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My mum is the best; just like most peoples mum.
So why is my mum the best?
Well for one because she is my mum but before me she was other people's mum. It started when her sister died (who was 14 years older than her). Her sister had a little girl, her dad couldn't look after her properly (50+ years ago men weren't really single parents). So her neice went to live with her nana, grandad and aunty (my mum). At this time my mum was seeing my dad and they got married and they then adopted my sister. I personally think this was a huge thing to do and I give a lot of credit to my dad for this. It must have been so difficult newly wed, starting living together and then a 3 year old child comes and lives with you. My sister did obviously know them very well and was secure and happy with them. But as a grown up I think it was very selfless of them to do it at that stage of their lives.
I also have another sister and I am the youngest. My mum was always there for me (I am not going to discuss all of us as my eldest sister is 14 years older than me so was really a grown up whilst I was still a child). When I was 5 she started working nights so we could have double glazing and then central heating (there was always something and she ended up working there for over 30 years). She would come home from work have a brew then take us to school she would then come home go to bed and get up and pick us up. I would go to bed at about 7pm and my mum would then go back to bed for about 3 hours. She did this so she was there to take and pick up from school.
I remember when I was ill and not in school my mum would hardly get any sleep because I was at home but she never complained and still went in work.
As I grew up my eldest sister got pregnant so (as a lot of people did back then) she got married and my mum and dad paid for the wedding (as the brides parents - so unfair). Money back then wasn't so readily available, there were no credit cards and overdrafts. My mum was so scared the buffet wouldn't be enough that she ate nothing. From now on I am not going to talk about my eldest sister because things happened and now I am a lot older I think she was very selfish and uncaring to both my parents and we haven't seen her for many years.
My mum always wanted more for her children than she had and for us to have the best. We always went on school trips even if it meant her doing without, my older (not eldest) sister and then me, when I was older went camping with the guides and I went on the French exchange and then in my last year of school to Austria. I don't think my dad was impressed as I found out later, my sister dropped out of going to Austria when she had the chance as my dad said things - not sure what but it would have been to do with money.
As I got older I would sit with my mum on a Friday or Saturday if I wasn't going out and drink wine, which I know she would have enjoyed as even now my mum likes company.
When I moved out of home my mum was there to help me. Now as I was the youngest and last to go I only realise now as a mum that this must have been hard for her. I moved into a flat it wasn't great but my mum was there making the bed and leaving a hot water bottle in it, to air it for me.
When I had my first baby that died my mum was in work, as she worked nights but as soon as she found out she was at the hospital, she offered to put away all the baby stuff for us so I didn't see it when I got home. I didn't want this but her heart was in the right place and she was thinking of me. That's the thing with my mum she bothers too much about other people she has even got involved in taking children on trips from some school or nursery. She is always willing to help people and wanting people to be comfortable. I have to make her sit down when I go to her house as she is there brewing up for us and making butties etc.
Whilst she was still working I had my eldest daughter, she used to come straight from work to my house at 7.15am so that I could go to work, she would then take her to play school at 9.30am before going home to bed. I have to say I never asked her to do this I asked my dad but my mum wanted to do it, and I know now we don't live so close she misses spending a lot of time with us all.
I think sometimes we don't tell our mums how much they mean and some take them for granted, especially if they want something but mums are there and not for ever and once you are a grown up it is your turn to spoil them. So I want to say Mum - I love you xx
My mum is a special person.
It's just been mothers day and of course, i've been spending most of my earnings for some big presents for my mother! I bought her a big bouquet of pink and purple flowers and a few books because she loves reading, to help her relax after a busy day. Everybody thinks that their mum is special, but I do believe that my reason is a relevant reason to actually call my mum special and other people would also view her as a special person. She has been through so much, and i just dont think that i could have made it without her help and strength and knowing that she would be right here beside me. However, i am unable to come to terms still, with how she would have been able to deal with everything, when it went so wrong. You'll have to understand, that everything I have written, i have written in a less graphic way, just because I am afraid that if i go into too much detail, i'll find myself curling up into a ball and crying! Something that my mum would not want to happen to me, of course I am her angel, who she thinks gives her all of her strength, but she is the one who gives me strength, she always has done and i really could never thank her enough for what she has given me or what she has done for me, there is nobody that i could ever love more or that could ever be as inspirational as she is.
It was perfect?
When i was a little girl, our whole life was perfect, she gave me so much attention and she was so happy, all the time. My mum is so pretty and she could wear any clothes and still look really great. I remember she used to push me in the swings with my sister, and my dad would stand in front of us with his big professional camera, constantly taking photos of our smiling faces and we would all be laughing and joking around with each other and then we would sit by the beach and my dad would be us all chips and an ice cream then he would cuddle me and my sister and tell us that he would still be doing this to us when we are twenty years old! I think they were two of my earliest memories and they stand out in my head, and i always think of those times, however I wish for them to remain at the back of my head because some things have happened, which i will explain soon, which have hurt me far too much and even thinking about those early memories, does make me feel a little sick to my stomach if i am completely honest. My younger years, were definitely some that i will always hold onto, maybe my mum was happiest then? Maybe she is happiest now? I wont ever fully know, because she always puts on a brave face and a smile for me, but i sure know that she is happy now and she does seem really happy in what she is doing. I hope that she lives an amazing life, because she's got another fifty years left in her yet!
R.I.P little man!
Unfortunately, seven years ago my mum gave birth to my brother, it was a still birth. She was devastated, as were the rest of our family, we were distraught and had no idea how we were going to cope - nine months of preparing for the new arrival after being told that we were going to be having a nice addition to our family. As you can probably imagine, this affected my mum more than any of us and she went into serious depression, although she attempted to hide it and was indenial that she cared about the loss at all, probably not the best route to go down, but if that was her way of coping, we tried not to stop her because none of us really knew what to do. It took my mum about three and a half months to even act normal, and we booked her into see a councillor which we was extremely angry with us for doing so. However, the results were good and her depression improved and she just seemed to be crying a lot more, something that she didn't do before the help of the councillor. We were all a little disappointed
my mum is special. ..that none of us were able to be the ones for her to open up to, although we were happy knowing that she was happier than what she had been before. We buried my brother and my mum even turned up, she managed to crack a few smiles that day and we started to talk again, this is when I felt closest to my mum, since I had been little. I had always been a real daddys girl and my sister was closer to my mum, but she even had been blanking my sister.
MIdwife courses and affairs.
About a year after, she decided that although she loved the whole birthing process, she didn't want to give birth to any more children, because she didn't want to have to go through what she did again. Instead, she did a midwife course which really started to make her happier. My family seemed to be really close at this point and my mum started to give me and my sister a lot more attention. However, my dad was being useless around the house, never helping out, always going out drinking and therefore leaving me and my sister home alone whilst my mum went to night school to do the midwife course. My mum was actually unaware of this, because my dad would mostly come back before the time she got back. He paid me and my sister to keep quiet about it and although i was too young to understand, I still stuck by my dad and was happy as long as he was giving me money for sweets. However, my sister is older than me and she understood what he was doing. She'd often go through his phone and see texts from 'Sam' and even though I assured her that Sam is a boys name, she believed that my dad was actually having an affair. I told her that dad would never do this to our family, especially after what we had been through, but looking back that is probably why he would have done something like that - if he had cheated.
Drink driving, Hospitals and Devastation.
It was about four months later and my dad actually started staying away at weekends, my mum would have to do the housework, looking after me and my sister, cooking all the meals and helping us with our homework as well as focusing on her midwife course that she was nearly finishing - she had about six months left and then she would be fully qualified to become a midwife, something she was so pleased about. One night my dad went out drinking and for some stupid reason, he took his car out with him and drove it back at night, and stupidly, when you're driving and you're drunk, you crash - he should've known that. But, he was taken into hospital and my mum rushed to see him only to walk in on him kissing with this 'Sam' girl. She was devastated but just left without saying anything and didn't even tell me or my sister until a later date. She had to cope with so much stress, but I admire her for being so brave with it all, she also found out that Sam was eight months pregnant, something which made my mum incredibly jealous. I was so upset and didn't have a clue how to make things better for her. Every night for a month i would hear her cry herself to sleep, alone, because my dad was in hospital. Me and my sister would visit my dad in hospital alone, and my mum never would, but my dad wouldn't even question why, it was like my mum never exsisted to him, I can only imagine that he knew she had found out about my dad and Sam. We later on had found out that they had got together around the time of my mum giving birth to my brother, who unfortunately didn't make it. I was ashamed that my dad would have it in him to do something so bad, however i was prepared to still see him in hospital until he got better, he suffered some ligament injuries and his lungs or ribs were squashed and not working properly, although i'm not sure what was really happening to him, because when i asked him what was wrong with him, he just told me he was 'poorly' every single time. All i wanted was for my family to be back together.
