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Lost Loves: How grandad's ex-girlfriends taught me about a forgotten art

Having never met her grandfather, Gabija Gataveckaite was thrilled to find a box of romantic missives his girlfriends had sent him, offering a unique insight into a forgotten world

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Heartfelt: Gabija Gataveckaite with the old love letters written to her grandad, Apolinaras. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Heartfelt: Gabija Gataveckaite with the old love letters written to her grandad, Apolinaras. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Heartfelt: Gabija Gataveckaite with the old love letters written to her grandad, Apolinaras. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Like pretty much everyone else of my generation, I have never written a love letter. Even the thought of it mortifies me. I'm 21 and a true digital native - so for me, the letterbox is a relic of a bygone era. Frankly, the only thing I'm likely to get in the post is a bill.

But with Valentine's Day around the corner, I wonder how many of us have old letters stashed away in the attic, written by parents or grandparents many years ago, that offer a unique window to the past.

I never met my maternal grandad, Apolinaras, as he died the year before I was born. Throughout my childhood in Lithuania, I heard a lot about what a good person he was, how caring and how kind he was. But apart from seeing faded photographs, I knew little about him. Then, several months ago, my grandmother, Brone, produced an old blue folder she'd been keeping. To my amazement, it was full to the brim of love letters Grandad received from former girlfriends in the late 1950s.