Gonna Party like you’re 99 – !!!!!

February 11, 2018 at 1:45 pm 3 comments

 

I have been thinking about this post all week- how do  I write about my  mum and her life  experiences   and loves. I decided to   let her words tell the tale of the time before – before she was my  mum and a young child and woman in her mid twenties.  I  think she said it best in her book ( published for family  only and written to  my  daughter when she was a wee one) in  the foreword :

Cover Design Chris Ritchey

It is sometimes safer to write about other people than about oneself and easier to shape their lives into a consistent pattern. When you come to examine your subject, in this case my life, more closely the process is somewhat more complex and daunting than I originally thought. Every human life is at once so complex, yet simple, so perplexing yet clear, superficial and yet plunges to the depths that attempts to present it as a unified whole may take more talent than your Nana has but I will try.

 

The times before when she was a young girl  scrumping apples with  her brother  Mark , that didn’t bode well as you  will see:

Parrot snout ( his nickname  for her) , tell me whatever you do- if you see anyone whilst I climb to the top of that tree”

“Ok, Mark, I will stand underneath whilst you throw the fruit down”.

What a wonderful bag I collected. The sunshine was brilliant and I got caught up watching the butterflies, I seemed to be lulled with the peace and tranquility of it all. “ What was that I could see? Could it be the policeman’s helmet appearing over the fence and two eyes taking in the scene!”? My voice froze, I could not warn my brother, not a sound came from my throat. I tried and tried to make the sound come “ Oh! Vi don’t muff this one” but I took to my heels, the bag of lovely fruit spilling and scattering in the orchard joining the feast for the wasps. I made for the hole in the fence and bolted without ever looking back, leaving the policeman underneath the tree waiting for an unsuspecting boy to descend.I was terrified, would I once again be shunned and ostracized by all and sundry? My  brother  angry  gave me  clip round the ear and said “ I will never take girls along again!”

 

The opportunity  for higher learning denied , although passing her exams and obtaining a scholarship, the family  could not afford the extras .

digging for victory

Her first job at the Express Dairy  when she was 15 as a window dresser  and in charge of the shop –  she too became one of the ME TOO      – this generation didn’t invent  sexual harassment…… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Me_Too_movement 

 The visits of Mr. B { a travelling Superintendent for the company } grew more frequent, I grew more apprehensive. I longed to confide my fears to someone, my sister Renee was too young, my mother would have advised and helped me but I just couldn’t bring myself to tell her…what could I tell her as nothing had yet occurred. Events came to a head one afternoon, Mr. B called in; he had a very nice shiny new car and invited me to go for a ride with him that evening. I said I was unable to do so.

”OK then some other time maybe!” Meanwhile he made some coffee, opened a tin of pineapple chunks (4 1/2 d) and a carton of cream (2d) he offered me some. I don’t really know what happened then, but I was suddenly held in a vise like grip, the small table upon which the pineapple and cream were sitting went over, juice spilling all over me! The fingers with the hairs were groping and fumbling, I was shaking with fright, and my overall was off ….my brass buttons “pinged” as they hit the floor.

Sometimes the unbelievable happens, it did a customer came in the shop door. And the bell really saved me! The lady bless her never knew what she did for me that day. I didn’t stop to lock the shop up but tore off on my bicycle, not daring to look around. I turned in my resignation and applied for a position in the G.P.O. (General Post Office)

Mum managed to  get a placement

The training school was in Holborn, with dummy switchboards. It seemed there were nothing but aged old dried up spinsters ladies were teaching us,( how unkind and thoughtless we are when we are young.) The wonder of it all when we finally finished our training and passed as “thirty six hour girls” ( you were only allowed to work for 36 hours to start with hence the expression). We were then directed to our “local” telephone exchanges. During this training time which took three months we weren’t paid. How my mother coped not only not having my wages coming in to help but to give me enough for fares and lunches must have been so very difficult for her but somehow she managed.

The meeting of the young man who would eventually  be her husband and my  father.

. After one of the dances, as was the custom then, we were standing clapping waiting for the band to start up again; a chap around 5ft 9, quite well-built with terrifically strong-looking shoulders and periwinkle blue eyes and with blonde hair, one curl of which had fallen across his forehead. He came over and whisked and danced me to the other end of the room.

