Book of alphabet drawings

Relationship: Im/migrant
Front cover of the book
Front cover of the book

When I was 11, I left the tiny flat in London that I shared with my mum and started at a boarding school out in the English countryside. I had no phone or access to email for the first two months and so I waited eagerly for the letters and cards that my family would send once or twice a week. From my grandpa came these wonderful drawings which he often created in series around a theme, like animals or countries. On the back, in hard-to-decipher handwriting, would be scrawled brief updates about his week; trips to the supermarket or new birds he’d seen in the garden. For my 21st birthday, a little over a year after my grandpa had passed away, my mum and aunt gave me a book they had put together from one of these series of drawings. 26 cards, one for each letter of the alphabet. Although the flat pages couldn’t do justice to the intricacies of the drawings - like the textured coat of the Queen on the letter ‘Q’ - it was the first time I could easily carry them with me.The book sat on my desk at my first job after university and, when I packed up my life in two suitcases and moved to New York, it was one of the few items that came with me. I have no family in the US and knew no one when I first arrived 18 months ago, so in a small way this book helps keep my family close by and is a reminder of my childhood which now seems so far away. 

Place(s): London; New York
Year: 2016

– Julia

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant