Posts filed under ‘Love’

Gonna Party like you’re 99 – !!!!!

 

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 !

 

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February 11, 2018 at 1:45 pm 3 comments

Feb 3rd -Helpless- Chris Ritchey

Heart of Thorns- artwork Chris Ritchey

Another February , and  the beginning of the  scream , the weeks of feeling totally  useless and helpless . Walking in two worlds – trying to  remain calm, positive  and supportive for the journey  thrust upon your young life.  All the while my  chest  collapsing, jaw clenching to  stop the tears and terror I was feeling from showing.  The weeks and months after you  passed   trying to  stop from going mad,  running from the “black dog” of Churchill fame.

The emotional incontinence – staying close to  home  – not wanting to  drive  incase the sight of a young man in black  Ford 150 truck  would split my  reality.  I learned how to  hide, how to  suppress the emotional nightmare with tricks of the grief-stricken. We, who  have lost our son or our daughter  learn lessons no  one should have to  learn.

The nights  when the dying days visit –  the  mind tools kicking in  to temper the  ferocity  of memory so sleep can come.  Turning a corner , one would think, but like the damned cancer it is there lying quietly , building upon itself.  I thought I  was managing quite well in the last few months  and then- not cancer- but once again wanting and trying to  get your Nana  through a situation caused by  bureaucrats. Weeks and months of fighting , trying to  make sense of a situation beyond my  control . Holding on,  trying to  be the Loraine I  once was …. A bureaucratic wall was thrown up

I couldn’t get through , your Nana’s physical and emotional well-being  compromised by an officious, pseudo-listener  “gatekeeper” . After months of dealing with  her ilk  and they,  not knowing or caring how this situation was causing such distress to   a 98-year-old woman- as the phone was hung up – and I  sat stunned – bewildered  not knowing where to  turn next.

 

BFA project
Chris Ritchey

And then it happened – the trigger- those feelings  of the dying days were unleashed , not in waves but  with a flood- overwhelming  logic – nothing could stop the torrent- hours  and hours of raw emotion, tears that just wouldn’t  cease, the sobs that wracked  were back – brought forth  from their hiding place. Worried faces of family  , concern , the questions  upon  furrowed brows.

Then just as “anger ”  at  the cretins  of your bride’s family  kept me upright in those days of   total despair and surrender… anger once again surged through the dark and made me strong enough to  continue- to  fight back against  the ignorance  – the   “people” inflicting pain  upon those I love.

Your Nana survived the bureaucrats, thanks to help  from those that did and do  listen .  And I  realized once more  the wound has not healed- the scar is still only  surface deep and it waits…… because there is nothing I  can do – even in anger- to  see you  walk through a doorway  once more , hear your voice laugh with you  and enjoy  you  being you………

February 3, 2018 at 1:28 pm Leave a comment

Tree of Love- Gabriel Miller- moonbeam and light 2017


A few weeks after my  son passed, a good friend also  felt that same terrible pain of losing her child. There isn’t much you  can do  or say  after those initial weeks to  those that have not felt what it is like to  be absolutely  “gutted” and whose world is no  longer together.  You  are expected to  get over it  –  move on-  people  can get impatient with  your grief, you  are a dreadful reminder that a loss of a child can happen to  them . You  have no  outlet for your love that continues to  grow.  In the following May after Gabe’s passing from  this world,  Gabe’s father and mother planted a tiny tree ( supposedly a dwarf variety) in the area known as Settlers’ Watch.

 

Through the seasons the tree was tended with care  and love ; the little tree grew . Every  year Gabe’s mum and dad light the now  the not so  little tree- 2015 found  it a bit of a stretch for his dad.  This year  more than a stretch was needed

and night fell on a snowy Christmas

The little tree, no  longer small – grown tall- fed with  love and watered with  tears  shone through the darkness and cold reminding us of a little boy

a sweet child – the light of his mother and father’s very  being – the love that is his alone  -lights for just a little while the cold  dark nights.

