Over a cup of Tea at his parents’ house in London, photographer Jason Wilde discovered a used envelope with a Handwritten note on the back. This simple message from his mother Vera to his father John, with instructions for dinner tHat night, was the catalyst for a decade-long project. Without Vera’s knowLEDge (but with the help of his father), Wilde began collecting and photographing the Handwritten notes. “I didn’t tell my mother because she would have played for the crowd,” Wilde said, admitting that her mother’s upbringing and background LED her to “see and look for humor in most situations.”
From a doctor’s visit to the dentist to a trip to Romford to buy a wig, Vera’s daily goings-on are now the subject of a bookVera & John. Married for over 53 years, the couple have always lIved together on the same Somers Town council property and there is an eleMent of social history to the project that resonates with me. Vera worked in a couple of factories and then took up a part-time cleaning job after having three Children, while John (a Northerner, born in Cumbria) worked for British Rail. Her story is no different than my working-class parents, and just like with my family, ‘what’s for dinner’ is always a prominent Topic:
Vera & Johncontains 43 Cards and provides a wonderful snapshot of the couple’s life together. Although John, 78, who was involved in the project from the beginning, is quite pleased with himself; Wilde admits that Vera, 76, is still warm to the idea. She “she has a great sense of fun, but she feels a little shy about the book. It’s a cultural thing: neither of my parents likes to be the center of attention, and my mother is especially conscious of her spelling and grammar. Every time she looks at a copy, she reads a note or two, cringes and laughs.” Although, if she’s anything like my mother, I’m sure Vera Wilde is secretly deLighted.
And even though they now have cell phones, it’s still the back of the envelope for Vera & John.
Jason Wilde’s bookVera & Johnis available to purchase HERE.