A spray of red in the form of poppies commemorates this period of the year, in memory. Embellishing garments of the young and old, it’s a symbol of respect and honour for those that fought for the freedom of today. The poppy signified the end of the war; bittersweet, their beauty grew amongst the fields of bodies that marked the brutal and merciless war.
We wanted to focus on the stories this year, the love letters that were a source of hope through the darkest of times. Love that thrived against the odds. We were touched by a story we were lucky to witness from 93-year-old Hilda. She met her husband when she was 16, but as they grew up in very different backgrounds, she felt he was strange – it was obvious he wasn’t “one of them”. She looks back laughing at how she didn’t like him at all, however her parents had always liked him, a well-mannered boy, so when he went to war they convinced her to write to him.
It was a common thing, in those days, to write to the men at war, Hilda told us. Writing was encouraged, even if it documented basic everyday activities – it kept those away from home connected to their community. Most of the time, the letters were between strangers. It was expected that women write, no matter who were to receive the letters on the other end, to keep the morale up; so that those who had no one waiting at home for them still had something to pick them up, the excitement of a letter even on their worst days.
It was through these letters that Hilda started to change her opinion of Arthur. Regular correspondence led to feelings, which led to a love so strong it spanned 70 years. They both spent weeks, painfully anticipating the next letter which, in most instances, were so heavily censored they barely got a few sentences of each others words. The years that followed were some of her hardest, they so desperately wanted to be together. And when he finally came home, they married just a few short months later.
Now, each year, Hilda wears her poppy with pride. A symbol of her great love story, and of the others who were lucky enough to be reunited with the other half of their heart. It’s a reminder of the trials and terrible times they lived through, with painful years and distances between them and the hope that remained that they would once again be together.
Here at Emolyne, we will be showing our support in the form of the poppy and the poppy shades we will be wearing across our lips and nails.