HAPPY HAPPY 95th Birthday Mum!!!

February 11, 2014 at 10:03 pm 14 comments

Update : a few flowers 🙂
flowers 95

Nanaresbo Nine and a half decades- what a great deal of life – my mother- truly a living history. Her 90th was to be celebrated by us all but life, the stem cell transplants and the resulting loss of Chris negated that celebration of life lived well.
And now 5 years later another milestone.


The loss of her only grandson

was as she said the worst part of her life even losing just about every family member – brothers, sisters, mother, father, nieces and nephew could not compare. But through all these years my mum has kept her optimism, she forgives easily harms done to her and is a kind and gentle soul, never wishes ill of anyone.Her sense of family is to be envied!

What a remarkable story she has lived, the hundreds and hundreds of people all over the world that have been touched by knowing her , eaten her special cakes, pies and shared her home when they had none.

She says it is lonely getting to this age as all your peers ( bar one Uncle John who is 102)

Unclejohn100are no longer around to share the memories of youth, of weddings, births, war and peace. My mum still makes me smile, holds my hand when I am crippled with my own grief, makes a brilliant cup of tea and knows when a smile and a touch of compassion is needed.
She wrote memories of her life for her granddaughter when she was just a wee bairn and more when Christopher was born-

My Book

Cover Design Chris Ritchey

Cover Design Chris Ritchey

What indeed is the truth about any of us? A question most difficult to answer. The world will never know our innermost life and thoughts even if someone were to write and read one hundred biographies. The main facts of our lives are known and are likely only to be known to ourselves alone. Not only are there facts we do not tell but some that we ourselves do not know.

At best some small facet of the truth will catch the light and that I suppose, is what we must seize for there is much virtue in truth. Truth has almost a mystical power, like radium, it seems to give off its own energy and light that goes on forever

The memories of life, people and times of her years of “living history” there for the generations to come:


So where is the Beginning of it all? Upon reflection and trying to summon up the very first picture, there is a faint imprint there in my mind. Can a child of three really retain, retell the event so many years on? Could I really see six or seven human forms lying on a mattress of black and white ticking strung between wooden frames? The box like shapes, the harsh sound of human retching the pungent smell of oil and vomit that unpleasant fragrance still is in my nostrils.

Some photo of that time with its sights and smells must have embedded itself forever in my mind. I can feel still the roll and the steady beat of a noise below. I was huddled, warmed and comforted by another little body next to mine. I can see my mother lying stretched out a short distance away from us; her long dark hair was damp and lying untidily on the pillow. I knew somehow that she was ill too. My father was on his feet; I see his arms with dark shapes and lines on them holding a cup to my mouth. He was telling me “drink this, you will feel better” then oblivion and I remember no more.

Many years afterwards I made the discovery that my first recollection was that I was in a cabin of a troop ship traveling home to England. The ship was bringing soldiers and their families, who had been serving in southern Ireland where the troubles had broken out after the close of the Great War.

Then as she grew memories of childhood
Grandad kids

We used to walk or skip our way from Devonshire Road, it was quite a distance, and no bus passes in those days. If for any reason we were fortunate enough to ride on the little red single-decker bus Renee and I used to try to sit behind the Nuns from St. Vincent’s. St Vincent’s was a Catholic school further down the road. We were fascinated with their dark somber garments, topped with this huge white-starched headgear, domed in the middle with great wide bat like wings framing their faces. Bus tickets, bits of string, chewed up pieces of rubber, paper clips, anything that could be found in a child’s pockets found their way into the folds of these hats. I have a suspicion that these paragons of virtue from the convent used to know exactly what we were up to. They never ever chastised us or even by the slightest flicker of their eyes acquainted us with the knowledge that they knew what we were doing.

Love and War –

mumand dad

On that dreadful Sunday Sept 3rd, 1939 when war was declared and we heard at 11:00 a.m. the first air raid siren, the whole road seemed to appear at their doorways quivering with the unreality and fear of the unknown. We had been told at the exchange to report to the nearest exchange in the event of an air raid warning. I recall running all the way up Hendon Lane to Finchley thinking I was going to have to help out the war, only to be told I wasn’t required!

digging for victory

digging for victory

We were at war and ahead of us we knew not “what! The first few months were unbelievably quiet. We were waiting with uncertainty and a touch of excitement as well. Everyone was holding his or her breath, I volunteered for a situation, not knowing what it would mean. In a few days I found out. I was to go to the Ministry of Information, which was temporarily housed at Senate House, University of London, near Goodge St. We had triple forms to fill out, swearing us to secrecy, never to divulge or talk about anything we might hear there. We reported to an ordinary looking switchboard. but what a difference when the sirens were sounded . Three of us would be required to man the emergency switchboard, which was housed in the basement of the building; this was called the war room. A big square room, around the walls were telephone boxes which were connect with a direct line to all the important ministries for example, the Admiralty, War Office, Air Ministry, Foreign Office, Ministry of Supply etc. etc. In each telephone box sat a high-ranking official who would be in communication with his respective Ministry. The censors and press officials were they’re sorting and sifting through thousands of reports coming in from all areas of Britain and the world. These people were tremendous and treated the operators extremely well.

