Thursday, January 03, 2013

letters from william

I met him in 1989 when he was a guest on Jonathan Ross's television interview program.

The theme of the show was Successful Young People.  His success?  He had just been elected to Parliament in a by-election -- at 28.

But he was better known as the 17-year old who had fired up the 1977 Tory Conference -- assuming that Tories are capable of getting fired up.

William Hague.  A young man on the move. 

I was in London following my unsuccessful 1988 election.  And the fever still ran in my blood.

We started a correspondence acquaintanceship that ran over the next two decades.  He, of course, went on to be the Tory opposition leader and is now Britain's Foreign Secretary.  I went on to become ab expatriate beach bum in Mexico.

While doing my memory clear cut in the Salem house this week, I ran across a stack of letters from him.  They immediately went into the toss pile.  And then I had second thoughts.

The historian in me recalled the number of times I have seen entries in biographies that historians cannot answer certain questions because the subject's correspondence had been destroyed.  That phrase always leaves me a bit sad.  Something once existed, it no longer does, and we are the poorer for it.

Of course, there are often very good reasons to destroy letters.  And it is not hard to imagine what those reasons are.

None of them exists in these letters.  They are the ruminations of two young men about the future of their parties.  With a few personal touches.

But the letters were written in confidence.  And private they will remain.

It was nice to run across them.  To conjure up some lost memories.

However, like the rest of my correspondence, to the dustbin of history they go.


John Calypso said...

You are (were?) quite the collector amigo.

norm said...

Your friend might like them back. We change as we age, his old ideas might give him some insight into who he has become.

Steve Cotton said...

An interesting idea, Norm. I will get in touch with him.

Steve Cotton said...

That I was. I kept and filed all of my letters. Prior to email, I was quite the correspondent.

Felipe Zapata said...

That would just draw out the tedium of the housecleaning even more. Toss them, fer crissakes.

Shannon Casey said...

My cousin was recently doing some cleaning out of old files and such in her mother's house. My aunt is 94 and still had correspondences from her childhood. One of these was a letter to my grandmother that opened up many questions about our heritage and sent my cousin and I on a quest to

We did manage to answer those questions that troubled us but also followed out history back to a possible connection to John Quincy Adams. All very interesting, and would not have been possible without those old letters.

Steve Cotton said...

But, if we kept everything, we would be buried under a pile of paper. I know I was.