 

Then War!! Mum volunteered for special duty  and ended up  at the Ministry  of Information


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 connected 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.

However all was not fun and games  my  19-year-old mum working at the Ministry  of Information you  got the  war news before most and one day:

 

HMS Southampton

her boyfriend’s ship

Damaged during air raid on warships in Forth Estuary.One bomb penetrated three decks. Casualties.

came through the ticker tape

NOTE: ” The Man who Designed the Spitfire” again little life coincidences. The Spitfire first saw action on that October 16th 1939 protecting the Royal Navy and my Dad.

On 16 October 1939, Junkers Ju-88s of 1/KG 30 led by Hauptmann Helmuth Pohle attacked British warships in the Firth of Forth. Nine of the Ju-88s were intercepted over Rosyth by three Spitfires of 603 Squadron, each of which attacked Pohle’s aircraft which was hit repeatedly and crashed into the sea

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/long-time-passing-gone-to-fighting-part-6/

However she too was in peril and felt the Nazi Blitz…


It must have been only 9: pm. There seemed to be a great deal of activity outside. We used to be able to tell by the sound of the aircraft engine whether it was one of ours or one of the Germans.

The whistle of the descending bombs and the following explosions was terrifying. We sighed a breath of relief when hearing that explosion didn’t have our name on it. This night I did not hear the whistle nothing suddenly a complete and utter silence. The bricks seemed to be crumbling and falling all around. I tried to hold onto something. I only grabbed at empty space. The air was filled with dust. I realized the house must have received a direct hit and the three people who had been near me had disappeared. I tried calling the silence was eerie and shocking. I had bricks and wood and plaster all around me “was I going to be buried alive?”

 

There was one sound, a hissing sound coming from somewhere beneath me. “A fractured gas pipe perhaps”. I remembered hearing accounts of people being gassed to death before they had been dug out from all the rubble. I groped all around in that black darkness and found a pipe, maneuvered myself and sat over the leakage. Bricks were still falling but I had heard human voices Maudie and her mother and sister (Barbara) everyone was at least alive. Then came the sound of faint movements. These became clearer and what seemed to be hours later a chalky white face appeared, Mr. Cushing’s. He had been on ARP duty outside and seen his own house go up!

Many hands helped me out; I was the first and escaped with hardly a scratch but was holding a very sore backside and apparently hysterically asked the first aid warden “ can you get gassed in the posterior” he obviously thought I was a little balmy. Mrs. Cushing fared the worse and Maudie and Barbara were very badly bruised and shaken, seeing the remains of what was left of the house. Just one heap of broken bricks, shattered glass and matchsticks only remains of doors and beams. The marvel is that we escaped at all.

These things happened  before I  even knew this wonderful woman who was  to  be my mum.

After the war years came family  years – chock a block full with  uncles , aunts, cousins  a lots of laughter. As always there were  some bad and terrible times   but always through it all was my  mum constant , loving and keeping the wolf from the door and being there for me.

MY mum may  not have amassed a fortune but I don’t know any  other person who  has, through the years  gathered so  many  friends and such  love, due to  her just being her . Never a day  goes by when there isn’t at least one card or letter coming through the mail from some far-flung corner of the globe. She is Aunty  Vi or Aunty  Janet, mother in law  and sometimes the “Dame”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Best of all she is my  mum, and her  grandchilden’s

and her Great grand children’s  NANA!!!


 

Happy  Birthday  Mum this one is for you !

 

Entry filed under: everything else, Lorain Dude, Love, Mothers, Women of Worth. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Feb 3rd -Helpless- Chris Ritchey The Gatekeepers- Keeping us out!!!! Part One

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dave  |  February 11, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    The moments I have spent with your Mum have been relatively short, but long enough for me to love and admire this wonderful woman. My best to her!!

  • 2. Ngaire Glover  |  February 14, 2018 at 2:03 am

    How fabulous to have the benefit of your mother’s own words for her history! Wish I’d have recorded more of my mum’s. Big hugs to her

  • 3. Renee Dore  |  February 17, 2018 at 12:54 am

    Happy Happy Belated Birthday Mum!!! You’re amazing!!

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