Letter: Absent without love

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The Independent Online
Sir: Steve Humphries' article ('Men were men, and dads were strangers', 24 February) focuses on fathers in the Thirties. I was born at the end of 1941.

One of my earliest memories was of my mother getting my brother and myself up one morning in a state of immense excitement. I can remember her vivid lipstick, her immaculate make-up, and had a sense of something incredible about to happen. The bell rang - we rushed to the door of our top flat in Edinburgh's New Town and gazed over the bannister at the communal stair.

A figure came running up towards us, and as he got nearer an acute sense of disappointment overwhelmed me. It was only a man. That man was my father, returned from active service with the 14th Army in the Far East, and I neither knew nor recognised him.

That first introduction did not bode well for our relationship, which never was easy. I married a younger man, a 'baby-boomer', and have often sensed the distinction in our upbringing - his childhood unblemished by the shadow of war.

Yours faithfully,

SUSAN HUGHES

Kirkbymoorside,

York

24 February

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