Love is blind, as far as the eye can see….

Dear Amy,

You’d probably imagine, that by this time in the future, relationships have become simpler – you’d be wrong. Often they are a timeless, endless web of misunderstandings, second-guessing and fear. Fear of losing the person that you’re fighting to keep. Fear of commitment, but fear of heartbreak. Fear of being tied down; fear of being eternally lonely.

“Do you really mean it about coming up to London with me? It sounds far too exciting to be true. Do make the ‘will’ very, very strong, so that you’ll find a way.”[1]

“There is no doubt that from this moment on Amy became Hans’s mistress, or as he would euphemistically term it, she became his petite amie. She was obviously a willing collaborator, although one suspects that Hans had made her more compliant by encouraging her to read the works of writers who advocated for the concept of ‘free-love’ and the ‘emancipated woman’. [2]

“You would accept me gladly as a mistress, but not as a wife.”

“Up to the time of that drive to Brid on Easter Sunday two years ago you only felt a slight interest in me, although I suppose you know I loved you (or thought I did). After that drive, when you presumed somewhat on my ignorance, your interest gradually increased. You found yourself attracted towards me physically, and enjoyed teaching me the things I ought to have known. It seemed that your interest gradually grew, until you loved me – but only physically. I have been sure, practically always, that if I forbade you to touch me, and was strong enough to keep to my decision, you would gradually feel your love growing less. But I have never been strong enough to keep to it, though I have tried often, there has always been something to cause me to give way.

One time after we had had a talk and you assured me you wanted to marry me, but you insisted I must let you love me as you wanted to, and I gave way because I persuaded myself it was all right when we really were going to be married and belong to each other properly.” [3]

“It was unusual for middle-class young ladies from the provinces to break the social taboos that were then still in place…”[4]

A relationship should have two sides – two equal sides.  A romantic relationship between two people has to be consensual; trusting, deeply rooted in mutual respect, and if you are lucky enough – love.

A sexual relationship today has become a very normal part of a blossoming romance – no longer is a couple expected to wait until they are married/have made a commitment to each other, and neither does the couple necessarily have to declare their love for each other before showing their physical affection for each other. But in today’s modern society, does it mean that physical expression of love has become devalued?

In general, society has given relationships and the culture of ‘dating’ a lot more freedom, but there is a lot of societal and peer pressure on young people to jump into sexual relationships before they are necessarily ready. More and more, young people are exposed through the media to celebrities ‘sexualising’ music, television ‘soaps’ covering highly controversial storylines and easily accessible websites with sexual content – even on social media sites.

“Ever since you knew me you found out that you had a power over me, which you haven’t hesitated to make the most of through constant subjugation of my will to yours. And – as it turns out – a vain attempt to reform my character into how I thought you would have it – I have practically lost what personality and individuality I ever had. You have shaken my confidence in my own abilities – which you declare don’t exist – and you have filled my mind instead with a sense of my own inferiority and unworthiness as compared to your absolute superiority over me…”

A person should never have to feel like they ‘need’ to give the other person what they want in order to stay in a relationship. If you are feeling pressured in a relationship, or as though you have to ‘give way’ so the other person gets what they want (which may not necessarily be what you want), then maybe that relationship has become incredibly unhealthy.

“I have allowed everything to be coloured by your influence – I don’t blame you. I blame myself. I’ve been a fool – a blind idiot. I refuse to see what evidently was apparent to everyone else.”[5]

Sometimes, we don’t see what is right in front of us. We can become blind to infuriating, ever-lasting, incurable feelings of love for another person. But with that love should come respect – for each other and for ourselves. If your fear of losing someone has outweighed all self-respect, then how do you find the inner strength to assess the situation and try to move on?

“You haven’t broken my heart, but you have made me very bitter. I know you will find this letter just as funny as you find the rest of my most intimate feelings. When I tell you you’ve hurt me, you laugh. But I think some day you will have something to answer for. You say you love me, but what is your love worth when you let me go away for always without an effort to stop me? I still love you, and I can’t believe that all I have written is true. If only you could tell me it isn’t.”[6]

My heart breaks for you, Amy. I’m sorry that you felt such a loss of self-respect that you let fear of losing Hans completely take over you, and make your decisions for you. I know you see that now, but I fear this is not the end, is it?

