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"The Rushki Letters", are but a few of the more than three hundred poems and notes written by Canadian writer, Paul Jardine.
Paul lived in New Zealand during the early seventies, where he met and fell deeply in love with a Kiwi girl named Valerie.
She was a student nurse, and he nicknamed her "Rushki". An aspiring writer, Paul was gearing-up for a career in field-journalism.
Over the course of their relationship, Paul wanted very much to marry Rushki, but their love was to prove difficult for a number of reasons, not least of which were Rushki's plans to leave New Zealand and work in England for an undisclosed period of time as soon as she'd graduated nursing school in Auckland. Paul had originally pinned hopes on marriage, then taking his bride to California to attend college at UCLA. He'd already been guaranteed a journalism internship with The Los Angeles Times.
Add to this unfortunate mix of circumstances a certain degree of hostility from members of her family who didn't want to see their daughter / baby-sister, taken away from them to live in a society they didn't approve of. A popular perception of the United States at that time by New Zealand society in general, was as an overly-permissive, crime-ridden, violent, drug-saturated nation, filled with explosive racial tension.
Through several often-heated confrontations with Rushki's father and older brother, her parent's objection to his continuing relationship with their youngest daughter became clearly apparent.
Taking Rushki's family's fears and objections into consideration, all thoughts of returning home to Canada or attending journalism school in the United States were put aside. He'd been awarded a prestigious Canada Council scholarship, which would have secured a position at any major university in Canada or the U.S. He chose not to accept the honor his nation bestowed upon him in favor of remaining in New Zealand to be with his beloved Rushki.
He began to formulate a plan, which would forever enjoin the two greatest loves in his life. Rushki, and writing.
He was making good progress with lining up interviews at the Massey University campus in the nation's capital, and at Canterbury University in Christchurch, for his four-year college tuition. He'd also secured a freelance reporting job on a little weekly newspaper and a national monthly magazine, to start as soon as his enrollment began. He was prepared and ready to say goodbye to Rushki if she'd decided on going to England. He'd just earn his degree, work, and wait for her return to begin their lives together.
One of the things Paul hadn't planned on, was Rushki falling in love with another man.
'The Rushki Letters', are a collection of poetry and notes he wrote about them and their relationship at the beginning, during, and at its sad end. Culminating in Paul's brokenhearted departure from New Zealand in 1974.
Through these little written tokens, It is easy to see there was a great and noble love for this woman in this young man's heart. The poem's speak for themselves. Some are pretty. Some are sad. Several are heartbreaking. This sensitive and intelligent man dared to put down on paper what many other men wouldn't even whisper to a woman, at that time, and in that place.
His love for her was such that he'd write about her for years to come. Whether it was a form of self-administered therapy to help him get over this incredible loss and try to heal the pain he'd suffered. Or whether he's never gotten over her at all these many years later is irrelevant, and of no particular consequence.
To read his writings, made at the time, please just click ...
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