A new baby.
Whilst all of this was happening, my mum continued the midwife course and she was doing really well, despite all of the other problems that were happening in her life. I was really proud of her and when she used to cry i used to laugh at her and tell her that she was being silly, it used to make her force out a smile for me, because I didn't believe in her being morbid around me. When Sam gave birth to my dad's baby, my mum was so devastated, she wished that it could have been her baby, but she texted my dad and said 'Hi, would you please go and live with your new family, you can pay for the girls please, but i'd rather you spent time with your baby.' and that was the last time she has ever communicated with my dad - atleast for another year. She did try and make the effort, but he was being so immature about the whole situation and tried to compete against her for mine and my sisters attention. In the end, we decided to cut our dad from our lives, although it was hard, it had to be done, what he did to my mum was unforgivable and yes, i believe that he should be punished for it, it isn't right and my mum definitely deserved a lot better.
New man, New Job, New House, New Start?
She qualified as a midwife and we moved closer to the hospital she was working at, me and my sister had matured and we equally shared roles around the house, such as cooking meals, hoovering, ironing, washing, etc. My mum was working at a hospital and she was getting happier every day, a new man in her life? She was at first wary and let him go on outings with me and my sister, just to make sure it was a mutual like between me and my sister and her new man. But, he was really good with kids, he works on the children ward at the hospital and although most of the children are a lot younger than what me and my sister were, he was a really nice man and really fun to be around. Most importantly, him and my mum would laugh and joke for hours, something that I didn't experience with my mum and dad and I am sure that would have happened, but i never saw it. He started staying over more and my mum asked him about his family and he had also been cheated on previously, so my mum felt that they were in the same boat, but she also felt that maybe she was going to be his 'rebound'. When she talked to him about this, he assured her that he had been single for almost four years, because he was waiting for the right woman who wasn't going to be just a rebound. This pleased my mum and at once she had fallen for him, he treated me and my sister like his own and we were a happy family for all of three months.
Unwanted Neighbours, Heartless Adults!
The house next to us got sold, new neighbours? We were all anxious of who they could be and when we found out who they were we were horrified. My dad, Sam and their two children. They were like a proper family sitting in the garden laughing all night, my mum saw it as some competition and she started getting stressed. I assured her that things would be alright and we didn't have to worry about them anymore, but she was convinced that my dad had done this on purpose and that it was a sick thing to do. I secretly thought the same, why would my dad even consider it, especially knowing that we lived here already. He started trying to make as much noise in the house as he possibly could, just to get on my mums nerves and she knew that it was working. One morning, she was hanging the washing out whilst her boyfriend (i haven't mentioned - his name is Jack) was sat on the patio eating toast, and me and my sister were sat with Jack. My dad and Sam miraculously just happened to come out into the garden and started shouting at my mum. They were bitter and told her to move because nobody wanted to hear her 'cackly laugh' anymore, my mum just told them that she wasn't prepared to argue in the garden, because she felt we were all better than that. My dad replied 'well of course Sam and I are better, we have the baby boy.' My sister went mad, as did Jack, as did I, and my sister actually jumped over the fence and punched him round the face. Jack went over too and collared my dad and told him he was sick and he doesn't deserve to be happy. Sam just sat in a corner crying, stupid bimbo! My mum and I went inside and she was shaking, I couldn't calm her down and she was scaring me, I called Jack in but he didn't hear, he was too busy with my dad. My mum fell on the floor and was knocked out cold for atleast seven minutes. I screamed Jack to come inside and he did, we all knew we had to move immediately and luckily, my mum wasn't hurt as bad as she could have been, she just had too much on her plate, she didn't deserve any of it.
Death Threats and Another New House!
Just two and a half months later, we moved far away from my dad and his new family, it would please me if we never saw them again because he actually ruined, or attempted to ruin my mums life. What he has done was unforgettable and I would never want to speak to him again, as far as I am concerned Jack is my dad. He has given up so much to be a part of our family and I love him like he was my father, he is special to me and my sister always get him presents on fathers day. Our new house had a gym and a swimming pool, it was close to all the good shops and very close to my mum and Jack's new work, although they chose to work at seperate hospitals, because they wanted to ensure that they would earn the most money. My dad would send my mum death threats over text such as, 'I'm after you, you're dead' and 'hurry up and kill yourself already you crazy woman!' We have sorted it out and contacted the police about it and hopefully my dad has been locked up! Although my mum asked if she was able to have nothing to do with the case, because she just wanted him out of her life for good.
Just For my Mum, The Greatest Family!
Now, me, my sister, my mum and Jack are all so happy together. We're like a proper family and I honestly wish that Jack was my real dad. He is my step dad and we're so close, especially since him and my mum got married. My mum is special to me because of everything that she has been through the past seven years, if not more than seven, but I truly admire her for everything she has done and everything that she has been through. If she was reading this, which she probably isn't, then I'd just tell her that she has been the strongest person that I have ever met and therefore that is why she is my inspiration and my idol. She is like a best friend to me but also has very good maternal and mothering skills, we can talk about absolutely anything and I know that she wont be angry or mad at me, even if i have done something that i shouldnt have. I trust her with my life and she is the only person that I would die for, give up anything for, she is the most important thing in my life, and to have a bond like this with my mum, I believe is so important and it has such a big impact on my life and the decisions that i make and intend to do. My mum is special because she has gone through all of what i have explained, and much more, and without realising it, she has battled through so many incidents that many women would have given up at. If i could tell her how special she was, she wouldnt believe me, but she has given me everything that i could ever need to become a really lovely person and I hope that i continue to look up to my mum, because I think that she is the only person who completely knows everything about me and my love for her is honestly unconditional. Without my mum in my life, i'd feel so lost and empty, like my life was not worth living because she has got me through the last seven years, without even realising it. I have been there for her when she needed me, and now she is really repaying me, every day of my life. There are so many things that i could thank her for doing, but she doesn't need or expect thank you's because she is just an actual wonder woman! My mum is amazing and every body needs to know that! ..posted under ciao under d9gymg
"Back then I didn't know why, why you were misunderstood.
So now I see through your eyes, all that you did was love." - Mama by Spice Girls
There's been many women who have inspired me, but one inspiration that is very natural is the inspiration from my mum. I love my mother, but she doesn't like it when I call her mother because it makes her feel old. People don't like it when I call my mum, mummy because it makes me sound childish.
My mother is really wonderful, she always have something nice to say to me everyday and always tells me that she loves me. Sometimes I feel kinda bad that I'm not as half as affectionate back, but I still appreciate all that she has done for me. I don't think I always notice how much she does for me because live in the same house everyday and the chaos of everyday life can be tiresome.
I would honestly be lost without her. I'd probably be late for a lot of things had it not been for her persistence on getting me out of bed in the morning and motivating me to do things that I probably wouldn't do if told to do by someone else.
Before I was born, my mum was a regular drinker. She smoked, she was loud and liked to get into trouble. She used to be a bit of a rebel, she still is sometimes, but she has truly turned her life around. When she was pregnant with me, she gave pretty much all of that up. She sacrificed everything she loved as a teen for me, apart from cheesecake and doughnuts. Pretty understandable: they're delicious.
We often go on holiday together a lot and while I enjoyed going to Wales and New York, it wasn't the same because I went with school and college. I think it would have been even more special with the family because I prefer going on trips with close friends and family.
I know I will always have a place to stay in my mum's heart. Even when I'm at my most naughtiest, my mum will forgive me. The only thing I don't like about her is her singing, but who cares? She's still awesome. She's very funny and honest. If she thinks something is nice, she'll tell you and if she thinks it's awful, she will cringe. She's a terrible liar, so I think she's better off being honest.
I hope all the mothers out there had a lovely mother's day. I hope you felt valued and treated very well. I think mothers are often underappreciated for all the hard work they've put into thier children.
Now I'm coming up to nineteen, it's now my turn to make my mum proud.