Once upon a time I was falling in love, now I’m only falling apart…

Amy Johnson letters used with kind permission of Hull Local Studies Library, Hull History Centre

Links:

‘Do you respect yourself enough to move on from bad relationships?’ http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12322/do-you-respect-yourself-enough-to-move-on-from-bad-relationships.html

‘Sex in society: too much raunch, too young’ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/8998434/Sex-in-society-too-much-raunch-too-young.html

https://www.brook.org.uk/your-life/category/relationships

 

[1] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 10 December 1924

[2] Luff, Amy Johnson: Enigma in the Sky, 47

[3] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter].1926

[4] Luff, Amy Johnson: Enigma in the Sky, 47

[5] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter].1926

[6] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 8 August 1926

Who cares baby, I think I wanna marry you….

Dear Amy,

It must seem like everyone around you is getting married, making a home and making a life with their significant other. You feel you want to make your nest with Hans, fill it with nice things and be the perfect wife. But life isn’t quite going in that direction.

“You were such a dear all the time on our ‘honeymoon’ and I don’t think I ever was so thoroughly happy. I can remember every single detail, can’t you?”[1]

“Why do you think I hated to put that 1d brass wedding ring on? Because it was typical of our relationship together. Just make-believe, not the real thing. And not even a beautiful romantic substitute for the real, but just a sordid, common, matter-of-fact invitation.”[2]

For just a few days at a time, you are allowed to ‘play’ at being Hans’s wife, so that you can spend some time alone together on your short, secretive holidays. It must hurt that afterwards, you have to take off your ‘wedding ring’, showing the world once again that you are nobody’s wife. Even though you desperately want to be.

“Do love me always and always and more and more. I love you ever so much. All my love for my darling, ta cherie (once your wife).”[3]

“Darling, don’t you even have the slightest ambition to live in a beautiful house – not big, but beautiful – surrounded by beautiful things, with lovely scenery and music, and a beautiful wife to look after you and make everything happy and gay. I’m not beautiful enough, but perhaps I’d do if I’d very pretty frocks.”[4]

I don’t think you ever feel deserving of Hans’s love, do you? Almost as though you need to work for his acceptance. If you constantly feel that you have to ‘improve’ yourself for another person then maybe it’s not you who needs to work on acceptance….

“I’m really interested when one is learning to cook nice things, but what pleasure is there in making things no one enjoys. I want to be able to cook nicely for somebody I love lots and lots (if that somebody still wants me as much as before).”[5]

Insecurity will eat away at you, Amy. It will eat and eat until it feels like you have hit the bottom – that you’re just not good enough. I hate that you feel like this. But unfortunately, it is a process. A necessary process that could take a long time to complete – and we can never see the end until it smacks us in the face.

“You have all my love, so long as you shall want it.”[6]

Not everything has a happy ending. Or indeed the ending that we think will be happy. But perhaps there is a reason for that. Our paths in life don’t have to be pre-determined. Own your own future. Take the other path, Amy! And do it all just for you – spoil yourself with the delight of your achievements, and learn to love you for you. Not somebody else’s idea of you.

Amy Johnson letters used with kind permission of Hull Local Studies Library, Hull History Centre

Links:

Divorced by 30: Why do so many young marriages come to an early end?

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/dec/19/-sp-why-do-so-many-young-marriages-come-to-an-early-end

What we want most from relationships:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inviting-monkey-tea/201509/what-we-want-most-relationships-rarely-get

 

[1] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 1926

[2] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 8 August 1926

[3] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 1926

[4] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 9 October 1925

[5] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 13 October 1925

[6] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 17 October 1925

Blue…..a foggy lullaby…

“Dear Sir,

With reference to your advertisement, I beg to state that I am 22 years of age, and have received a course of commercial training at Woods’ College, Hull. I am really fond of office work, and you would find I always try to do everything thoroughly and accurately.”[1]

‘The stuffy rigidity of office hours, clock watching and hierarchy was a shock after the freedom of three years at university.

Her office skills were inadequate and she constantly faced the humiliation of having to ask her boss to supply the missing words when she could not read back her shorthand.

At the end of September she fainted in the office and was sent home. In later years she described her collapse as a nervous breakdown…’[2]

Dearest Amy,

From what I remember of mine, a first ‘real’ job can be a shock – something you feel is a necessary next move in life can often feel like you’ve been thrown into the deep end of a giant pool with no way out. Certain people suit certain careers. We all have a path to follow; you just don’t know which way yours goes right now. Sometimes, problems just pile up and up on top of you. And eventually, you fall down.

