Thursday, June 2, 2011

More of the Kindness of Strangers

This morning I opened my email to find a lovely surprise: emails from a man from Beaumaris, Wales, with gorgeous photographs attached. I had written a letter to the Beaumaris Town Council, explaining my desire to find out more about my mother's time there as a 14-year-old evacuee at the start of WWII. They put my letter in their town newsletter, which apparently just went out. (If you need to catch up on the background, read my May posts, "The Kindness of Strangers," and "One Mystery Solved").

Anyway, this nice man, Phil Roberts, read my letter and wrote this to me:


I have just read your touching letter in our local newsletter. Although I cannot help with any details I can forward you some photographs of Beaumaris  - some taken from a helicopter, others of the local scenery. From the photo attached you can see the green grass where she would have played (where all the cars are parked).  I hope you find them of interest and good luck in tracing your Mother's billet.


(Note from me: He means the green where my mother described playing in an essay she later wrote.)


I'm telling you - these people from Beaumaris are so nice!  He also said my blog was "brilliant" - I love those English expressions that make things sound much better than they actually are! But I digress....

Here are the wonderful photos that Phil sent me. Beaumaris is a beautiful town - the stuff of my fantasies.  The town sits on the Menai Strait, which creates the isle of Anglesey, Wales. That's where Kate and William have a home (you know, THE Kate and William). And, best of all, it has a castle - one of the most famous ones in Wales.

Helicopter view of the town, showing Beaumaris Castle. Where the cars are parked across from the castle is the green that my mother described playing on. Her "billet" or foster home would have been somewhere along the street facing the water.

Another helicopter view of the town

Beaumaris Church

Looking across the Menai Strait to snow-capped mountains

Rooftop view of Beaumaris


  1. Thanks for the visit, Melissa.
    You have had a bit of luck on your side this time, with your letter reaching good ears.

  2. Oh how lovely, Melissa. How nice for you to see where part of your mother's childhood took place.

  3. Oh Melissa! What a kind man! These photos are breathtaking. I swear, every time I read your blog lately, I get goose-bumps! What a beautiful, story-book-looking town! I keep forgetting to tell you that I have a Welsh background, too!! Way too much to type right now!! But, we'll "talk" I guess,via e-mail!

  4. How wonderful, Melissa:-) I do hope you receive more lovely letters/emails with information.

  5. Thanks everyone, it really is a delight to find these dear folks in my email. Everyone has been so helpful, and this Phil fellow was so kind to send the photos. His mother was also evacuated during the war, but not to Beaumaris. And she is alive and well to tell him her stories, so I think he was touched by our desire to find things out.

  6. Wow, these photos are amazing. What a great story, it's so nice to hear of such kindness, and to know someone went out of their way to help a stranger. Kudos to Phil!

    I hope you are able to learn more about your mother's time as an evacuee. I can imagine what a fascinating story that would be.

  7. Julie, the pictures just make me tingle! I don't know that I will find out much very specific about her time there, though I may find people who remember her. It would have been a small, tight group, and all the girls would have known each other.

    But regardless of what I do find out, it is the inspiration for my new book, in which I get to MAKE UP a story up what might have happened.

  8. What a beautiful town. I can see why your mother loved it there!


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