Letters for a Man Called Reg

This we did for many years until one September, no birthday card turned up in my mailbox from Reg. I gave it a few days in case the mail was delayed but each day I walked to the mailbox was a day without a card from Reg. Then Christmas arrived; I sent the usual card with a letter and up-to-date photos of the kids in the hopes of hearing back but no card arrived from him.

Reg would have been in his 80’s by then and I was more than a little concerned. It was with a heavy heart that I sent him his birthday card in January, hoping beyond hope that I would hear from him. I asked my mum to try to find out from some of her old friends who had once lived in the area but any contacts who might have known Reg had long gone. I had no choice but to wait for news, if any.

Many months later, I did receive news but not in the way I had expected. Collecting my mail one afternoon, stuffed in the mixed bundle of bills, flyers and junk mail was a formal-looking envelope addressed to me and sent by airmail from the UK. It looked as if it was from a firm of lawyers and I was right.

Panic rose up inside me as I hurriedly ripped open the envelope and yanked the letter out. Scanning the words held out before me on the crisp, neatly typed letter, I found out all I needed to know about Reg. His lawyer was writing to inform me that he had died shortly before Christmas after a short illness and that, according to his will, I was to receive a small legacy.

Relieved to at least know the truth about Reg, yet deeply sad at the loss of my dear friend, I was stunned to read that he had left me money in his will and tears spilled out onto the letter still clasped in my shaking hands.

I knew that Reg didn’t have much; a modest, rented home and a few sticks of furniture was about it. He had never moved from his tiny, terraced house with the coal fireplace by which his beloved dog Pip, who had died many years before, had curled up on many a cold, winter’s night. Now Reg was gone too and the world felt a little emptier for me that day.

Later than evening as I pondered the contents of the lawyer’s letter, I realised that Reg’s legacy was his way of thanking me for keeping my promise to keep writing to him and his unexpected and kindly gesture moved me deeply.

The power of letter writing is something I fear we have forgotten in our too-busy world. I am so grateful that we kept our long-ago promises to one another to keep writing and that I was privileged to discover just how much a few letters and cards with family news really meant to my old friend, a man called Reg.

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  1. Lovely, poignant piece, and so well written. Thank you~

  2. Thank you very much Shelly, I’m so glad that you enjoyed it.

  3. This is a heartwarming, touching piece, Sherri. I feel for Reg and his wife and understand why he wanted to leave you something. You must have been like a daughter to him and made him very happy.

  4. What a lovely surprise Tess! Thank you so much for reading this piece and yes, I’m so glad that Reg and I kept in touch for all those years…

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