“…but I don’t know exactly what will happen to me. I can’t even cry – ‘Am I crying and what for? Oh no, it’s a cold I’ve got.’”[3]

There are times when the darkness can creep upon us all – a difficult day, the loss of a job, a friend, or a family member. But when that darkness falls and the daylight doesn’t seem to return, that’s when our bodies begin to turn this darkness into something more. What others may see as ‘a little upset’ begins to turn into a physical illness. And the illness is very real.

“ When I’m lying in bed, darling, or leaning back in a chair, and I move my head round, when it gets in a certain position (left side of the back) everything swims just as tho’ I were going to faint. It is a weird feeling and not at all nice. Makes me feel a bit frightened.”[4]

Being sent to Bournemouth for your recuperation probably doesn’t feel very peaceful, living with a large family. Away from the work that was making you ill, but away from your family and away from your Hans.

“I really don’t know what was the matter with me – the mood’s passed now and I feel almost alright – you did understand that I wasn’t being deliberately nasty, didn’t you darling? I couldn’t help the silly mood…”[5]

“I’ve had very little sleep these last two or three nights – had awfully restless nights – and during the day I had headache and pains in my body… I’ve been awfully bad tempered and irritable. You wouldn’t have loved me a bit if you’d been anywhere near me. And all for nothing – I can’t think of anything to attribute it to, except the vile weather.”[6]

You know those grey days, Amy, where you think the rain will never stop and your mind will never feel happy again, and your body aches from the illness that has seeped into your being? They will get brighter. You will feel better.

“I do feel miserable and irritable and fed up with life. It’s ‘cos I’m so beastly selfish, I suppose – not trying to make anybody happy but myself, and it can’t be done. Please tell me how I can begin to make somebody else happy. Am sick to death of this existence – that’s all it is – existence – there’s no life in it.”[7]

You may not become ‘cured’, but something (or perhaps someone?) will make you smile and some days, you’ll begin to see a little bit of blue sky peeking in behind those clouds.

In our modern world, society is working on trying to accept mental illness. Unfortunately, by a lot of people it is still seen as a ‘made up ’ illness, or something you can ‘snap out of’, or even something that shouldn’t be discussed due to embarrassment or inconvenience to others. We need to end this stigma – mental illness is as real as any other illness.

You get through this, Amy. You find a brighter day and you go on to achieve such wonderful things.

Finding a pathway out of the darkness will never be easy. Follow that distant light.

Amy Johnson letters used with kind permission of Hull Local Studies Library, Hull History Centre

Links:

Personal stories about mental health: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/personal-stories

5 simple ways to help end the stigma around mental illness: http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/end-the-stigma/

Young minds mental health statistics: http://www.youngminds.org.uk/about/whats_the_problem/mental_health_statistics

 

[1] Johnson, communication with Hall [Letter]. 20 July 1925

[2] Gillies, Queen of the Air, 34

[3] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 7 October 1925

[4] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 14 October 1925

[5] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 22 October 1925

[6] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 22 October 1925

[7] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 25 October 1925

Dreams, the way we planned them

AJ-043

Oh Amy, how I am enjoying being a part of your world. I walk so carefully in your world, because I know it was never mine to see.

Sometimes, I wonder if you would be angry with me for sharing some of your innermost thoughts. But then, the things I read from your letters don’t need to be there on the paper for me to see them.

Don’t worry Amy. Those secrets are safe with me.

‘I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.’[1]

That is what I see, Amy; I see you spreading out your dreams. I see into your world and I see how you want the world to be. And I tread softly amongst your dreams.

“Beautiful things don’t last very long, do they?”[2]

 

Amy Johnson letters used with kind permission of Hull Local Studies Library, Hull History Centre

[1] Yeats, 1899

[2] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 10 May 1924

Live your life with arms wide open (the rest is still unwritten)

Dear Amy,

When you are young, the world seems like a big open door. No one knows what’s on the other side. You come to realise that life isn’t laid out in front of you, and I believe we all embrace this at a different point in life – usually when something hasn’t worked out as we thought it would. But then sometimes, in the moment, it’s lovely to just ‘be’. And when is a better time to just ‘be’ than in your youth?