Gabriel Miller August 17th-2009- December 31st 2009

Photos Lisa Miller – Lorain 365

December 31, 2017 at 2:13 pm 4 comments

Figgy Pudding – A celebration tale – Chris (tmas) Pudding

Traditions in this house took a 180 degree about-face when my  son Chris died. I could no  longer have Christmas  in this house- Oh! my  mum has her “Christmas Grotto” in her little living room  and Gavin and Braedyn come a decorate her little tree and hang the ornaments.

There are no  longer twinkling lights inside or outside this house in celebration of  anyone’s birth- the beliefs of my  childhood torn asunder.

I have  “visited the holidays ” at my  daughters for the sake of her and her family  and the boys. Traditions changed from my  “English  Christmas of yesteryear” – now Christmas Eve  finds lobsters in the pot – named for those that are not very  nice.. and laughter yes, but the traditions of my  daughter’s youth  and of this house have gone the way  of so many  things. Yes! I visit  the holidays – peace on earth  and good will toward men – has a sour note…….. ( too many religious  hypocrites, sadness and questions  added to  the mix of my  life)

But Christmas  is for children and like every  other grandparent last week I  smiled, laughed and cried as the kindergartners at Braedyn’s school put on their holiday  program .  As all the children wore their Santa, Reindeer, Snowflake and Frosty  hats  little faces all a glow , voices were exuberant  in their renditions  and they  joyously  proclaimed the fun that was coming . My  eyes and heart  fell on  Braedyn singing along

Oh, bring us some figgy pudding,Oh, bring us some figgy pudding,Oh, bring us some figgy pudding, And bring it right here.Good tidings we bring you and your kin;We wish you a merry Christmas And a Happy New Year!

I realized not one of them, including my  own grandson, probably  had any  idea  what figgy  pudding was . For the cooks among you  there are two  versions – Figgy  Pudding and Christmas Pudding – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/warm-sticky-figgy-pudding-recipe-1918585

Traditionally  we and my  family, through the generations,   used the  Christmas Pudding   and this is the recipe  that is close to  what we  always served.( although instead of glace fruit – which  I  hate -we add dried apricots , shredded carrot and a shredded Granny  Smith  apple .)   http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/33519/delicious-christmas-pudding.aspx

Every  year my  mum and I  faithfully  made the “real” fruitcake -( not that terrible American facsimile  that is tossed like rotten pumpkins) and Christmas Pud.  It was tradition and Christopher’s job from about  the age of 7 was to  bring in the lighted pudding  to  the table – he loved lighting the pudding  but never ate any. The only  ones eating it were my  mother and I  and my  husband would “force a little down”.  Christopher was the last to  light a pudding in this house.

However, as I  looked at all those little faces – I  said to  Nikki:

Gavin and Braedyn have no  idea what they   sing about with  this song . They  have never seen a Christmas pudding !

I  decided then it was time to  hand the tradition over to  my  daughter and grandsons. We had missed out on  “Stir Up Sunday”  but better late than never  http://metro.co.uk/2017/11/26/stir-up-sunday-what-is-this-christmas-pudding-tradition-all-about-7109142/

All the members of the family, especially the kids, need to take a turn to stir the mixture and everyone should make a secret wish while they stir.

Gavin had gone hunting with  his Dad  but Braedyn and his mum were game –  so  over the river and through the snowy streets they  came today . Ingredients all measured out  and we have a new pudding maker in the family  under the watchful eye of his Nana .

We all made our wishes , there were smiles and a few opinions as to  how much  brandy  went into  the pudding and now they – the puddings ( we made too much  mixture so  now we have two)  bubble and sing on the stove for the next few hours.  I am not sure about the traditional pudding  boiling away  on Christmas Eve this year with  the lobsters in the pot – but to  each  his own………..

December 16, 2017 at 10:18 pm 5 comments

Dec 3rd- The waiting – Chris Ritchey

The dark days are here – night-time draws ever closer- I am as a child  frightened of the coming bleak hours/ days –  cuddled down in the bed that is life -looking for warmth- a place to  escape  the dreading –  a window has a glimmer of a lighter shade of night illuminating the place where I  lay.

