Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Uncle Tom

post: 2 class
date: 19 November    
Year: 1964.
Cost   5d  ( 5 cents)
Yes a long time ago?

This is a letter that I received from a friend of mine in Hobart Tasmania  

I always knew him
as Uncle Tom.
but in fact his name was
Edward Stanford.
Aged 80 years  approx

I was first introduced to Uncle Tom by my girlfriend, I believe
he was her uncle and he lived in a converted garage on the corner of her fathers property.

When I would go and visit I made a point of looking out for him,because I found him interesting to talk to, also from our first hand shake, he was my friend.

Often Josephine would ask "what we talked about?" and I always smiled and said "the mountain," and he did at times, Mt Wellington dominates the city of Hobart, a grand sight with it's organ pipes stretching up to 4000 feet.

Over the 8 months I was posted to Hobart I had many talks with Uncle Tom.
He spent his whole life on a farm outside of Hobart, he was a small man who wore baggy trousers with straps as well as a waist belt, and boots, always wore a trilby hat on his head and always had a smile on his face which was white and his nose was pink with a twinkle in his eye.

His life long dream was to drive a tractor, which at the age of 67 years he realised and loved it.
One day I asked if he had ever been married, he looked down and said "no" and went quite.
I changed the subject to tractors, I could see it was not an easy subject for him.

When I left Tasmania we wrote a few letters to each other, his were not unlike this one, which I kept.
I also put two of them in a bottle and threw them over the side of my yacht whilst crossing the Irish sea.

They were so personal; A pouring out of his emotions, Pulling at the strings of my heart, to hear an old man's pain.
It was possible the first time I realised how hurt he felt.
He wrote of his lady, gently always in a quite way,
saying how much he loved her, but was too shy to talk to her, so he lost her.
How he witnessed her getting married in the local church in his village,
and how he nearly went crazy in his grief, wanting to take his own life! blaming himself  for losing his love because he was too shy.

Later in their lives they became good friends and they had many a good chats in the village and he came to terms with his life.
She never knew.

I don't remember what I wrote back, I tried to keep him up to date with the aeroplanes I was flying and what we were doing with them as he had showed a lot of interest in them, well as always in these things our letters stopped, I reckon he must have died.

I landed in Hobart a few years later and went looking for Uncle Tom and Josephine and her family,
story from a neighbour was that the men had died and Josephine and her mother had gone to Melbourne.
So that's the end of Uncle Toms story,
it may be of no interest to other people, I just wanted to remember him.
For his epitaph I would just like to say.

"He was a good and kind,honest man, who I called friend".



  1. How very sad, but he had you that he could share this with. We all have regrets but not taking a chance at that one love affects us all our life.

  2. So true, thank you for your comments agman

  3. Dear Agman, it was interesting to me! I love hearing snippets from your life and about the people you met. Thank you so much for sharing this, I found it sad and yet strangely uplifting.

  4. Uncle Tom was just a man like me, but my friend he will always be.
    Thank you for your kind comment, Agman


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