musings from Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington ... home of The Write Spot

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

world between the covers...

As a child, I had a lively pen pal relationship with my Dad’s Aunt Win who lived in a cottage near Newquay in Cornwall, England. The two of us exchanged dozens of letters over the years and I like to think we knew and understood each other as well as any niece and great aunt could across such a distance.

Win was a great lover of books and reading and made it her mission to foster that love in me, as well. She'd send me a book for every birthday and another one at Christmas – beautifully bound classics starting with Black Beauty and moving on to Dickens, Bronte, and Austen.

Win encouraged me to share stories in my letters and she wrote tales of the Cornish life and landscape in return. We never had a chance to meet in person, but from her kitchen table in Myrtle Cottage, Win fed my love of reading and gave me the confidence to believe in myself as a writer.  

A few weeks ago, just for fun, I typed the old familiar address for Myrtle Cottage into Google search, hoping to find a street view of the area. To my surprise and delight, the exact address turned up as a bed and breakfast. I've written to the owners, hoping to confirm it really is the same house Win wrote to me about all those years ago, but I haven't yet had a response. What fun to imagine visiting Cornwall and staying in the very place Aunt Win so loved. Talk about a writer's dream come true!

Who inspired you as a reader or writer? Share your story in the comments.

Wondering where you've heard that before? The title of this post is a quote from Notes on the Art of Poetry, a poem by Dylan Thomas:

"I could never have dreamt that there were such goings-on
in the world between the covers of books,"

stillpoint is the blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

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At 4:44 pm, Blogger Joanne Guidoccio said...

Hi Cheryl, What a lovely legacy from your Aunt Win. You were truly blessed to have such a supportive pen pal.

At 4:47 pm, Anonymous Susan McNicoll said...

What a great gift your Aunt gave you. One major reason I lament the computer age is that no one writes letters anymore so even if we tell each other tales from our lives they end up in emails and rarely get saved. Sadly no such source as your aunt in my life. There was a nanny of the younger siblings and she did give me a couple of books. I read the Enid Blyton boarding school series and the Noddy books. The first two books that had an impact on me were The Secret Garden and another called The children who Lived in a Barn. What was you first favourite book.

At 6:44 pm, Blogger Cheryl said...

Joanne, thanks for visiting. Yes, I was very fortunate indeed! All these years later, I still think of Aunt Win often.

Susan, I'm not sure paper versus email stands up. I still have the books Win sent, but not a single one of the letters survived. Oh, how I wish I had them now! I suppose it wasn't front of mind when I married and moved from home and my Mom was pretty brutal about purging things I left behind - I can't blame her, she did tell me it would all go if I didn't take it away. That's definitely one for the "regrets" column! My first favourite book was Swallows and Amazons. Even back then I was a series lover! I enjoyed The Secret Garden, too, but never read the barn book.


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