Love you mother. :)
Uncertain how the subject of pro-creation always leapt into the conversation between my Mum and I, but it always seemed to pop up. She had a habit of asking me when I was about ten years old where do you think babies come from? She'll be washing up, frantically, soap suds up to her elbows, smelling of rubbery marigolds, flicking her long brown hair from her eyes; drippy nose from dicing up onions, attired in a pastel floral dress, and white ankle socks; her frayed slippers trying to escape her feet, as if choking on a dog-chain. I would laugh and say: 'Mom!' in a laughable whiney tone that always got a smile from her. She wasn't hedonistic but naturally vivacious that evidently got her into situations she didn't intend. Broom cupboards, stationary cupboards, you name it she'll be having lively chatter in there with an amorous gent. Outside on a parapet feeding birds was another excuse, coyly remarking; "he looked hungry the poor mite;" referring to a scraggly blackbird whose obviously been pecking at the fermented apples the night before, nearby. Her Mum Bless, (that's my Nan) only encouraged her to find a suitor for courtship. "No fly by nights, my girl" she would say. "Be sure what you are getting yourself into, pet" my Nan would say, as my Mum danced out of the door, to the Policeman's ball. My Nan would wait up for her, and share a laugh when she returned home.
At twenty three she had the bundle of fun she craved for, 'me' - after several intimate consultations with female clerical staff, who gave her tips for my impending conception, the suggestions for a successful conception were - 'lemon tea' - 'put on some 'Leo Sayer background music' - 'imagine you are on a desert island' were all suggested by the wise clerical hens, clucking away. Of course being a newly wed to a dashing Spaniard (so my ditzy Mum thought at first) who ended up being part of the British numerical bourgeoisie - (that is my Dad) apparently was British, but was abroad loads - Hence, the tan. So, my successful conception was coerced by an orchestra of busy bodied clerical staff at a law firm. My Mum continued working till she couldn't reach her thunderous typewriter keys, due to the bump (that's me). Naturally the clerical hens clucked that she was having a baby boy; but she wanted a surprise and pretended to cover her pixie ears. Low and behold, they were correct and so Mother-hood was indeed her calling. She never looked back.
One white wine spritzer and she is Cheryl Cole.
Being one of five, Mum relished family and the love that poured over me, and my sister, even till this day, my Aunts will display remarkable affection in public usually in-front of bemused girl-friends; planting smackers on my chiseled chin, usually ending with me wandering off sheepishly to a wash basin in the lavatory, for a swift face wash. Often with my Mum watching on, tickled pink - making polite chat to the many girls I've taken to family events. Mum doesn't judge, nor mention other conquests, her demeanor is always self-assured, eloquent and incredibly thoughtful to others; sometimes detrimental to herself, now that she isn't a spring chicken any longer and can't gallivant with gusto as much as she did with her adoring grand-children, as she did with myself and my sister. Albeit, she'll always be the first up dancing at charity events, or where music blares out making the room pulsate, the vibrations don't bother Mum, after a white wine spritzer her achy left ankle thinks she's twenty five again. Wearing flat heels, and at five foot three, her 'twisting again like last summer' would put a hefty twenty year old to shame. Dad would look on through a camera lens wandering where the record button is. He's been told twice already how to do it, and so the 'record button' saga rolls on. In the end he'll end up helping Mum off the stage plinth, by which time she'll be bopping to 'Rhythm is a dancer.' She'll time her bopping exploits and proudly tell me she could easily pop to Stringfellows nightclub and wriggle her booty most of the night. Although, I'm not sure what the management would think about it, especially during this period of austerity. They wouldn't want to lose custom.
She gets a lot of comfort from her water bottle in the winter and is usually six feet away from an open fire. She'll be on the phone singing silly songs to my nieces, or making up bedtime stories for them; usually about an accident prone Squirrel called Bushy whose adventures come close to death but he always survives till the next adventure. Mums face would contort as she does the impressions to the delight of my nieces - her magic still evident today, creating such awe and excitement to another generation - her love and imagination never waning. Seeing her with children again over these few years has refreshed my own memories of my childhood. Some pretty weird ones as well, for example, 'smelling under her armpits,' just because I was at that particular height. Hiding under a sideboard when I should be in bed, for two whole hours, I was making high pitched tiny squeals. It disrupted their viewing of Dallas and Dad got his air-rifle out - naturally when I heard it being cocked I got scared and I pissed myself and drenched my PJ's - Mum never complained. She saw it as a part of her Motherly duties.
I keep telling her, it is me who is the lucky one. I'm very fortunate.©1st2thebar2011
My Mum is a lovely lass
She brought us up so well
And for all the bad things that we did
She's always been so swell
My Mum is a sweet little gem
She loves us all so much
And when I stop to think of her
It really means so much
My Mum is really nice
She wiped our tears away
We use to cause her so much trouble
Every single day
My Mum is my hero
Supportive in all we do
She wiped the bums of all of us
Free from wee and poo
My Mum is amazing
She cares for us so much
When I was bad, I made her cry
So I made her a rabbit hutch
My Mum is like a cauliflower
All beautiful and grey
And even though shes getting old
She still can dance and sway
My Mum is the bestest Mum
The bestest there could be
And I love her with all my heart
I just hope she can see
Well there we go, my best attempt at poetry. Not sure if it makes sense but there you are Mum. I love you xxx
My mum recently turned 60 but you wouldnt know it! Shes not like most 60year olds i knows.
Her routine is to wake up at 6am, have breakfast and do her workout. She has a work out bench in my old bedroom and weights down the garden. She does 10minutes on the bench then runs down the garden and does 10minutes down the garden then back and forth for ages. When i used to get ready for school she would be in the kitchen making my lunch WHILE jumping up at down! She does this everyday without fail. She then takes her 2 dogs plus my dog for a 2-3hour walk. She has the healthiest lifestyle ive ever seen and i cant believe how strong she is. I struggle to carry my shopping so along comes mum.
She is the one who keeps the family together. If, at any time one of us needs her she will drop what shes doing and come straight round. My family have a history of depression and my mum is down as the carer of my brother so shes usually out and about. When ever ive needed to talk to someone i always knew i could go to her. Half the time i think of her as a best friend rather then a mum. Most of my friends were too embarissed to go shopping with there mum but were more then happy to go with my mum. Shes always got the latest fashion trends and when you ask for her opinion you know she is going to give you the truth. When im out and about with her she will quick happily go in ann summers and have a laugh with me and people hardly believe that she has a 40 year old daughter. Shes looked after herself so well and i really look up to her for that.
Everyone has people they dont like, even my mum, but shes never horrible to anyone. She will always do what ever she can to keep herself and people around her happy. When i told her i was pregnant she was nothing but comforting to me. All me and my brothers and sisters have done stupid things that have ment shes had to help us out. Not once did she complain. She still does it to this day.
She still thinks she 18. One time i sat next to my partner on the sofa n made it so she couldnt sit down so she decided to sit on my partners lap. He know knows what kind of person she is and just plays along. If she sees a guy she thinks it fit shes not afraid to say it, and when she sees guys wearing there trousers low down i have to fight to stop her from pulling them back up!
When we were younger things were bad. She had me and my 2 brothers at home and was working 3 jobs. She would wake up, drop me at school, go to work, pick me up from school, take me to her second job, i would go home with my dad and she would go onto her 3rd job, not many people can run a family home and keep 3 jobs. My mum is the strongest lady i know and i love her to pieces.
My mother died almost seven years ago, after a long and painful illness. She was aged seventy four. Before the cancer took hold of her she was a very energetic lady, acting younger than her years. My mum had a great outlook on life. She was interesting, intelligent and funny. A working class girl born and bred in Islington, north London, with great tales to tell, especially about wartime London and being evacuated. She made it clear that, although war was terrible they did still have some humour filled times. She was a wonderful mother, an incredible grandmother who, even when in pain, as the cancer attacked her spine, would play games with her grandchildren such as 'football' in the hallway, pretending to chase them with a walking stick and 'swing ball' in the garden. And, of course, the 'tea parties' in her garden with toy tea-set and sweets. And the children loved to ride on her mobility scooter, in the park. She is so sadly missed.
I wasn't sure whether to do this review as it is personal, but, I feel there are enough kind people on this site who will understand my thoughts.
My mum was my best friend.
God Be With You
Mother you have left a treasure trove of memories,
Thoughts of cold, autumn afternoons,
When black Wellington boots waded
Through deep, muddy puddles.
As your hand held mine inside your glove.
Memories of all seasons and occasions
Will surely never fade.
Did I know how hard you worked?
I don't suppose that I did.
But I knew you were wonderful.
I fidgeted on your knee,
"You're getting heavy." You said.
I replied, " I won't sit on your lap when I'm FIVE."
Lovingly you made my wedding dress,
Saving satin in the hope there would be
A future need for a Christening gown.
And when your first grandchild was born,
It was wonderful to see you holding her,
As you gazed at each other.
Immediate allies, weren't you?
I was so frightened when you became ill.
I prayed, "Please let my mother get better.
Let there be time for her grandchildren
To know her." And they did: Sarah, Paul,
Christopher, Jonathan, Danielle, Kathryn and James
Will remember their fun grandmother,
Who gave them so much of her time.