“We had tea in the club-house – a polite tea (hope Mrs. Baker doesn’t give that kind), then some of us went off to look at the shops. The shops are beautiful. Nearly as good as the London ones. We went to the Pier-head and watched the ferries going across. I enjoyed that the most of anything. It was a beautiful night with a half moon and it was fascinating watching the huge, long ferries sliding across the black water. All you could see of them were the lights and each one had a different coloured light. Crimson, blue, green, yellow and white.”[1]

Young people of today would argue that you and they are very different. I disagree! An almost 100 year gap doesn’t separate the thoughts, feelings, friendships and relationships.

“Did he mention a Miss Winnie Erving to you? She’s one of the girls I introduced him to at one of the dances and they’ve taken a great fancy to each other. It’s really quite amusing and something to tease them about. I should imagine though that his studies must be suffering from neglect. The day before he went to Hull we carried him off to the pictures to see ‘Conquering the Alps’, as he might have told you. It was a fine picture and I stopped to see it again. It made it much more interesting as well to have someone there to explain things.”

Concerns in your time Amy, like getting up early, winning the hockey match and making sure you have a date for the dance are not too far away from the concerns of today! Times may be ever changing but the sheer emotional turmoil of being young – that’s kind of timeless.

“Last week I went to Liverpool as a delegate, and had a lovely time. The Varsity there is a fine place – twice as big as ours. Their Ball, however, was not a patch on ours. We’ve got the best dancers and the nicest men at Sheffield.”[2]

It’s laughing until you cry, crying until you laugh, staying up all night and sleeping in all day. It’s peer pressure, society pressure and wanting to change the world. Taking risks and jumping in with both feet. So dive in.

Amy Johnson letters used with kind permission of Hull Local Studies Library, Hull History Centre

John Green- “Why the word Millenial makes me cringe.” http://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/stop-patronising-young-people-and-start-listening

Why it’s okay to embrace your youth in your 20s: http://elitedaily.com/life/why-its-okay-to-embrace-your-youth-in-your-20s/

 

[1] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 29 October 1922

[2] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 4 March 1923

Don’t be afraid to let them show (your true colours…)

“How long is it to Christmas? I’m simply longing to come home and see everybody.”

“Also I shan’t object if you engage to see I get to some dances at Christmas. I wonder if I’ll be home for the Lady Mayoress’ Ball. I do hope so.”[1]

Dear Amy,

We can all relate to a time of counting down the days until a holiday, a term ending, a Christmas. In my mind, the older I get the less I wish the time away in life. Each day has the potential to be a good day. In each day, we can find so much to be mindful of. At this time in your life, often with the weight of the world on your shoulders, it is hard to see into the future. At this time, I don’t think you know just what you are capable of achieving, Amy.

“I’ll spend this afternoon, tonight and tomorrow morning over cramming Economic History, and then empty it all out tomorrow afternoon. Please pray for me hard at 2 o clock.”[2]

“I’ve failed in French. I’ve never failed before, and it’s a horrid feeling. Miriam has as well, but Gwyneth (the one you saw on Monday night) hasn’t. She’s awfully clever.”[3]

I believe, in our youth, we are conditioned to believe in some way our future achievements need to get less interesting. Trans-generational advice tells us to ‘find something sensible to do with our lives.’ It was no different back then was it Amy? Which is how you have come to find yourself at Sheffield University, studying Economics. When really, I don’t think you knew what you wanted to do. Back then, one had to follow a ‘traditional’ path – anything else would be frowned upon…which you’ll come to fight against, one day in your future!

“I shall be busy as we’re having exams. The last week on which our future fate depends.”[4]

Why must we strive for the predictable, stable future? We are only given one life, one chance to find our true self. Yes, in today’s money-fuelled society we need to be realistic. But the things we love and the things that make us human don’t necessarily have to be the same things that help us to pay our bills. However long it takes to find, one day, you will stumble upon a dream. Hang onto it. (And you really do, Amy).

“That they get bored with childhood, they rush to grow up and then long to be children again”

“That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health.”

“That by thinking anxiously about the future, that they forget the present, such that they live neither in the present or the future.”

