In the pink- 97 years – and counting – Mum!!!

February 10, 2016 at 1:49 pm 10 comments


My husband swears they switched babies at my birth and Mum got someone else’s child, as I am nothing like my mum! My mum is gentle , sweet, never sees the bad in people ( sometimes a failing), can bake for Britain, loves people with a depth beyond knowing, always makes excuses for their not so nice behavior, and has a strength to her that has sustained her for 97 years.
Born after the Great War 1914-1918 – February of 1919- she realized that she was the result of a soldier’s homecoming from the trenches ( my granddad) that fact has always taken her a little aback – a product of a homecoming passion.

digging for victory

digging for victory

Mum has seen and lived through the Great Depression, lived through the bombing and times of World War Two- Korean War -the Suez Crisis- lived on two continents and three different countries but has always loved England – she is rooted in England. She is truly an English rose. She is never happier than when she is on English soil but as age creeps up and airlines get worse her dreams of another trip are probably just dreams.

I have a vague recollection of being in my pram facing my mum as she pushed me away and let the pram slide back to her smiling- then being in a push chair at a shop and a man ( presumably the shop keeper) giving me what is known as a lady finger ( biscuit).
Other memories flash in an out but the one I remember most vividly was of a panicked little girl rushing into my parents bedroom , crying after a nightmare about dogs biting me. Mum calmed me by telling me she would never let anything bad happen but I was so scared

“what happens if you aren’t here?”

“don’t worry I will be “

and then I remember making her promise she wouldn’t die for 20 years – 20 years at the time must have felt like forever to my small child thinking. She kept her promise.

Her hands – I loved and love her hands- Oh they aren’t beautiful in the accepted sense of the word. They are comforting and strong hands ( even today) cool hands that stroked my fevered brow during , mumps, measles and chicken pox. Hands that held mine as she guided me through life. Hardworking hands that helped keep a roof over our heads when times were tough and they were extremely tough from time to time. My mum has made friends all over the world – hundreds of Christmas cards come through our letter box each December. My mum is loved by all who know her and knew her for the wonderful friend , aunt and person she is. When wrongs are done to her it is not she who complains but her daughter has no such compassion for those that would hurt her.

Ah my mum , she loves pink and she loves flowers



and I am reminded of that this morning as she cooks her breakfast dressed in a fluffy pink robe and her flowery pajamas .

It was another pink robe that reminded me of her strength. A trip to England and the return journey in 2006. Ten years ago – I thought she was a marvel at 87 and NOW 97 but she still had her English backbone! An excerpt from that trip!……

Gatwick Airport – the International gateway – HA! although a wheelchair had been booked and confirmed three times, there was nary a sign of one as I loaded my and my mum’s suitcases onto the wobbly trolley. I struggled and worked our way through the mass of humanity – all with trolley’s on overload – to the North West Airlines counter.

Here I had to prop mum up with our suitcases whilst I went through the “electronic” check in. What a joke! how they expect “we of the needing reading glasses” generation to juggle passports, e-tickets, purses and keep an eye on our all important luggage is beyond me

– I think they go out of their way to make life difficult at departure so you will be thrilled to finally get on the ”flying cattle cars” that are “pond life class” – and you are reminded constantly
all this in the midst of 2,000 of people all trying to do the same thing.

Finally you get to the North West Airline’s counter – where you act as your own baggage handler – and STILL NO WHEELCHAIR for the 87 year old mother who is fading fast. I ask

where is the wheelchair?

Oh! said the “automated attendant”
you have to go through security first
and points in the direction of a line that makes the ones at Cedar Point look pathetic.

“Oh and Madam this airport’s security will only take ONE item on board you will have to combine your purses and carry-on bag into one.

Well ROBO – that is the name I decided fit the “automated robotic attendant” – best – 2 INTO 1 WON’T GO! Especially these 2 into 1’s.

“If you want to get through to the departure lounge you will have to ! Oh – and that is where you will get wheelchair assistance.” droned the automated man

ROBO – MY MOTHER NEEDS THE ASSISTANCE NOW not once I get into the departure lounge where there are seats DUH!!!
Nothing Nada just the blank robotic stare.

“Don’t make a fuss, keep your mouth shut Loraine or this automated muppet will deny your boarding” thought I.
So doing what any good little girl should do I followed directions!
I sat on the cold granite type floor of Gatwick airport – like some 3rd world tinker spreading my wares for sale in the middle of this throng of humanity sorting through what I could throw away to make room.

I threw away a pair of slacks and a sweater and managed to stuff, pull and push my purse into my carry-on. (it felt a bit like giving birth in reverse) My mother absolutely refused to throw anything away.
“I certainly will not throw away my pink dressing-gown – absolutely not! – that is a waste, I WILL WEAR it”.
And that is exactly what she did !

We spent another 3/4 of an hour waiting to get through security. Mum, dressed now in her bright pink dressing gown with hood, clutching her sandwiches (she knows all too well how airline food has deteriorated to that of “cuisine de dumpster”) valiantly struggled through to the departure lounge – her British stiff upper lip intact! The generation that stood against the onslaught of the fascists once again stood her ground- had to- there was still no wheelchairs.

I can picture her whenever she wears a pink dressing gown- her little face defiant as she went through security, back straight the epitome of the English spirit.

I am lucky to have my mum- she has been with me through the very worst of times and still takes care of her child when the nightmares come.

Happy 97th Birthday mum – we love you …..

hearts and flowers


Entry filed under: Love, Mothers, Women of Worth. Tags: , , .

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10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Gargasz Family  |  February 10, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Magnificent and beautiful Lady. Many more Blessings and Graces!

  • 2. Carolyn Sipkovsky  |  February 10, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Such a nice tribute to your Mum. Wish her a very Happy Birthday from Frank & I.

  • 3. Diane Ford  |  February 10, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    You are ever so fortunate to have your Mum with you! Happy birthday to her, from an admirer. Even though I only saw her briefly, she emitted the “proper English lady” glow about her. Cherish her sweetness, every day.

  • 4. Tony  |  February 10, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    The very best in every way would love her to come and stay but i know it’s no longer possible

    Aunt Vi have a lovely birthday on Friday I will be calling love you lots

  • 5. Dave  |  February 10, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Give her a big hug from me!!!

  • 6. Barbee Bullion  |  February 10, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Janet you were always good fun, an excellent worker,reliable, never late for work, polite and most of all someone we always looked up to- long may you enjoy your retirement and keep receiving the pension you deserved.

  • 7. linnett  |  February 10, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    You are so lucky to still have your Mom, mine passed away 20 years ago at 61 and I think about her every day.

  • 8. Christina Kristiansen-Kelly  |  February 11, 2016 at 1:53 am

    Have a Wonderful Birthday my dear friend Janet. I have so many happy and hilarious memories since we met at Hendon Town Hall. You are the kindest, most caring, gorgeous Gal I know. Lorraine you must be so proud to have her for your Mum. Janet, you are the beautiful Rose amongst your garden of flowers. With much love, Chrissie’s xxxxx💖💐🍸🌙🎂

  • 9. Pam (McKay) Burton  |  February 11, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Loraine, what a lovely tribute to your mom. I was so jealous that Janet and mom got to visit you all last year. Please give your mom a HUGE hug for me and tell her I love her and that I still have my “tea”spoon she gave me as a child. The silver is worn, but thats ok.

  • 10. Dawn  |  February 12, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Lovely Auntie and a great tribute Loraine. Agree with every word. Love you to bits ‘Auntie’ – Happy 97th. Your niece Dawn in ~Devon, England. Primroses not out yet! but daffodils are xxx

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