Sadly, towards the end,
Your pain became too much to bear.
I felt so helpless, as we all did.
But there WAS time to say
Those special words of love and gratitude,
And I will always treasure
Those precious moments that we shared.
I found it so hard to say goodbye,
How would I cope without my best friend?
Yet, I understood it was time for you to leave.
Dear Mum, you will be forever in my heart,
In my thoughts, in my very being.
And so, until we meet again,
May God be with you.
My mum will reach the grand young age of 60 later this year and what better way than celebrating this momentous occasion that featuring in a Dooyou review?! Joking aside - there are many ways but she may read this and that would spell birthday surprise disaster!!
She has always thought herself unfortunately named - Thelma Eugenie, although she tolerated this well believing that she was named after family members. My grandma was later to reveal that she was actually named after a nursing home in her home town of Blackburn!!
Thankfully my mum was much kinder when naming her offspring (phew!).
She left school at 15 and began work as a sewing machinist before moving to Blackpool to take up a Summer job as a chalet maid at Pontins. It was here she met my dad who was working as a security guard. They married a short time later and moved back to Blackburn.
She gave birth to me at the age of 22 and my sister appeared 18 months later. I can't imagine having two children at such a young age - I was still partying hard well into my 30's (I'm still hoping for a renaissance!).
I have many happy memories of my childhood, playing in the back garden, going to the park ever day in the Summer. It was always mum who was there, enjoying herself as much as we were! She wasn't too strict, just strict enough. If we were naughty, we generally wouldn't repeat the offence - although she never did discover the brussel sprouts hidden in newspaper after Sunday dinner, hehe.
My grandma once took over for a week while my mum and dad went on holiday. I think I ran away twice - she was a tyrant! She made a star and beetle chart, for some reason my chart only had beetles :-(
It was such a relief when mum came back!! You don't know how luck you are sometimes!
Mum had two difficult marriages but always remained dignified and resilient throughout. She became a single mum when I was aged 14/15 and received no support financial or otherwise from my dad.
She began sewing soft toys for a living - most nights you would find mum and grandma in the 'sewing room'. My mum on the machine and my grandma 'turning' (the toys were inside out and had to be turned the right way!). I would make cups of tea for cigarette breaks and sometimes be paid a pound :-)
My mum would look after my great grandma every few weeks or so, for a couple of weeks at a time. She was a love but very demanding (unwittingly).
Over the last few years my mum has taken on the role of carer for all of her loved ones.
My grandma and her husband moved next door so that my mum could help out as they became increasingly dependent. She would pop through a hole in the back fence taking in meals and doing all the cleaning. She didn't get much thanks!
She then nursed her dear dad John(boy) at home in the final months of his life. He had been suffering from cancer, mum was devastated when he died.
Shortly afterwards my grandma's husband also became terminally ill, once again my mum was became the main carer. She must have had the patience of a saint as he wasn't the cheeriest of souls! I don't remember her complaining once.
Some time later my grandma moved in with mum. A major clash of personalities - my grandma would moan and criticise and say she wasn't wanted and my mum would be running round attending to her every whim!
Before her death my grandma was completely housebound. Mum moved my grandma downstairs and her partner installed a bathroom. My mum then lived upstairs in 'the bedsit'.
The situation reminds me of mum and nana in The Royle Family.
Grandma died a couple of years ago, she is missed but my mum has got her life back :-)
Yikes, I haven't mentioned how amazing she was (and still is) after the birth of my son. She was present at the C - section and has been a dutiful and doting grandma ever since. My sister has provided her with a granddaughter so she now has the full set!
Not one to rest and take it easy, she recently retired from her job as a dinner lady and now looks after my niece two days a week.
Over the last year she has been a willing labourer for her partner who has installed two wood burning stoves - and now spends a good couple of hours a day making paper bricks or roaming the nearby countryside collecting wood!
This lady certainly has some get up and go! A very strong personality - she tells you how it is, you may not always want to hear it but she will tell you! She's also one of the funniest people I know - she doesn't need to tell a joke,it's more facial expressions and a lovely vulnerability which unfortunately for her led to many a practical joke when we were younger.
She always saw the funny side!
I could write another ten pages and it still wouldn't do her justice. So thanks mum for just being you and for all you have done for me and the rest of your family. Happy 60th - You don't look old enough for a bus pass xx
She had two difficult marriages but remained dignified and resilient throughout.
My mum is 41, (I THINK) yet again I do not know my parents age completely.
I love my mum so much but don't get to talk to her a lot as I live away from home and when I go to see her she is always with my stepdad who I CANT SERIOUSLY STAND!! He is an old freak (sorry mum if you can see this but you don't have the best taste in men)
My mum loves drinking and throwing parties. She goes all out on every holiday especially on Halloween with decorations because we believe Halloween is overlooked a lot.
My mum is always talking to MY friends on Facebook and making friends with them, and they always seem to text her and ask for advice and stuff because she's a cool mum.
My mums really pretty and everyone thinks she's in her 20's, she has blonde hair, green eyes and is thin. I tend to look more like my dad though, lol.
My mum is sweet and caring and is always looking out for me and she is really laid back and let me do pretty much anything I wanted as a kid.
My mum has had 2 other children apart from me. And she named me Chantal because she had a dream about the name.
She can frustrate me at how laid back she is at times but I love her all the same.
Love you gorgeous mummy x
I'm not going to say my mum's the best mum in the world because far too many people say that and they can't all be right, but my mum is pretty great :P
My mum is Denise, she was born in 1962 and had me (her only child) when she was 26.
Unfortunately for my mum, her dad died of a heart attack when she was only 14 years old and her mum (my nan) got stabbed in the back when walking the dog roughly 10 years later - luckily my nan survived.
My dad was my mum's first boyfriend, but their marriage only lasted 5 years before my mum discovered he was cheating on her and kicked him out of the house, they divorced 5 years later when I was 7. Since then my mum hasn't been very lucky in love, but last year she got engaged and has since emigrated to Australia to be with her new husband.
I lived with my mum up until I was 18 and she decided to move down to the coast, at this point I moved in with my grandad and dad (who lived in London where I was at college), but I moved again last year back to my mum's house. This time though I'm not living with her - when she emigrated she offered to let me and my boyfriend live in her house at cost (we give her enough money to cover mortgage and bills). I think this is very generous of her as she could be making a very tidy profit from renting the house out properly, but instead has let us live here at no profit to herself (thanks mum). Even though we're getting a good deal on rent my mum knows we still struggle for money and has sent me several cheques in the post to help cover things when problems crop up as well as giving me her car when she emigrated so I wouldn't have to buy one (I passed my driving test 3 days after she left the country). I would never ask her for money, but I really do appreciate everything she gives me, especially as she doesn't have much money herself and has worked so hard for everything she does have.
Like I said, my mum moved to Australia in 2009 (April to be precise) and I haven't seen her since May when I went over to visit. This July she's coming over for 3 weeks to attend my university graduation which will be nice as I miss her alot and I know she misses me, her mum and England in general. Since she emigrated we tend to email alot (better than phone calls because of the time difference) and talk about pretty much anything although she does get paranoid that something terrible has happened to me if I don't reply for a couple of days :P
All in all I would like to thank my mum for: bringing me up to know right from wrong, giving me good financial sense, helping out when things get tough, the house, the car and always being there for me when I need her. She might be on the otherside of the world, but I still don't know what I'd do without her.
All about my Mum!
My Mums name is Janette or Janet for short and she is in her mid 50s. I am more like my Mum than i believe in looks and in temperament! My Mum has always worked hard to provide for myself and my sister who is 8yrs older. She has been married to our Dad for 34yrs and she had me when she was 34 which nowadays i believe is considered quite old!
My Mum was born and raised in the same home that my Gran still lives in along with an older brother and sister. Her first job was working in the Sheriff Officers as a typist and receptionist but she went on to work in Scotmid through most of my childhood. After leaving here she went onto work in Woolworths for 10years until it closed in January 2009 leaving her, my Dad and many others unemployed. They both found it incredibly difficult to find jobs due to age and relutantly had to sign on and claim job seekers allowance for the 1st time in their lives. They were treated like scum for the 6months they were claiming which really angers me as they have put alot into the so called system! Both of them now have jobs and my Mum has turned her hand to working in a jewellery store part time which suits her perfectly.
Mum enjoys spending time with her 4 grandchildren and most of all going to Gala Bingo! Her best friend is called Ellen and they worked together in Woolies though personally i think she is a bad influence on my mother lol!
