Love under a bushel

This is Part 3 in a series of letters written by my grandparents to each other in 1945.

I’m going to back up a bit and start at the beginning, or at least where the letters begin. This one immediately introduces us to the secret love between my grandparents. My grandfather calls himself Milton in this letter, which was his real name. Mani seems to be a nickname that they only used sometimes. He also includes a letter sent by “Aunt Freda,” who I presume was my grandmother’s English aunt (she had English relatives, which is partly why her English was so good), and who somewhat explains the circumstances of my grandmother at this time, though not entirely. Who is this husband she refers to in the P.S.? Also, why did she call my grandmother “Freda” when as far as I knew her name was always spelled Frida?  I wish I knew.

5 February 1945

My dearest darling,

Before I write another word, I must explain the excuse I have for writing to you. You will find enclosed a letter sent to you some time ago which you gave me in order to have the address. So, I am taking this as my reason for writing.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have any reason for not writing you except that putting down on paper those thoughts I have about you is quite a difficult thing. Even when I am with you and have the opportunity to speak, I don’t say very much more than “I love you.”

Unfortunately, the circumstances are such that I can’t say more than that and even that should be said in a whisper. If it were possible I should like nothing better than the right to say “I LOVE YOU” in big red letters and as loud as I can from the rooftops of all the houses in Paris.

I’d like to dream with you of our future life together—when we shall no longer be separated and have to hide our love under a bushel. This deception is not to my liking and I am quite sure it is not to yours.

I reaffirm my pledge—give me the word and I shall start the proceedings to be free.

I SHALL LOVE YOU FOREVER, even beyond death.



66 Chapel Lane. Sands,
High Wycombe, Bucks

 7 Dec 1944

Dearest Freda,

We are very glad to have your letter dated the 14th Nov. addressed to us here, and to know that, anyway, you are safe and well. Yes, we have heard the news about you from Rita and saw a photograph you sent them, but cannot quite recognize the naughty playful young person we had at Hawkwood Mount.

It is very fortunate to hear you are working there and, in that respect, you should be as well off as you would be here in London. Yes, Freda, we can appreciate how miserable and lonely you must feel and you must not give way to depression because having got so far, probably its only a short time now to the end we have all struggled for, so keep a stout heart Freda and you know anything that can be done for you will not go without effort.

Do you think it wise to be the same place where you were before Freda, as it must, as you say, remind you every time you go in under the miserable conditions of better times. However, you should try and have some young person to live with you if you have not already done so and that would brighten up things.

Aunty Freda says you should write us a letter setting out all your troubles as to have you have been left with no parents no husband and nothing in the world to live for and describe what you have been through and she will go with it to the Home Office and endeavor to bring you over as she did Aunty Sonia and others during the first war.

Don’t forget this letter from you will been seen at the Home Office so you should write it very carefully.

You can judge from our address here Freda it has not exactly been easy for those in London either and, as a matter of fact, we have been home and had to come away several times during the last few years.

Thank goodness, however, everyone is o.k. and little the worse for the ordeal and you would hardly think there was a war on now in London or anywhere else.

Don’t worry Freda – you need not be afraid to unburden yourself to us and if it helps you to feel better you can write us all your troubles and you will be sure we can understand and sympathise with you and help you in any way possible.

The parcel you asked for is being sent on to you and no doubt you will have it in due course as you did the previous one.

Well Freda remember what is said to you here and perhaps Aunty Freda may be able to do something for you, as she is still regarded as the magician among our people here.

We both send you our love and good wishes and God bless you Freda.

Aunty Freda and Uncle Jack

 P.S. Send us your full name and how long you have been married. Is your husband Jewish? Aunty Freda sent you a long letter. Did you receive it?


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