Archive for the ‘letters to a sister’ Category

Miss Beeton and Miss Wagner would love to invite you to a genteel letter-writing workshop.  Please do come along!

Dear fellow letter-writers, supporters and friends,

Ethel May Beeton and Dolores Wagner are proud to announce that their up-coming letter-writing workshop has been profiled in the Heidelberg Leader. We trust that the accompanying image does not make us appear overly stern. We remain, as always, firm but kind.

We would love you to join us on 28 and 29 August 2010 at Ivanhoe Library for the Lost Arts Festival. Our workshops will commence at 11am and 3pm on Saturday and 2pm and 4pm on Sunday. Stationery, pens, postbox, and a genteel environment conducive to letter-writing, will all be provided. Do come if you can!

There are many other worthy offerings at the Lost Arts Festival. The full program is here: http://www.banyule.vic.gov.au/Assets/Files/2855%20BAN%20LArts%20program_JUL26b.pdf

We remain, dear friends, yours truly.

Ethel May Beeton and Dolores Wagner


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Miss Wagner and I both recommend the practice of encouraging children to write letters to their friends and family.  In this letter, the writer is an eight-year-old child writing to her older sister who is abroad.  While the letter has a certain stream-of-consciousness quality, it provided much amusement to the reader.

Dear Anna

I really miss you so much.  This is a picture of how much I miss you_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

but that’s only minus 10,000 how much.  I’m at school at the moment, but I’m having a pretty good time.  It’s still pretty good having Mrs Stevens and that.  Mrs Stevens, the best thing about having her as a teacher is that she always has a good idea for art.  Every week she has something for us to do.

Acting school is good but the best thing about it is that after the last play we did everybody had a really good feeling that all the audience had had a great time and that we’d done a really good job.  The last play we did was about a coffee shop and a market and Peter Piper who steals a peck of pickled peppers.  I was a waitress in the coffee shop.  I had the hardest line in the play.  It was: a proper cup of coffee in a proper copper coffee cup.  It was so much fun standing up there in front of about 60 people saying those lines but that was in June.  I’m in a new play now called Traffic Jam and the Chicken Joke.

So.  I had my party last night.  It’s Saturday so we had to clean up the mess.  But for 10 girls all 8 years old 6 litres of fizzy drink is a lot.  But the party was ok.  Some of us got hurt at the park and some of us got so hot that if we stopped breathing for 6 seconds we really did look like a radish.

My party also was a pancake party except I didn’t get a piece of my own cake or a pancake because Mum didn’t make enough.  But you can’t blame Mum, because it just goes to show that you should not get packeted things because they never come out actually having 36 pancakes.  They turn out only having 11.  What I didn’t like was that Dad threw out the last piece of cake which I had waited for till last like a real gentleman.  Not saying that I really want to be a real gentleman.  Still it could be quite fun, so I would not mind if I woke up one morning and I was in a tuxedo.

I suppose you know that we will probably be getting a new Kingswood or we will never go on holidays again.  Unless you want to walk to Bournda.  Or use Nana and Pa’s car except that they would not have enough room to fit in and nobody is going to get me in that car to sit on the floor for ten hours driving to Bournda.  Nobody.

And I also thought that I might tell you this last in case you get upset but the Bombers lost against Geelong.  But Essendon one the better song lyrics because Geelong’s song is like this, listen to this if you think Essendon’s song is boring:  We are the best YES YES YES YEAH because we are Geelong bym bym bym bym BECAUSE we are Geelong bum bum bum. Essendon were still winning at half time except they lost the game.



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To my dear sister

I have in front of me a copy of the card of invitation to my birthday gathering, ready to send to my guests.  I must thank you for the excellent work that you have done to transform my scrawled notes into such a charming design.  I am most taken by your fine use of colour and space and, of course,  your clever choice of typeface.  How attractive!  I will send this card to my guests with great pride. 

Looking at your work reminds me that I have long been a great fan of your sense of style and proportion, which you bring to all your endeavours.

I hope that you accept the sincerity of my praise and the heartfelt thanks that I offer.  I could not wish for a more talented sister. 

Adieu, my dear sister,

And with love always,

Ethel May Beeton

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To my dear sister

May I tell you of a recent outing?  I hope that it may amuse you, being so fond of travel as you are.  Perhaps it may prompt you to accompany me when we next set out?

Our party included Mr Lawrie; Mr Lawrie’s school friend and his sister; and my dear friend Miss Wagner.  As you might imagine, the conversation was sprightly, despite the early hour.  We spoke at length of books and of the passing scenery.  In all, the journey proceeded in a most enjoyable fashion, despite a penetrating smell of cabbage from our packed lunch. 

We stopped in Healesville for a light breakfast.  As we ate our meals, who should we see but our Premier, the Hon. John Brumby!  Mr Lawrie reported that he ordered a “snot block”, although I am unable to confirm this report.

From Healesville, we crossed over the Black Spur.  The forest there is greener than I anticipated, given the devastation of the fires.  In parts, the tree ferns have returned and the mountain ash are furry with new growth.  As you can imagine, Marysville is much changed.

As we drove on towards the mountain, the sun shone through rows of blackened trees.  Mr Lawrie’s school friend compared this sight to Mr Lawrie’s head (which as you know, is styled in quite a short and spiky hair cut).  To me, however, it had an eery beauty that only increased as we met the snow line.

The purpose of our trip was to journey the mountain on skis.  For Miss Wagner, this skiing expedition was a first, and it proved quite difficult on the icy lower slopes.  However, after great perseverance on her part, she grew in confidence and we were soon racing along the snowy upper trails.

I find that activity and a brisk temperature often result in a fine hunger.  After an hour of skiing, we stopped for a lunch of soup and bread, tea and biscuits.  Despite its questionable cabbage odour, the soup was hearty and warming.  The meal restored our energy for an afternoon of most enjoyable skiing.  On the upper parts of the mountain, the snow was plentiful and the trails were undulating.  The landscape was spectacular and wild, with fire damaged trees in stark contrast to the white snow.  Even better, the atmosphere on the trails was most jovial, with all we met in good spirits with the fine conditions.

On our return, we stopped for a warming coffee in Marysville.  Perhaps it was due to my sensitivity to coffee, but our conversation became quite heated as we discussed the relative merits of new technologies.  Given the lively debate, it seemed that we were home in no time, to unpack our damp clothes and reflect on the merits of the day.

I hope that I have not bored you with this long account of our outing.  It was a most enjoyable day.  Perhaps the two of us might travel together soon?  I would love to hear from you, especially of your plans for the coming months.

Yours always,

Your most affectionate sister,

Ethel May Beeton

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