Mary’s letters are reminder of ’80s communication

People say there’s a book in everyone and that I don’t doubt.

But when a friend asked me to help with theirs I realised, in this case, there wasn’t; in this case it was already done and not in a way you might think.

Mary Givens, like many of us brought up in the 1980s, inadvertently recorded their life through handwritten letters; scores of them.

This was the world

devoid of social media, text messaging and even phone cards (this was the high tech way to pay for calls from public call boxes many moons ago).

Yes, there was once a time when the Royal Mail was built around posting letters rather than Paypal parcels and long distance communication was regularly the preserve of pens, writing paper and colourful envelopes.

Mary Givens kept everyone she ever wrote from being a little girl. From one of the earliest – a letter from Father Christmas at the much-missed Redgates toyshop in Sheffield – to the ones that recorded her time working in Guernsey (hoardes of Sheffielders found work over there in the 1980s when unemployment figures went through the roof).

I’ve had the pleasure of helping her put together and publish ‘Lots of Love From Sheffield’ and the process has been an amazing trip down memory lane to the era of Romeo & Juliet’s, Josephine’s and other nightspots of the era.

Her letters, photos and postcards lay packed away and forgotten for many year sand the book – which is set to be out at the end of October – is set to offer a unique insight into life in the 1980s.

1980s Josephine's

Sheffield’s Josephine’s in the 1980s

Mary Givens said: “This book is dedicated to all my friends who are  here, in its pages, not one of them really remembers everything that happened back in the 80’s and if It wasn’t for the letters I discovered, a lot of it would certainly be long forgotten by me too. Without them, this little book would not have been possible. … My friends are now other people’s friends too; I hope they make them as happy as they made me. “

* Mary Givens will be doing a book signing at Waterstones in Orchard Square, Sheffield, on Saturday, October 31st, at 2pm.