“That they live as if they will never die and die as if they had never lived.”[5]

Amy Johnson letters used with kind permission of Hull Local Studies Library, Hull History Centre

Links:

Youth Connexions Hertfordshire “Young people in the Three Rivers District say ‘it’s OK to be happy!’”

https://www.youthconnexions-hertfordshire.org/about-youth-connexions/news/young-people-in-three-rivers-district-say-‘it’s-ok-to-be-happy!’/

Cyndi Lauper: True Colours

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPn0KFlbqX8

 

[1] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 29 October 1922

[2] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 2 June 1925

[3] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 17 January 1923

[4] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 3 December 1922

[5] Lachard (Brown), no date

Mister Postman, look and see if there’s a letter in your bag for me….

“It was such a surprise to get a second letter from you. When I saw it on the hall table I thought you must have written to reproach me for not writing, because I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had a minute for writing letters. Imagine my delight then when I found out your reason for writing a second time.”[1]

Dear Amy,

Can you ever imagine a world where letters have less importance? To be transported into a time where the anticipation of a letter arriving in the post can take over your whole existence is just wonderful. Today, there is nothing more delightful than receiving a handwritten letter in the post. But, more and more it just doesn’t happen. Today, everything is quicker; technology has made us impatient, we want things ‘snappy’.

“It just happens that your letter has crossed with one I wrote you last night, but didn’t post until this morning. When I got your awfully nice letter, I felt like you did and found it difficult not to reply straight away – and especially as I know I couldn’t get another letter from you till I’d replied. But we couldn’t each go on replying by the next post for a fortnight, so as there didn’t seem to be any conceivable excuse for an immediate answer. I told myself I must wait a whole week.”[2]

Today, in this world, we have the Internet. We have email; we have texts, tweets, Facebook messages, Snap Chat, What’s app and even online dating. Everything can be done on the Internet – it is a giant spider’s web of communicative technology. You just wouldn’t believe it, Amy! Almost lost is the thrill of waiting for the post to arrive – it’s usually full of bills, adverts and general junk mail.

“Your letter did indeed work wonders. It was awfully nice of you to reply so quickly. I’m not in the least depressed now – very much the other way, nearly all my worries having faded away.”[3]

That said, one could have some wonderful conversations by email – the closest most of us come to a handwritten letter. But still everything is faster. If we have to wait longer than an hour for an email reply, we worry it hasn’t been sent, or the receiver of said email is ignoring us. Instant, on-the-go Internet access has created a nation of ‘screen checkers’. Don’t worry; I see the irony as I am typing, on screen…

“You don’t bore me with your letters (especially when they were as interesting as the last one was before Mrs. Baker came in with the supper. I was so disappointed because supper’s so unromantic.)”[4]

Words are romantic. Words are permanent. Words are relief. Words cannot be un-said.

“Pardon me if I appear to be writing to you, but being a free individual I see no reason whatever why I should not indulge in whatever form of recreation I wish. By this simple action I am craving your wrath, dire displeasure and loss of my dear adopted brother’s affection in the future…”[5]

It’s funny, how in the present we wish for things from the past. We love to reminisce about times gone by. Yet we take everything in the present for granted! In this, what has become a culture of ‘the next thing’, of faster cars, bigger debts and smaller, better, more functional technology, we often forget the things that are important…

“Dear Hans, Won’t you please write me just a few lines… I’m feeling most hopelessly depressed. Amy.”[6]

Amy Johnson letters used with kind permission of Hull Local Studies Library, Hull History Centre

 

Links:

‘The Lost Art of Letter Writing’: http://www.theguardian.com/culture/charlottehigginsblog/2012/oct/23/lost-art-letter-writing

‘The History of the Letter: The First Chain Letter Ever Written, 1891’: https://historyoftheletter.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/the-first-chain-letter-ever-written-1891/

‘History of Handwritten Letters’: http://handwrittenletters.com/history_of_handwritten_letters.html

 

[1]Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 22 November 1922.

[2]Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 18 February 1925

[3]Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 10 December 1924

[4]Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 29 October 1922.

[5] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 5 May 1924

[6] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. No date.

To enrich a lasting peace

“I wonder why it is that this precious peace I’m always trying to find is always just out of reach and hiding round the corner.” [1]

Amy 1930 Jun 16 NSW

Dear Amy,

On 7th July 2005, 52 people were killed and over 700 were injured as four Islamic extremists detonated bombs stored in their backpacks in different locations on the London transport system. England reeled in shock as scenes of horror showed the dead, the injured, and the destroyed. Everyone began to walk; away from London, away from the hurt and the city they had put their trust into. London sat still, mourning its losses. England no longer felt safe.

