Harsha Bhogle tweeted that this story would leave us with a lump in our throats, and it certainly did that for me. It’s about Bob Blair, a 21-year-old New Zealander in 1953, who was on tour with his national side in South Africa when he got news that his fiancee, Nerissa, had died in an accident. He couldn’t go back, because “overseas air travel was a thing of the future, and the boat trip took 28 days.” He’d never have made it in time for her funeral.
The story is about a heroic innings Blair played in the midst of his grief, but that’s not the part that got me. Instead, I was struck by this:
To make matters worse during the tour of 1953-54, letters that Nerissa had written to Blair before her death would continue to arrive at the team hotel for weeks afterwards.
Imagine that. If you were in his place, could you have read those letters?