A Centenary #WhatsTheStory

By | January 6, 2014

I haven’t joined in with What’s The Story for a couple of weeks, life has kind of got in the way.

I am looking forward to reading the other posts linked up, there are always some great stories.

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My post this week is all about the lovely lady above, my Grandma, who was born 100 years ago this last weekend.

She was born into a post-Victorian world to a village policeman and his wife. A world which hadn’t known yet the horrors of the First World War.

The war ended in November 1918 and a week after that, my Grandma’s life changed for ever. Her mother died in post-childbirth complications. The child, a brother, survived and there is only one known photograph of someone who may have been her mother, a very rigid photograph, typical of the era.

There are a few photographs of the family following this, an upright father with solemn looking children, my Grandma wearing black ribbons in her hair.

Her widowed father married twice more and lived for another 40 years after his first wife’s death, choosing to be reunited in his first wife’s grave, in the village where they’d had their home and where he’d continued to be the village policeman.

My Grandma chose to study medicine and qualified as a midwife, it must have been very rewarding helping to bring new life into the world, at the same time with memories of her mother. I often think of my Grandma whilst watching Call The Midwife, although her era would have been pre and during World War 2.

My Grandma married her “handsome boy”, my Grandfather, shortly before the outbreak of World War 2, as many couples did, knowing that their menfolk would soon be sent away.

There must have been times when fear set in, especially as my mum was born during a bombing raid.

Eventually her “handsome boy” returned and they were able to settle back into married life, albeit with rationing and another daughter was born two years after the end of the war.

There are a few photos of my Grandma during the 50’s and 60’s, looking very glamorous with her up-do’s and clothes. By now, they were settled in suburbia with my Grandad working as a “man from the Pru”. They enjoyed yearly holidays to Spain and bought a holiday home on the English Riveria (Bournemouth).

Things changed very suddenly in the 70’s, my Grandad had three heart attacks and was advised to retire.

The houses were sold and they decided to move to their retirement setting, a quiet village just outside Hastings. Their chosen house was one they designed themselves and it was far enough away from the main town for them to truly relax and enjoy their retirement. The setting offered some beautiful coastal walks too and I always enjoyed spending school holidays with them.

The house was perfect for visiting, it had a games room with a table tennis table, lots of interesting books and stacks of board games.

My grandparents took up bowling and won quite a few trophies with their teams.

Another thing I always remember is my Grandma’s baking, if I see a rock cake, I’m transported back instantly. The taste and the smell..lovely.

She also taught me how to knit and there would always be clothes made for the grandchildren, we all had teddies and jumpers made for us.

Neither of my grandparents talked about their war experiences but they did say that they disliked fireworks as it reminded them of bombing raids.

One memory which makes me smile is that of my Grandma washing up, having a crafty cigarette with the window open. I hadn’t realised that she was a smoker prior to that, the glamorisation of smoking during the 50’s (I think) must have been persuasive.

Despite my Grandad’s early heart attacks, they lived on for another 20 years in their dream home, devoted to each other. My Grandma passed away peacefully at home, in my Grandad’s arms, he survived a year and a week after her death, a heart-broken man who had lost his soulmate.

Their ashes were scattered together over the grave where her parents were reunited some 40 years earlier.

Always remembered for her cuddles, her smile and just for being lovely.

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11 Comments

Coombe Mill (Fiona) on 6th January 2014 at 12:31 pm.

What a wonderful look back on a very special lady. She clearly made a mark on the world and is special to you #Whatsthestory

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Jeannette on 7th January 2014 at 1:16 pm.

Thanks Fiona, very proud of her 🙂

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Sarah @apartyofseven on 6th January 2014 at 12:45 pm.

what a wonderful reflection on a special person. so lovely.

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Jeannette on 7th January 2014 at 1:15 pm.

Thanks Sarah, it was nice to revisit and remember 🙂

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HonestMum on 6th January 2014 at 1:22 pm.

What a wonderful post, they experienced so much and love her crafty cigarette, it’s funny what we remember isn’t it. I lost my Grandma over the weekend so this post meant a lot to me, made me reflect even more on my own wonderful Grandma, thank you x

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Jeannette on 7th January 2014 at 1:14 pm.

I’m so sorry for your loss, Grandma’s are just so special. My MIL passed away 4 days before Christmas so I feel like I need to write more down for my children to read when they’re ready. X

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Charly Dove on 6th January 2014 at 2:27 pm.

Wow what an incredible post Jeannette. A beautiful account of a very special person indeed. Just wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing with #whatsthestory, just fabulous x

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Jeannette on 7th January 2014 at 1:12 pm.

Thanks Charly, I really enjoyed writing it and it’s something my children will be able to read and feel like they knew her too. She only met one of her great grand-children.

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Amanda Walsh on 6th January 2014 at 8:12 pm.

What a fabulous whats the story post.

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Jeannette on 7th January 2014 at 1:11 pm.

Thank you, she was a lovely lady 🙂

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