Today, the world still doesn’t feel safe. All across the globe we see violence, death and destruction. We cannot just sit still, yet we live in a world of fear. In the almost 100-year gap since your letters were written, right between World War one and World War Two, it doesn’t feel as though the world has learned very much. I’m know you dreamed of a peaceful world. We are still dreaming.

“Where is it all going to end? In another war to end wars? Or in a war which will end us?”[2]

 

[1] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 12 October 1925.

[2] Johnson, Sky Roads of the World, 286

We’ve Only Just Begun

Dear Amy,

This is an occasion of great importance. I simply do not know where to begin. There are times when no words appear appropriate or grand enough to suit.

So I feel, in that vein, that you and I should simply ‘make a beginning’ – right here. It’s lovely to meet you Miss Amy Johnson, way back in October 1922, where you have just arrived to begin studying Economics at Sheffield University, aged 19.

“Thank goodness I’m here and settled, although, oh, it was dreadful leaving everybody at the station! I’m sure it makes you feel worse people coming to see you off.

I wrote to you last night, but the letter sounded so miserable I tore it up, and I feel a little more cheerful tonight. So am having another try.

There are two more girls in these lodgings with me, and I have two friends lodging 12 houses off, so I shan’t have much chance to feel lonely. We all registered today, and I have decided irrevocably – (will you have to look that word up?) – to take French, English, Latin and modern European History. I start work tomorrow at 9.30. There is a dance on the 10th and another on the 12th, also the Varsity Ball sometime in November, so I shall get some dancing.”[1]

Whether they have experienced it or not, most can relate to the heart-sinking feeling of leaving the comfort of home for a new, uncertain place. Even the most daring of 19 year olds I am sure, cannot say that they haven’t felt a hint of nerves and sadness at leaving their home to go to university.

We – myself and our readers – have joined you at an appropriate time. We are beginning a new journey with you, following you in a new chapter of your life. We join you from 2016 – a time where we are looking back at your life and celebrating. We celebrate you, Amy, for all your achievements. You may not see it now, on your first day at university, feeling uncertain in the big wide world, but in time you are going to grow into an amazing, unstoppable force. Remember the girl who chopped off her plaits with the pretty bow in an act of independence and defiance?[2] Who didn’t let being a girl stop her joining in any sport she pleased, and could ‘slog the boys all over the pitch’ in cricket?[3] That’s your fire! It’s within you, there in 1922 as you prepare to begin your new chapter. Reignite that fire, Amy!

I can’t possibly continue without mentioning Hans.

“Wish I’d somebody here to take me out! When are you coming over? Don’t wait until the weather’s too bad, will you? Although I’ll have to learn the geography of this place and the surroundings so as to be able to show you round properly. At present, I’d like somebody to show me round. I’m going to look out for somebody very nice, with a motor cycle or car, else I’ll only be a shadow by Christmas.”[4]

Mr Hans Arregger. Your Hans. Because of course, all of your words are for him. We are simply interrupting your letters – and please forgive our rudeness – not with the intent of disturbing anything, but with that of a fondness for your youth and all the adventures it entailed.

You fascinate the world, Amy; everyone wants to know everything about you. I know it may feel intrusive, and there are some things I shan’t dwell on too much…But it is clear to see that the man you often refer to as an ‘adopted brother’ in your early letters is the object of your affection, frustration, jealousy, defiance, anger and love.

It’s all in the game of love…

Amy Johnson letters used with kind permission of Hull Local Studies Library, Hull History Centre

Links:

http://amyjohnsonfestival.co.uk

http://www.historytoherstory.org.uk

HerStoria: Women’s access to higher education: An overview (1860-1948) http://herstoria.com/?p=535

 

[1] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 3 October 1922.

[2] Gillies, Amy Johnson: Queen of the Air, 21.

[3] Marchant, Amy Johnson Flying Legend, 2.

[4] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 3 October 1922.

Happy Birthday, Amy!

Happy birthday, Amy. Let the celebrations begin!

 

‘Amy Johnson’s life could not have been more strange, if it had been scripted. This unknown slip of a girl, a solicitor’s secretary from Kingston upon Hull, was to become an international star overnight, an icon, and then a folk-heroine. She epitomised courage and determination.’ [1]

 

 

[1] Luff, Amy Johnson: Engima in the Sky, 10