A French made embroidered silk card sent from France by Oz to Myrtle, 10 May 1916.
Just a few lines before I stumble into bed. We are at present out of the trenches. I have not very much to do & have a fairly quiet time. We go to bathing parades about four times a week. You can imagine how nice it is having a hot bath & a clean change of underclothes so often especially after the peninsula.
We get the English papers here every day & are well posted with news. Excuse anymore at present dearest hoping you are well, also all out your way.
Xxxxxx – Ozzie -"
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've spent a lot of this Christmas/New Year period working on
transcribing the letters and postcards I scanned with Pam on my
last trip to Mildura. While a lot of the content I I was initially interested
in focused on those that were written while Oz (Pam's grandfather)
was setting up his block it's impossible not to be drawn into piecing
together the letters as a timeline.
The more we transcribe the more we want to read, to understand
what happened before - its like a book where the chapters have been
mixed up and you want to understand how everything fits together.
context is everything
This is a beautiful postcard we found amongst all the letters,
dated 29 February 1916.
"Dearest Myrtle, I suppose you will have most of the letters I have written since Xmas. I hope so at any rate. By the time you receive this I hope to be away from here & hope to be able to put the address on my letters. As there is absolutely no news to tell you so will say goodbye for the present. Yours lovingly Ozzie."
This is one of the fantastic postcards we discovered in
Myrtle Edward's suitcase. Her future husband 'Ozzie'
sent it home to Australia from France in April 1916.
He writes "...we are having beautiful sunny weather here
now and at times when we are away from the firing line
you would hardly know there was a war on."
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