Mum is good for if you need a loan of money, she seems to use that to her advantage though but i love her anyways and know shes there if i need her though growing up we tend to be left with my Gran alot. She was still a good Mum, we never went without food or warmth and we went nice holidays to Majorca but i just wish she had paid us more attention!
So I reviewed my Dad, and would not want to dissapoint 'our bid' by not reviewing her too.
Well, where to begin with this complex lady??!! My mum is called Diane, she was 30 years old when she had me but had been planning since the age of 18. At this age she actually bought a pram. Which I find absolutley hilarious and love to tell everyone just to see the embarrasment on her face.
You see, me and mum, love to wind each other up. Now I am older we understand each other more and get along really well. It was a different story when I lived at home, me and Mum would bicker and fall out. Constantly nit pick at one another, now I look back I can definatley put it down to us being too alike. Are personalities are just the same in so many ways. Too many ways. But since leaving home at 17, me an Mum have got along better and better and better.
Mum is quite a character, she won't take the bins out without having her make up on, even a day in the house cleaning and she has her lippy on.
Mum has just recentley remarried, and I was so happy for her, Mum made a lot of sacrifices for me and my brother and sister since Dad died. She was only able to work part time but managed to feed and clothe 3 kids, and keep a huge house running. Mum always made sure the house was immaculate (fuel for many an arguement was me never cleaning my room) and that every night we had a cooked meal. Super woman, right?
Mum has also always done our best to get us everything we have ever wanted, we have never ever gone without. And in turn we have never asked for more than we have got, we have learnt to appreciate everything we have been given, and this is all down to the way Mum has brought us up.
Mum has always made us earn pocket money too, I realise we were even lucky to get pocket money. But we would dry pots, pretend to tidy the garden, clean our rooms, if our jobs werent done we didn't get our pocket money. As much as this frustrated me at the time, I now am really thankful for it. I already knew that if you don't earn your money it isn't just given.
My Mum is fabulous, she is always dressed nice and people always say how glamorous she looks. With her blonde hair, blue eyes. She is definatley a looker. My Mum is a cool Mum, and definatley a young at heart Mum. (She would kill me if she knew I said she was only young at heart haha), we enjoy a lot of good times together, it's nice to now be able to go out for a drink with my Mum and enjoy each others company. Some nights I would rather go have a laugh and a joke with Mum than go out with my mates.
I love my Mum, she is a total star!
I've recently written a review on my Dad, and thought what better to way to follow this up than to write one about my Mum.
My mums name is Julie, she is 48, soon to be 49. At times we bicker, at times we get on great, but name a mother and daughter that are different.
My mum really is my hero, whilst my Dad was away in the army, my mum was there to kiss us goodnight and assure us he wasn't too far away. She taught me how to walk, talk, how to brush my hair, how to dress myself and pretty much everything else that has helped me be the person I am today. Unlike other mums, she has done this pretty much single-handedly. But not only that, not only has she brought up 2 kids, but cooked, cleaned and worked full time. Not an easy feat!
All my mum has ever wanted was a house to call her own, a house that she could decorate herself, put down her own carpets, painted the walls however she chose, and I'm so happy my parents were able to do this in 2006!! My mum has been a rock to my Dad through 22 years of many seperations down to the army, but has coped admirably with each one, making them stronger today than they've ever been!
Due to a back operation that went wrong, my mum is now registered disabled, only managing to walk short distances, which has left her practically house-bound. She enjoys a good drink, and could quite easily keep up with any man I know, if not surpass him, and for the past 8 months or so has been addicted to facebook!! (I'm yet to tell her about dooyoo!!)
In all, my mum is a great lady and I know that if i turn out to be half the woman she is, I'll be very lucky!!!
This is for you Mam, I hope one day you might read it.
My Mam is class. Top notch, she is the best Mam anyone could ask for. She taught me to write and read before I went to school she is clever, funny kind and brilliant. Despite being skint and having nothing, she never sees me without - one day I am going to repay her and give her the type of life she deserves. She loves animals, she used to collect pigs now it's penguins and she has two dogs. She is so adaptable and accepting, understanding and the perfect person to tell a secret to or find comfort in when I am upset.
You know what? She is my hero. I hope one day I am as great a mother as her.
But Mam, like most other people has a history. She lost her Mam when I was 13 and since then she has been really depressed. She is disabled - she had a nasty accident which left her unable to walk very far and has made her lose the majority of her independence. She never leaves the house anymore, she taught me to use facebook and she doesn't even go on the computer anymore, I worry sick about her, sometimes she doesn't eat for days because she cant lift a pan, the kettle or hot things out of the microwave - so we have to help her, which of course isnt a chore. She gets a home help for an hour and a half a week and she has to pay £24 for the priviledge. The home help woman is pretty great with my Mam though, she brings her magazines and DVDs over but my Mam shows little or no interest in anything. She has lost the will to exist in my eyes and it makes me so sad.
A few years ago my Mam won the post code lottery. She got £8k, she gave my Sister and me £2k each, spent £1k on paying some little debts off and then put the rest in to an ISA for when she dies to pay for her funeral, so we are not lumbered with it. It makes me so sad, I don't know how to get through to her? Why didn't she go shopping or treat herself, or go on holiday? I told her about the community on here and said you could earn yourself some pocket money and talk to people and engage your brain and she said no I'm useless at writing and things like that and I thought you are not! Your amazing! Where do you think I got my intelligence from?
I never tell her anything too earth shattering about me unless I really need to, because I don't want her to worry. She will just blame herself. But I want so desperately for us to be friends and her to confide in me and vice versa. She is astonishing and I love her with all my heart.
Just because you lost your Mam doesn't mean you have to give up on life - you've still got a job to do and that is being our clever funny outgoing Mam again!
A year having passed since my mother's final, fatal stroke, this seems as good an occasion as any to post these reminiscences here. Although - let me warn you at the outset - long, they don't add up to "everything about my mum" or anything like it. Does anyone know everything about their mother? Would anyone want to know everything about their mother? I doubt it.
Nevertheless, I probably know more about my mother than most people know about theirs. More, in some ways, than it is comfortable to know. This knowledge has been handed down to me in two autobiographical manuscripts, in diaries, in bundles of letters and odd scraps of paper.
My mother was a remarkable person. Not a hugely successful person, as the world acknowledges success, something to which she was in any case indifferent, just remarkable. And, I think, rather admirable, though of course I am biased. But her very individuality makes it hard to explain to those who did not know her in what way this was so. Maybe it's best to try, wherever possible, to use her own words, and hope you will divine from them something of her character.
* Childhood *
Her parents, my grandparents, both came from large, poor, cockney families, but my grandfather had progressed through trade union work to become a journalist. They were in their thirties when they married and my mother was their only child. She was pampered by them - "Mother wanted her child to have 'all that the rich people's children' had" - and enjoyed a happy, if largely uneventful, childhood. Only one or two incidents stand out in her account of her early days.
"Mother said I was a good child, no trouble. When I was quite little Mother had diphtheria and was very ill. I was sent to stay with her sister Nell and her little girl developed it and died. This was a great tragedy because she had already lost one little girl at eighteen months, with whooping cough. It was considered that I must be a carrier of the diphtheria and I was put in an isolation hospital for a while. I much enjoyed this as I was not ill and was very sociable."
"Very soon we moved again. Here [in Norbury] came my first realisation of myself as a person: walking home alone, a long trail uphill from my school. I thought something like 'This is me, and in years to come I shall think of myself at this moment.' And I have done so."
* Schooling *
"The school was St Hilda's, kept by a very forceful Miss Lucas. She said of me to my parents 'She will always be top of any school she is in.' She was economical about stationery and we tore off blank sheets of letters and exercise books, even the backs of envelopes. It is a habit I have never lost and has been of great disservice to me because I have been reluctant to buy proper memorandum books and have jotted thoughts down on scraps of paper, which now I am faced with trying to sort out." Having myself sifted through the outcome, I know the feeling.
At her next, secondary, school: "I was never in any trouble except for talking. I was so quick that I had done the work in no time with no effort and was always interrupting others. I can well believe that in egalitarian schools the bright ones become delinquent because had I not been of a timid nature and afraid of authority I should have been in constant trouble."
"As it was I drowned in seas of boredom half the time. This has been my fate in every office in which I have worked. But in my own time I am never for an instant bored. Nor do I require to be entertained by television or other external thing. There is always something to do or I can sit and do nothing; my thoughts range around."
Languages were her forte. "Once an inspector came and I was reading aloud and he said 'Do you read as well in English as you do in German?' In fact, my French was good too and I learnt reams of Le Cid and was later gratified to find on hearing it performed in Paris that my interpretation was borne out in its climaxes and rhythms by the diction of the Comedie Francaise."
