Letter: New Kimonos and Eating Fish and Rice in 1925

Written on Saturday, February 7, 1925

Maisie is Gwyneth’s first cousin, which makes her my first cousin twice removed. Like Gwyneth (my grandmother), both Gwyneth’s father and mother (they were first cousins), and my father, Maisie had Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT). When I met her in 1991, she was old-appearing (though young-seeming) and was likely in her late 80s. It’s odd to think of her as being as young as she must have been when this letter was written.

Gwyneth travelled to Japan in 1924 as a governess to Joan, whose family were moving to Japan for reasons I haven’t totally been able to figure out yet. My impression is that they moved there as part of a government posting, but I have absolutely nothing to back up this factoid in my brain. It could instead have been related to a business venture. Regardless, the important point is that they went and took Gwyneth with them to Kobe Japan. There, Gwyneth met several of the Woodbridge sisters and through them eventually William. But I digress, facts not yet in evidence. For now, here is a picture of Gwyneth with Joan and presumably Joan’s family in Japan wearing new Kimonos.

Hama Ashiya
Feb: 7th: 1925.

My Dear Maisie.

Thank you very much for your dear little letter. I am glad you are getting on so nicely at school. Give my love to Philip, I hope he is better. I have a dear little white rabbit, I wish you could see it. I went to the Tor Hotel Last Tuesday to a concert and tea, and had a very nice time.

How do you like me in Japanese clothes? All the little Japanese girls wear new Kimonos for the New Year, and Father Christmas gave me mine, and everything to go with it, just as you see in the photo.

How are Peter and Tiger? Do you go round to see them very often? Yesterday I tied my baby on my back and wore a padded coat, just the same as the Japanese mothers do. Then I had a dinner party in Japanese style, sitting on flat cushions on the floor and eating rice and fish.

With heaps of love and kisses

Joan. xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Envelope Front:

Miss M. Hodder,
The Post Office,

Group Photo Back:

New Years Day.

The Japanese all have new kimonos for the “New Year”, so we foreigners had to do like wise.

“O me-det-o, goaimasû.”

Group Photo People:

Left-to-right: Joan, Gwyneth, unknown, unknown, unknown (presumably two of the three are Joan’s parents)

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