next week I would be delighted. You could write & let me know. I could meet you in town, hoping you are in good health. I am Yours Sincerely Ozzie."
I came across this story about Roman Tritz in the Wall Street Journal some time ago, it relates to the post world war II medical treatment of mentally ill ex-servicemen in America and is well worth a look. While it relates to a later period of time and in a different country I'm very interested in exploring Australia's own treatment programs for mental health in the future. There is a short film to be found at this link and from there you can explore their story on post war lobotomies in the US.
I had a fantastic week in Melbourne and was particularly pleased to see Love and Sorrow at the Melbourne Museum. They have a fabulous website set up for the exhibition which I've added to the reading section of his site. Of particular interest to me was the Life after War section. The subject is vast and must have been a huge challenge for the curatorial team. The exhibition runs to August 2016 so there is plenty of time to get there. I highly recommend a visit - confronting but important.
Image: Prosthetic arm from Caulfield Hospital. Source - Museum Victoria collection (via love and sorrow.com)
thanks to all for the help with this! the consensus is that the mystery word in the previous post is 'batching' as in bachelor.
This is the relevant excerpt from the letter......(a Red Cliffs soldier settler writing to his future wife who was living in Melbourne, 15th Sept. 1921).
"Your dear old letter arrived yesterday, it was a lovely old letter full of cheer. Just the kind of tonic I was in need of. You are just the dearest & sweetest girl in the world sharing my worries & troubles. I also wish with all my heart that you were here with me, then all the big worries would be as nothing compared with the joy of having you always near to comfort me. This batching life is rotten to say the least of it. I often dream of our future home with all its comforts and you darl. Just the biggest part of all. Its horrible to have to break my thoughts & look round in an 8x10 tent with flies buzzing round & everything untidy “ugh”."
image: a piece of bracken fern found in a letter from the suitcase
We've hit a wall on transcribing. There is a word in this sentence that I just cannot figure out, nor can anyone else I've shown - can anyone help? please?
The section reads:
"This ???????? life is rotten to say the least of it. I often dream of our future home with all its comforts and you darl, just the biggest part of it. Its horrible to have to break my thoughts & look round in an 8 x 10 tent with flies buzzing round & everything untidy "ugh". "
Katy Mutton is a Canberra based, Australian Visual Artist whose practice is informed by an ongoing concern around trauma and warfare and how these relate to our cultural identity and history. For more information on her artwork visit www.katymutton.com