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A Man of Few Words

By Anita Holford
March 2004, Monmouth
A digital story from Capture Wales

A Letter from Home

Anita received countless letters from her mother and sisters when she moved away. But one letter stands out from them all.

"My dad only wrote me one letter. It's one of the most precious things I own.

There are many words I associate with Dad. But for him, words were used too much - particularly by the five women of the family. He often joked he could never squeeze a word in.

Instead, he listened. Often amused and sometimes, bewildered.

When I left home, letters to and from my mum and sisters were a life-line to me. Every day these little parcels of stories and feelings would arrive on the doorstep and I'd savour every line. But Dad would never put pen to paper. He was a man of few words. He preferred peace and quiet... and his newspaper.

So when I found myself shunted into a world of media and marketing, it seemed at odds to where I'd come from. Dad never said - of course he wouldn't - but I knew he was concerned. It wasn't his world because it wasn't solid and often wasn't truthful.

Gradually things have changed. I've made choices that means I use words more responsibly now and for things that I care about - values that Dad taught me by example. I've come to realise that Dad is still shaping my life even though he's no longer here and perhaps we're not so different after all.

When I left home, I asked Dad to do just one thing - to write me a letter. He was a man of his word."

Anita Holford

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in a small village called Huntley, Gloucestershire, the youngest of four sisters. I went to college in Coventry, lived in Cardiff for 11 years, and have lived in Monmouth for nearly three years with my husband, Dyfan. I'm a writer and marketing practitioner, and have worked in arts marketing and the community arts for much of my working life.

What's your story about?
It's about me, and my Dad. Dad was a man of few words - his actions spoke louder, and he had such a lot of respect from everyone who knew him. I found myself working in a world of words, and at times I felt I wasn't being true to myself and my background. I've found my way now, but it's taken some time - so my story was a way of me acknowledging that, and accepting that I'm still being true to the things that both my parents taught me.

Why did you choose to tell this particular story?
It just came out! I got involved in digital storytelling because I wanted the project to happen in Monmouth, but I wasn't necessarily expecting to take part. But I was drawn in, and became completely hooked. The story wasn't the one I intended to tell, but for whatever reason, it was the one that seemed to stick with me.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
Working collectively - sharing and working through creative ideas and quite personal feelings with other people; exploring feelings that had been bubbling under for some time but never had an outlet; enjoying learning and using the technology, which was perhaps the greatest surprise. Also, for once I was taking part in something, not just writing about it, and it was an amazing experience.

Your comments

"Dearn Anita,Your story has made its way across the big ocean! I am a teacher that helps children and other students write their own personal stories as a digital story. I always share your story...it is one of my favorites and always becomes a favorite among students and teachers. Thanks you for sharing it." Tricia Scott, USA.

"Well this digital story appealed to me in many ways. The way she set the pictures to play after each other. It also touched me on a personal level because I always wished that my dad would send me a letter, but of course that never happpened and will never happen. It is definitely a great story and it definitely made me think of my dad." Therezia el-akkari from Chatham, ON, Canada.

"This story caught my eye. A story between a father and a daughter. About how her father still shapes her life even though he isn't around. The similarites in this story to my own life would be that, I live with my father and he does infact have alot to do with the way I am today. His voice and opinions ring in my head everyday. He has encouraged me and supported me through many times. He has many words and phrases and songs. The main point here is that I love my dad and he will always effect my life. Now and Forever!" Samantha Robert, Ontario, Canada.

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