* Teenage Years *
"I always remember Sunday as a dreary kind of day: one would wait and hope someone would call, would telephone, something would happen. A walk, Sunday lunch. We did not of course go to church owing to my father's atheism. The only row I remember my parents having when I was little was when someone took me to Sunday school. This anti-Church militancy meant too I could not be a guide or brownie. My social life was confined to school and friends."
"There was plenty of opportunity for flirting: just walking home, the common, the library. Everyone walked around, so half-acquainted boys, someone's brothers or cousins or neighbours, could follow and flirt. I wrote doggerel poems about the boys and what Nell did and what I said and so on. I also wrote the usual adolescent poems about autumn leaves and poppies and Love."
"The main reason I made my own clothes was probably because I was so very difficult to please. I always wanted a particular style, a particular colour, a special material. The things I would like were ten times the possible price. School dressmaking classes were hopeless. We did ghastly things called 'garments' no one would have dreamt of wearing."
"As I rose in the school I was able to go in less. Just as in the sixth you could wear your own clothes so in the sixth you could quietly disappear if you had no lessons. I took a picnic usually and tramped around London." She never lost the pleasure she took in exploring places on her own.
* Abroad *
"Now all and sundry go abroad, but how privileged it felt in those days to travel. Nearly all my early experience abroad was in Germany, beginning with a school exchange in 1933. My partner was a large, blonde, self-satisfied girl and from her family I received an overwhelming impression of narrow-mindedness. This was at a time when the Nazis were insisting on the traditional role of women - Kinder, Kuche, Kirche - so that intelligence and talents went for nothing."
"Frau Mundt said 'Both the girls will have a training. One hopes they will never have to make use of it.' But for me too [in a different way] this has remained the ideal, not having to use one's training to earn a living."
"Another custom I liked was that Frau Mundt took us to a tea-dance in the elegant Budapesterstrasse. Strangers asked you to dance and it was a public snub not to accept. One dancing-partner asked if he might call and Gisela and I were on tenterhooks before he came because he was a Nazi and she said if he came in uniform her father would shut the door in his face."
On a later visit to Germany, though, in 1936, while she waited to go up to Oxford, her hosts had a rather different attitude to the Nazis, being prominent Nazis themselves. "In the meantime a post was sought for me abroad. The German mistress had contacts and through the wife of the Air Attaché at the German Embassy in London, who was a personal friend of Frau von Ribbentrop, I was engaged to act as companion and speak English with the latter's daughter. Herr von Ribbentrop was then Ambassador-at-Large [later Foreign Minister] for the Hitler Government."
"In their household I entered, in a subordinate, youthful capacity, the world of embassies, rich business people, politics. The ambassador we hardly ever saw. He worked terribly hard. He sometimes swept in with lots of adjutants and secretaries and went on working in the study. Frau von Ribbentrop saw to everything. She had been to university, 'I have a great gift for mathematics,' she said. She respected my two scholarships for Oxford; 'that impresses me'. She suffered much from sinus trouble. However, she was all right at this time, very pretty and elegant."
But the nature of the visit changed after a car crash. "We drove to Blankenburg in the Harz. A wonderful drive. We went in three cars, two enormous powerful open touring cars and a closed car. All this was intensely exciting, dramatic - and Bettina and I in the back of the big open car, singing 'The music goes round and round'. Then, suddenly I found myself leaning against a tree, and Bettina was being carried moaning, her face covered in blood and her legs all hanging limp and clear. Nothing had happened to me, I wasn't even frightened because it had all happened so quickly, I didn't have time to be."
"My German profited greatly since Bettina was not allowed to tire herself by speaking English. I said to Frau von Ribbentrop I was afraid I wasn't giving [value with] my English but she said 'Well for that you have the boredom'. But in fact I was quite happy. I had a very pleasant time doing nothing much, a bit of dressmaking, tennis, chatting to Nurse; the house had a swimming-pool with a weeping willow overhanging."
"There were occasions when I writhed on the floor in adolescent agony, reproaching myself that if I had done better someone would have fallen in love with me, I could have stayed in this world instead of returning to Clapham and an office or Oxford and essays. After one of the political luncheons, Frau von Ribbentrop said 'Sie haben eine Eroberung gemacht. Herr X hat sie so nett gefunden' ('You have made a conquest. Herr X was very taken with you') and I thought to myself 'Es ist die hochste Zeit' ('About time too')." But it came to nothing, which is perhaps just as well when one reflects on the historic events that were to unfold.
"I learned at the Ribbentrops what it means to be rich. Not in surroundings or clothes but in the elimination of barriers, in making true choices. For most people no choices are truly possible, only certain alternatives within a framework. At home we started out always from what we could afford: we cut our coat according to our cloth. It was a new idea that one could decide on the coat and choose the cloth accordingly, in life as in dressmaking."
"My parents came. Frau von Ribbentrop entertained them to tea. Bohnhaus was watering the lawn and my father said 'That should not be done in the sun but in the evening', and Frau von Ribbentrop said: 'Yes, but one can't keep them working late.' It was funny to think that the rich capitalist lady should be saying that to the lifelong trade unionist."
It may seem odd that he would have agreed to visit at all, or for her to go there in the first place, given his politics, but in 1936 the worst excesses of the Nazis were not yet generally known, while some on the left still hoped that the 'Socialist' in 'National Socialist' (the full title of the Nazi party) might mean something.
My mother was in Berlin at the time of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, when Hitler and Mussolini backed Franco's Fascist insurgents, while the rest of Europe sympathised with the left-leaning democratic government. "Looking at some pictures in the paper about Spain one of the German girls said: 'Isn't it terrible what the Communists are doing there?' Later in England I saw the identical picture and someone said 'Look what the Fascists are doing in Spain.' I tried to teach my son the lesson this taught me. When quite small he was reading a book about the Crusades. He said 'Who was Saladin?' I said 'The defender of Jerusalem against the infidel.' He looked puzzled and couldn't reconcile this with the story. I said 'Who wrote that book? Which side was he on, the man who wrote that book?'" I can't pretend to remember this conversation, but it would have been typical of my mother's approach to educating her offspring.
"I was happier with the Ribbentrops than with either the narrow Mundts or the very sweet but limited Reichers; the wider horizons and the background of education were very congenial. It taught me that personality had little to do with politics. I once said to a Jewish refugee in Palestine that the Ribbentrops were 'nice people' and he was shocked to the core; it was very tactless of me, I should have got round it in some way, but it was true. I have known nice Communists, nice Blimps and even nice bigoted Catholics."
On return: "I overheard my mother say to someone 'We were afraid she might be spoilt by living with all those grand people and find it very small at home, but it doesn't seem to be so.' But indeed I was spoilt for humdrum suburban life, only I concealed it well."
* Oxford *
"Although I had gained a College Exhibition in Modern Languages I obtained consent to read instead PPE - Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Current Affairs interested me more than old French and Middle German; moreover there was no danger of such subjects leading to a teaching job."
"So few girls went to university in those days that those who did were almost all upper middle class. I remember only one girl who was really working-class, a miner's daughter, and very aggressive about it, though no one 'looked down' on her. I did not much mind having to be careful with money. I did not mind having less than some other students; many of the County types were actually pretty hard up. I felt it more in the holidays when my home friends had jobs and living at home had plenty of money for clothes and lipsticks etc. In time I made a little extra money by making clothes for fellow-students. As finals approached a tutor took me to task for this: as an exhibitioner I should devote more time to work. But to me the work was always irksome even when interesting. I could do the work but I did not enjoy it. But many other things I enjoyed."
"One girl I became friendly with, a boyish type called always Jackson, did running and as I have always been able to get up early I went out with her before breakfast, on a bike, to pace her. We used to be first in to breakfast, ravenous. Most of my other friends were sophisticated types who staggered into breakfast at the last moment, in a fur coat over their pyjamas, so I formed the habit of eating my way through enormous prolonged breakfasts."
"The Indians at Oxford were very unsure of themselves in relation to women. Extremely formal, they could yet not I suppose really believe that these girls moving so freely among men could be virtuous. Thus a tendency to try to seduce you, while continuing all the time to call you 'Miss X', and forbearing ever to contradict a lady, which killed all interesting conversation."
"[An admirer] was very military and always going on manoeuvres with the territorials and I used to argue with him and he said 'Someday you'll be glad I can drive a tank.' When I was in Cairo with a young baby and Rommel was sweeping across North Africa I thought of this. But I was so very pacifist then and used to make up fantasies where I refused handsome young Guardsmen because they were soldiers."
