Dear Kath, Love Ron is a transcription of letters from Ron Spathaky to his wife Kath written between 1937 and 1946, mainly during his Army service.
Being a war-time couple certainly had its ups and downs. Ron writes about the good times, often in terms which he himself describes as “Lawrencish”, revealing their loving and passionate relationship. They had rough patches too, of course: rows during weekend leaves patched up by post; confessions of unfaithfulness by them both and the ensuing anguish.
Through Ron’s interest in the places he visited and the people he met, we’re immersed in the heat of the Tunisian desert, the primitive houses of Italian villages, the boredom of a military hospital, the bleakness of Salisbury Plain, conversations with farmers in France, Belgium and Palestine, a kibbutz near Haifa, the tombs of the Pharaohs… All the while, his memories of the Sussex countryside sustain him while he is abroad.
Through Ron’s replies to Kath we catch glimpses of her entry into full-time work and then motherhood. Just three of her letters to Ron have survived but they are pivotal to their story. Finally, with Ron’s home-coming and letters from the Midlands, their story is rounded off as he starts teaching and looks for a house in which to start the family life they have dreamt of for so long.
Told through their own words and edited by their son Mike Spathaky, Dear Kath, Love Ron is an honest and endearing work of serious non-fiction.
Mike Spathaky was born in Brighton in 1942. In his main career as a community educator and in his wide-ranging interests, writing has always been central to his life. He now lives in Oadby, Leicestershire.