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Book Description
49 of the original letters from various celebrities, Royalty, politicians and sport stars, contributing their earliest memories to Bernhardi's 3 year fund raising project on behalf of the Macmillan Cancer Relief Fund. Along with 12 of Mark Wilde's original drawings, 3 copies of the finished book and an advertising flyer. There's a mixture of letters and postcards, handwritten and typed, many on headed paper. The length of the accounts varies considerably, as one might expect most of the writers and politicians tend to provide quite detailed anecdotes, though Dame Barbara Cartland's is remarkably brief. Not all anecdotes had an accompanying illustration, but all occupy a whole page of the finished book, so sometimes the shorter anecdote was rewarded with an illustration if it happened to inspire Wilde. For instance the actor, Ian McShane simply writes: "Being bathed in a tin tub in front of a blazing coal fire, and then wrapped in a big towel at my grandma and grandpa's.", but this simple statement is very evocative and leaves plenty of room for one of the most charming illustrations. Whereas Bernard Ingham's earliest memory is quite lengthy and complex, though poignant, involving a biplane crashing into a hillside in the fog, but was evidently not the sort of heart-warming content the editor was looking for, so it gets tucked in the middle of the book with no illustration to draw it to the reader's attention. Tony Blair, being a consummate politician and on his way up in the mid-1990s, gives two answers, one bland, the other, reading like a scene from The Omen, is a terrifying description of being attacked by a flock of magpies in Australia. A fascinating collection of insights into a good cross-section of famous people of the period's lives. It is also an interesting indication of what people consider to constitute a first memory; some are impressions, some are memorable events and some are non-event specific memories of feelings evoked.
Author Bernhardi, Jill (editor), Mark Wilde (illustrator)
Date 1996
Publisher Coalville Publishing Company Ltd
Illustrator Mark Wilde (illustrator)

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