I come from a long line of letter writers. Well my dad, anyway.
He is a supreme letter writer but not in a correspondence sense.
My dad, to this day, writes letters of complaint, letters of advocacy, truth-biting letters that demand action, or at least a response.
He passed this on to me, partly through osmosis and mostly through involving me from a young age.
Tap, tap, tap his slender pointer fingers would punch out drafts on our beige hard cased typewriter. Always in duplicate, two impossibly thin pieces of typing paper with a sheet of blackest carbon in between.
Then he’d pass it to me for comment.
I can still remember the first time he asked me to read one of his letters.
I was twelve years old.
Our Breville Jaffle maker had delivered many a toasted cheese (Sunday night dinners with tomato soup without fail). But it started flaking black pieces of Teflon onto the bread as it cooked. It was 1982. Teflon was the new ‘wonder surface’ but was it safe to eat? My dad was justifiably concerned for our fate…and a little ahead of the times too.
Tap, tap tap, the power of words his mighty weapon.
Because it was right.
Because we had rights.
Because what if he was right?
We loved the Choice program on TV, and hold an enduring value of ‘keeping the bastards honest’.
He got answers, he still does, spending his retirement drafting his concerns to MPs, financial institutions and car companies about the things he finds not quite right. He’s a voice for the people. The one who will actually take the time to sit down and diplomatically state a case – one that cannot be ignored.
There was never any hidden agenda. We weren’t a family that suddenly received a lifetime supply of some flawed product he had bought to the attention of the maker. He just cared. Enough. For all people.
And the Jaffle maker? We got a letter assuring us all was ok.
He threw it in the bin, followed closely by the Jaffle maker.
In 2006 Teflon was identified as releasing a cancer causing agent at high temperature.
I am so grateful he encouraged me to have a voice in this way.
Bet he is writing now?