"My friend Mary, who was of an enterprising turn of mind, took me along to a party; we left it and went to another. That was boring, we said, the first was better and we returned. I was interested in acting at the time, and Mary said: 'That man over there is the secretary of the Experimental Theatre Group. If you want to get a good part you'd better go over and be nice to him.' I did. His name was H."
"Through H's friendship with Woodrow Wyatt I became involved in journalism. My woman's page in the paper 'Oxford Comment' they started with Hugh Fraser was praised by a London journalist. Like the acting, it was fun being part of a group doing something. A university is an artificial place, closed against reality. There personality counts; in life, character."
* Marriage *
"H became a dominant factor in my life in an uneasy, exciting, erratic, uncomfortable way. Brilliant and proud, exacting and jealous, he made the most inordinate calls on one's sympathy, dwelling always on his sufferings, which required constant sacrifices for his reassurance."
"There were of course nice times - working together in the gardens, on the roof of the [Radcliffe] Camera, sitting by the fire, companionship. But I am today exasperated - why with all those young men about did I have to get entangled with H? He had always the power to make me suffer, never the power to make me happy. Well, they say that a perfectly honest person can never fall victim to a confidence trickster who works always on the human failing to want a little bit extra for nothing. Having insufficient self-confidence I suppose I wanted to be wanted more than a nice peaceful person would have wanted me."
"However we became engaged and gave a party to celebrate 'her 21st birthday and their engagement'. I have a rather imperfect list of the presents, finishing 'H - a ring'. It was very pretty, from an Oxford jewellers, secondhand or antique, pearl in five pieces like a flower with a very pretty scrolled setting band. It cost a guinea. Unfortunately it was lost in Cairo when I was ill [amoebic dysentery and jaundice] and became very thin."
"I always think of myself as a cheerful person and I am quite staggered how day after day I record that I am depressed at this time. What agony it must have been for my parents to see me in this bondage and be unable to rescue me."
But married she was, most inauspiciously: "It poured with rain. My father would have nothing to do with it. Mother came to see I was really being married but was utterly miserable. Jessica [a friend from childhood] was a witness; she was late, not being able to find the registry office. H went out to look for her and Mother, crying all the time, said 'It would be a good thing for you if he never came back'. I was pretty miserable too but beaten. Mother gave us £5 and we went to see 'Ruggles of Red Gap' with Charles Laughton. It didn't seem like getting married at all."
* The War Years *
Despite a stellar record as an undergraduate, lack of money meant that H could not stay at Oxford for a doctorate. "He was now in for two main jobs: as a lecturer in Hokkaido, Japan, and assistant lecturer in the University of Egypt. The Cairo job he was offered first and accepted. If we had gone to Japan we might never have survived the war."
In September 1939, as the Second World War was breaking out across Europe, the newlyweds made their way through France to catch a steamer to Egypt from Marseilles. From here on, my use of my mother's own words will necessarily be more fragmented. Most of the above is taken from the first volume she wrote, many years later, towards a full, sequential autobiography. This unfinished work she sent on spec to a publisher. His response was that it was very interesting, but that there was little market for autobiographies of people who were not already famous. She decided this was all too credible and she didn't persevere, not even to the extent of sending it to other publishers. My own suspicion is that she had enjoyed writing about her days growing up and at university, but that remembering the decade that followed would have been very painful to her, so she was almost glad for an excuse not to continue.
There are letters, though, and notes. "The great thing to remember about the war is that we did not know we were going to win. This non-knowledge represents a frame of mind impossible to recapture. Living it was like reading a book, carried along by the narrative and really not knowing the ending. But the next thing to remember is that this never seemed to bother one at the time. I never remember being frightened, not even when Rommel was approaching. The immediate was always more pressing. When I went to Ramallah [in Palestine] I did not worry about what was happening in Egypt at all."
Her direct involvement in the war in Cairo was limited to some secretarial work at the RAF headquarters, though very little of this is mentioned in the letters, maybe because of the prevailing censorship. Mostly, they are about Cairene life: "I ride by tram to the Air Force, not far, every day; I ride in the Harem, that is the 'ladies only' part; it looks funny to see up on the tram 'Harem'." "It is very awkward here, the Egyptians are so hospitable one just can't catch up. If one invites them to tea, they invite one to lunch and dinner the next day. One student told H that he knew that English hospitality was very bad, he had been told that if you were invited to stay with someone in England they were tired of you after you had been in their house a week, whereas in Egypt you might stay six months! They are so very sociable they don't understand anyone wanting to be alone."
A later note reports: "I changed my job from the RAF to the British Embassy, as a shorthand/typist in a pool, quite cut off from the diplomatic staff. They said 'We haven't had anyone as educated as you', but I was so little career-minded that it never entered my head to try for the diplomatic service, despite my very suitable degree and languages."
Not that it would have lasted long if she had, since quite soon after this her first child, my sister, was born. For a while, motherhood predominates in her letters, flavoured with some nostalgia for England. The appeal of Cairo seems to have waned: "I detest the place, and can think of none more suited to a vain and cynical existence." "We sit on the balcony and talk about kippers and pork with crackling. And Christ Church quad in the rain."
Work, though, refused to leave her in peace. "I wrote an article on the British community here's bit towards the war which was pretty awful and sent it to a paper which I confidently hope will send it back tomorrow. I say hope because I detest writing articles but feel it would be a way of earning money while still being at home. But if a few articles were scornfully refused I should feel it was useless anyway." To no avail; she was enlisted to help on a magazine - to all intents and purposes an allied propaganda sheet - called 'The War in Pictures', published in several languages, enjoying layout and translation work but hating writing articles.
In June 1942, after defeat in the Libyan desert and the fall of Tobruk, the British Eighth Army was forced back by the German Afrika Korps to within 100 miles of Cairo. My mother was evacuated to Palestine, at that time still a British Protectorate, the conflict that led to the creation of the state of Israel still being some years ahead. The next year, 1943, my father, who had by then left the university to work in a 'press-relations-propaganda-advisory-propaganda-policy-propaganda-executive -bulletin-producing-pamplet-outputting' role for the British government, was also posted there.
Although it is clear - reading between the lines of diaries and letters - that there had been problems between them in Egypt, they were settled together for a while and in due course I was born. What is less clear is why, with the conflict not yet over and my father still working for the government in Palestine, my mother risked the voyage back to austere, rationed, war-ravaged England with an infant and a babe-in-arms.
* Post-war strife *
Presumably the reason cannot simply have been marital discord, since she stayed for the first six months after her return with her in-laws, and the letters exchanged between them were at first very affectionate, but marital harmony was certainly not helped by their separation.
Nor, it would appear, by their reunion, after which friction between them soon became critical. I have found a plaintive note to herself among her papers from this period musing on the implications of divorce: "It is useless for women to have economic independence by our jobs and biological independence by birth control yet I do not feel independent. I feel abysmally dependent, terribly dangerously breakably slight-slip-is-catastrophe dependent on men to give me children."
Her existing children had become the focus of her life, so that one bone of contention between my parents was that family finances required her to go out to work and see little of us. There were other bones of contention too, my father's infidelity being one of them, though she would have tolerated that in return for being allowed to devote herself to domesticated motherhood. She was not.
"It is horrid to go the way of all the other marriages, and let [parents and friends] be right in saying that I could not stick it, but it is like war and peace. You can be a pacifist and then after a time it seems as though the only decent honourable thing is to declare peace over when in fact it is over." It was finally over after just ten years.
Going through her papers from the time I find things that reflect discreditably on my father, but with extraordinary restraint she never tried to influence my sister and me against him, not even after he was dead when nothing she said could have soured our relationship with him. She was a woman of character in more ways than one.
* Career *
There is a double irony in my mother's career. By the standards of the time, when very few women had enough education to enable them to pursue a professional career, she was unusually well-qualified, yet it was the last thing she wanted. She had no ambition. She would have been content to be a mother and housewife, but fate contrived to force her into a career just the same. The divorce settlement was insufficient to support her and us without her doing so.
She had hoped for remarriage: "If I divorce H I wonder if it is possible some nice person would marry me, someone who wouldn't sweep me off my feet and then leave me stranded, but treat me with respect and then make love to me steadily so that I got lots of children." Having had her fill of intense intellectuals, she wanted someone cosy and comfortable, but this was not the kind of man whom she attracted - understandably perhaps, because she was too unconventional and independent-spirited to offer cosiness and comfort in return.
So, instead, work it was. Her reluctant wartime experience of journalism, her grounding in Economics and her languages (Egypt had added Arabic to her repertoire), combined to secure her a job writing for a business magazine specialising in the oil industry. She never warmed to the work, but her quick mind and clear written style made her rather good at it.