Lord Reith had taken on the job of Minister of Information; he had been head of the BBC. Winston Churchill, who was then 1st Lord of the Admiralty, used to come through on his direct line “ Good Morning, give me the Minister please” short polite and always to the point. The town clerks and mayors of today in local council could well take a lesson from those gentlemen of yesteryear. Sir Walter Monkton was there; he was a good friend of the Duke of Windsor who was in France at the time. The Duke would call quite frequently to have a chat with his friend. I enjoyed my work immensely it was extremely busy especially if any kind of action, naval air or army was taking place.

A few years after the war along came me and her troubles ( according to some really started) As our lives unfolded moving to Canada – the friends an relatives grew- back to England and more and more people my mum gathered to her heart. Finally retirement and back across the pond to Lorain, Ohio. These years have seen some of her happiest and saddest.

She has seen the abdication of a King, experienced the Blitz and the rebuild, the death of another King and the crowning of a Queen. Mum watched a wall go up and a wall come down- results of the atomic bomb, gone from only having a battery operated radio to having the first television on the street, private telephones, airplanes and jets, computers and Ipads – governments that come and go, countries whose names have changed, the rise and fall of Russia/ Soviet Union. More than one war


and she has kept true to herself and to her family through it all. My mother has written “birthday poems” for special birthdays for all her family- she doesn’t forget –

I wish I could do her justice – no poem -just a blog post wanting her to know how proud and thankful I am to have her as MY MUM!!!!nanaboysres




Entry filed under: Chris Ritchey, history, Love, Mothers, war and peace. Tags: , , , , , , .

The Chair of WoM- Pass the Hat – Part One Lorain Dudes – Disney and YOU Nana!!!

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dave  |  February 12, 2014 at 4:33 am

    Your Mum is a BEAUTIFUL lady! Both physically and in her personality! I am so happy that I have been lucky enough to meet her. Give her a birthday hug from me!!

  • 2. muley  |  February 12, 2014 at 11:17 am

    A big happy birthday to your Mum, Loraine. wish I could be there to give her a hug.

  • 3. Rich Robbin  |  February 12, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Such a loving, wonderful, giving person! So glad I was blessed with her being in my life. Loads of love to Janet!

  • 4. Debora Bradley  |  February 12, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    I loved reading this blog on your beautiful and compassionate Mum. Life is a journey and she has shared 95 years of life’s highs and lows. But as I read about your Mother she is a great role model to the family, always seeking what is good and what she is grateful for. And you, my dear, are a wonderful daughter–sharing your Mum with us and celebrating all that she . Enjoy Disney and create beautiful memories for the whole family. Much Love and positive energy coming your way. With Love, all things are possible.

  • 5. Rawlinson  |  February 12, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Happy birthday, to the very best Aunty anybody could have. We love you to bits. Wish we were there to give you A kiss and the biggest hug ever. You are in our hearts. All our love Jean & Eric Cyprusxx

  • 6. selena  |  February 12, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Happy 95th to your mum Loraine 🙂 What a wonderful and full life she has achieved. I loved reading your article, no wonder you are extremely proud of her! Hope you all have a fantastic time at The Disney Music Festival. Thanks for sharing with us x

  • 7. Mark Teleha  |  February 12, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Happy 95th Birthday to your Mum!! God Bless her, she’s a great lady with a very kind heart!

  • 8. Loraine Ritchey  |  February 12, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Mark and is pretty handy with the Blow up man 😉

  • 9. Dawn Becklake  |  February 12, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Have a great Birthday Auntie Janet – great Blog Loraine and a lovely tribute. Love to you all over the Pond on this great Day. Dawn and family. XXX

  • 10. Rosie  |  February 13, 2014 at 8:39 am

    That was absolutely fascinating Loraine. Looks like you all had a ball! X

  • 11. Lesley Neil  |  February 13, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Lots of love and millions of great memories we had together my beautiful aunty ! might be a day late but just got computer back from the hospital ha ha ! Hope you had a great day and that you received my card ok ? what you wrote Loraine was amazing ! LOVE you always { you are always by my side } xxxxx

  • 13. Jennifer Gabbey Cairns  |  February 16, 2014 at 4:16 am

    This was a beautiful tribute to your Mother and my wonderful Aunt. She is such a special person! She always seems to see the best in everyone and every situation. There are not many people you can say that about. I have fond memories of my Mother giggling on her end of the phone calls with Aunt Janet. She has had such an interesting life, and reading her book was fascinating, not to mention it told me some things about my family that I never knew. Love and hugs to her and all of you. You are a wonderful Daughter and she is lucky to have you and the rest of your family to celebrate with. Love, Jennifer

  • 14. Elizabeth Weaver  |  February 16, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    A lovely tribute to Nana. We certainly feel lucky to know her.

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