Always Your Own, Allan
Edited and written by Julie Easton.
ISBN 978-0-85905-559-8, (2013, New), A4, 60pp, illustrated, 210 grams.
$22.00* + POST
A love story; a social history of farming and community life; a snapshot of the concerns and issues facing young people in the late 1930s in the south-west of Western Australia in the late 1930s.
A tentative, awkwardly brash first letter inviting an attractive girl seen at the local footie match in August 1938 to the Red Cross Ball:
Before I go any further I’d like to apologise if that is not your Christian name and if I’ve spelt your surname wrongly. I thought I heard some one call you Joy once. Maybe I didn’t, but damn it, a chap must address you by some name or other and I think Joy as good as most. Your surname was spelt for some misdemeanour or other in our local paper. After that explanation I hope I’ll be forgiven for all errors and omissions.
So begins a twenty-month correspondence and courtship between Allan Evans, a 21-year-old Brookton farmer, and Joyce Bardi, the teacher at the one teacher school at Aldersyde. Overshadowed by the experience of the Great Depression and the threat of war, these letters express the optimism of youth, the love of farming and the lively social life enjoyed by rural communities at a time when transport was limited, telephones unreliable, and relationships were developed and explored through letters: a very different world from the texting, tweeting, instant love affairs of today.
From the farm to the forces, Allan’s letters show a different country and evoke the sense of loss of innocence, even of those turbulent times, compared to our knowing, and unfortunate age.
For those whose roots are in the farmlands and country towns of that time, these letters will bring in a rush of memories of what once was.