"Have just put away my salary slip. It seems they pay me quite a lot. What for? For being shut up in this office and enduring these aeons of boredom. Of writing how much lubricating oil they make in Egypt. How much India pays for her imports of gasoline. I never understood why I cannot be paid for doing interesting things, for cooking and embroidery."
As she became known around the industry - a recognition aided by it being one in which few women were prominent - she found aspects to the job she did enjoy, especially trips to the Middle East for conferences, refinery openings and the like. But ambition remained alien to her nature; she never sought to move to a more prominent publication and declined even to apply for the editorship of the magazine when it became vacant.
"Once when I got a rise I went and sat in a little square and threw crumbs at the pigeons. A chap said 'Feeding the birds, eh?' and I said 'No, trying to hit them!' " This does, I like to think, reveal more about her attitude to the rise, and thus implicitly to her career, than to the pigeons.
* Home *
While in Cairo she had written: "Even if you have never lived in an English country house, or stayed in one, you feel homesick abroad for an English country house as much as for the streets of London."
Her parents both died during the course of the 1950s, and the inheritance enabled her to move out of London. In a village in what was then still rural Surrey - though within commuting distance - she found a Victorian manor house that had been divided into two. We took the rear end, the less distinguished half, without the grand entrance and main reception rooms, but our bit was still spacious, sturdily built and full of fine features. She adored it, and the ambience of the surrounding countryside.
"Before I actually moved in I sat on a seat on the common and could hardly believe in the moonlight that I was actually coming to live in an English village." "My first holiday after I moved I had 'days out' and I bicycled round the lanes and savoured the countryside. It was a dream fulfilled."
Both of these quotations come from the other of her autobiographical manuscripts. Entitled 'Chattels', it represents an original approach to autobiography, written purely for herself. Before she quit the house she went round each room describing its contents, but not just cataloguing. Rather, she let the items prompt reminiscences; for example, an heirloom or one of her children's possessions might cue a family anecdote; something she herself had bought a memoir of her life and circumstances at the time.
* Chattels and character *
A few items from Chattels which may reveal something of my mother's personality:
"A very pretty cake-plate. I bought it for Marion who has several things with pierced edges but it looks so nice I kept it and salved my conscience by resolving that if she should remark on it 'Oh, what a nice plate' I would give it to her. But she didn't, thank goodness."
"I wore it [a brooch] on the dull black satin lapel of Mother's 'twenties' look opera cloak to the casino in Beirut. I looked very nice and luxurious. Mohammed said: 'You have managed to bring some lovely dresses.' Of course he only got the general effect. I spat on the cars from the terrace. Not in anger or contempt, but reminiscently and to tease him, because years [earlier] Shara and I were sent to learn French and have a holiday in Boulogne and we had a large bedroom with a cabinet de toilette at one end and every day we cleaned our teeth and spat into the slop-pail and every day we walked one step backwards until at the end of the six weeks we spat with perfect accuracy right across the room."
"Three nicely-bound books I bought to stick recipes in when such calf-bound books were worthless - I wish I had bought many. But it is terribly difficult to cut them up or stick things over, just as it is difficult to burn books, they appear to partake of life. And one which I have mutilated turned out to be by an author I semi-collect, The Robber, by CPR James. The Robber was for meat recipes. Rosaline de Vere is for Sweet and Elegant Recipes. The other for vegetables is Tales of the Heart."
"An orange Moygashel dress and jacket. Rather becoming. Patricia came once when I was gardening, clearing the ditch behind the laurel hedge at the end of the garden, which was filled with primroses in the spring, and I was flushed and exasperated and I greeted her with 'How I detest gardening' - she said 'You look marvellous'. I must remember to wear more apricot."
I believe that only my mother could mistake an assault on primroses clad in such an outfit for gardening, could greet an old friend - who had travelled many miles to be there - with such a salutation, and confuse orange with apricot, all within a single paragraph.
* Moving on *
Once my sister and I had grown up and departed, there were good reasons for her not to stay: the house was too big to manage, commuting too tiring as she grew older. Uncharacteristically, she was guided by the good reasons rather than her instincts. "I must move I suppose to a smaller house yet how I would like my grandchildren to know what a house is like that one can explore and rummage in, the modern ones have no nooks and crannies, no little hoards, no loose boards."
"It is still a wonder to me that I live in these gracious rooms. I want all these things around me to stay fixed forever in their place and that is why I am writing them all down. Thus they will be there forever, when I am dead - how sad to leave my tree, the large Wellingtonia, a branch has fallen I see - or move to a cottage or a horrid flat."
She avoided the horrid flat, but not the cottage. After a few years living back in London, on retirement she moved to just such a dwelling, near Bath. Although she liked the area for its landscapes and architecture, she never truly settled there, and devised improbable rationales for her restlessness, such as: "The worst thing about living in the West Country is that one's always driving into the sun."
In truth, I think she simply felt too cut off from her grandchildren, and moved at length to a suitably period but ramshackle house in a town in the South East so as to be within easier reach of them.
* Retirement and grandchildren *
"Oh, I do hope I can retire when I have grandchildren and that the parents won't mind my having them occasionally. I was cheated so much of the children, always tired."
Retirement - which she took as early as her finances allowed - was always going to suit her in any case. Anticipating it many years earlier, she had written: "Sometimes I am afraid I shall be so delirious with joy I shall have a stroke or something." In the event, her reaction wasn't quite so dramatic: "La tralala. I celebrated with what came to hand - made an extra pot of coffee, had a deep bath in Morny French Fern bathsalts and cider with my supper."
She avidly revived and extended her many hobbies - sketching and water-colours, needlework, antiquarian book collecting and book-binding, travel, country walks and visiting stately homes. Writing too, which she enjoyed when she wasn't being paid for it. And, far from our 'minding her having them occasionally', my sister and I both became immensely reliant on her help with our children. My sister's marriage sadly replicated my mother's, with an early divorce forcing her out to work when she would have rather been at home. My wife's early return to her career was voluntary, but in both cases much grandmothery support was needed, and unstintingly supplied.
The grandchildren enjoyed being with her because she enjoyed being with them; she had the knack of entering into the spirit of a child's world. She was enthralled by their activities and sayings, and lovingly recorded the details: "Lucy, aged 3½, after the birth of baby brother: 'When I am a lady with a baby, Mummy will be a granny with a baby?' " "Rupert made me a garden. All coloured pieces of paper pasted on a larger piece. A kind of reel-tower with traily red tinsel ribbon and a rosette of red, loose - 'you see, Grannyma, you can move the rose-garden'." "Matthew, aged 3, saw some very young yellow chicks and said 'they must lay very small eggs'." "Matthew came home with drawings. Stephen, aged 2½, said: 'we did not do painting at mine school today, only jumping and biscuits'."
Stephen, my younger son, once told us: 'I want to go and stay with Granny, only all the time.' We were not jealous of such sentiments; we knew that his affection for us, as well as for her, was safe in her hands. All four of her grandchildren maintained an especially close relationship with her till the end. She found in them, I think, belated compensation for her difficult early days of motherhood.
* Later Life - and death *
With no employment to irk her my mother was, as she always knew she would be, never bored. She was active in local conservation work, local amateur artists' circles and similar activities - I find here notes towards a talk she gave, in French, to the local Franco-British club. She would jump on a bus at random to some town she hadn't visited, wander round to find unusual buildings to sketch, and scour second-hand bookshops. She would tour the country further afield, or go abroad, with friends, to pursue the same interests.
As she grew older her eccentricity, never much concealed, became more marked. Odd pieces of ill-matched furniture and stacks of dusty books filled her rooms; the walls she covered with murals, either copies of favourite paintings or of her own design. Her dress became less and less conventional; her off-the-cuff remarks to friends and even strangers the stuff of family legend. But these quirks only endeared her to those who knew her well.
I shall not dwell on her final decline. One of the liberating features of death is that it allows you to remember again the person in their prime, aflame with vitality, not just the sputtering cinders of old age. The stroke she had jokingly feared for her retirement came late, but without any humour, just before her 91st birthday. For some weeks she lay in hospital, half-paralysed and unable to speak coherently. For a while it seemed she might have to be kept suspended in this state in a nursing-home - something she had always dreaded - but mercifully she died.
"Further to my will, if anyone has time I would like my ashes scattered somewhere in [the Surrey village where she had her favourite home]. No funeral service but do have a good party to celebrate my life." Which wishes, in the warmth of Spring, her descendents foregathered to fulfil.
Remembering my mother, 1917-2008.
© Also published under the name torr on Ciao UK 2009
Note to would-be hackers: save your energy - none of my financial accounts has my mother's true maiden name as an access code.