Still my  eyes are drawn to  the corners , where darkness has gathered  and I know that as the dying days draw ever nearer I will have to  face that darkness that has accumulated  and grown over the days , months and years .  As hard as I try to  keep back the darkness of those days of death  , they are ever-present waiting  to  be released by  the memories of your dying   and those terrible days.

The hope – massacred  by  cancer  causing the onslaught of a pain so deep , a scream that never ends  just becomes silent – to  all but a few.  Every  year I dread these days , the holidays  that hold so  much  more to  me now than pumpkin pies, turkey, lighted trees , singing – they  are tinged with  a blight  that dulls happiness to  that of a  shadow  of holidays past.

 

You  are with  us , I  know.. more so than any other … and for that I  am grateful.. but I  long to  see your face.. hear your  voice…… and laugh at your irreverence instead  I have to  pull over my  face  the  covers of protection-   muffle my  sobs into  the bosom of my  family   and wait…………….

I love and miss you  more with  each  passing day

 

December 3, 2017 at 12:15 am 2 comments

Nov 3rd – Moments to Hold- Chris Ritchey

Thanks to  school starting times , every  weekday morning I spend with  your nephews Gavin and Braedyn.  I am lucky  in that respect  every    morning I  see the two  little boys so  dear to  my  heart and to  my  happiness.

 

Gavin , is definitely  the morning person, he is chatty  and excited about his day. Braedyn is just like me , we do  not do  mornings at all well.  Leave us alone, don’t  force us awake into  the morning, especially  when it is dark out.

Knowing how to  wake a non-morning person is half the battle .  So for now, after everyone has left , tiptoeing into  the bedroom ,  a gentle rub on the back, a small warm plump  hand of a little one, curls warmly  around my  fingers, a soft pink cheek flushed with  sleep  and for just an instant  a tiny  start of a smile plays across his lips, ,then the realization it is time to  wake- don’t talk , move quietly , let the half asleep non morning person dictate the waking process.

 

My  hand rests upon  silk soft curls  and a kiss on the forehead can be met with  an unknown response – depending on the mood.  I wouldn’t change one thing, and I  hold those moments in my  heart – the laughter of Gavin  so grown up – his take on the world as he has his breakfast, his humour a lot like yours , Braedyn’s temper so  much  like mine and yours, soon over it and then all smiles and hugs.

Soon Braedyn  will wake with  the rest of the household, no  more moments of the time of warm wakefulness- the time between dreaming and morning for me. He will be too much  of a big boy . But I  will hold these moments, grab onto  them  as they  melt away   too soon.

Moments of you  fly  into  my  mind all day  and most of the nights, some are of another little boy’s silky  hair, skin so  warm and soft, arms  reaching out , chubby  fingers, hearing your voice,

“come up  and kiss me goodnight”

stroking your cheek, a kiss on the forehead a smile……….-

And then  there are the moments that come unbidden , a man full grown but still my  child ,  a hand that squeezed mine  when  you  could not talk , silenced by  the vent , with  such strength I  jumped with  surprise…..what was it you  were trying to  say ????

… my  thoughts vary  was it goodbye, was it a final I love you …

Your cheek as soft and warm as any  child  . I stroked your forehead and placed cool compresses that final night, kissed your burning forehead  knowing something was very  wrong.

My  heart rages within me  trying to  hold onto  the moments of you…..

 

 

I love you  Chris  , you  are not forgotten, two  little boys know you and you  are a part of our mornings, days  weeks, months and lives………

November 3, 2017 at 1:05 pm 3 comments

Oct. 3rd – the NON Viking funeral – Chris Ritchey

My mood has not changed, nothing seems to rouse me from my lethargic state of mind , not the ongoing hurricanes, the issues with Lorain, happiness when having one of my favourite people in the world visit- at least there was at last some laughter.

I have been Roku jumping from one channel to another from histories to murders and the ongoing documentaries of “end of life rituals” from around the world.

End of Life rituals- those rituals to give the dead their honor and due and supposedly give those that mourn some comfort and an outlet for their grief. Those were denied to your family by Tim and Sue Lombardi and their collective family , their daughter Angela of the do over Chris and wedding ritual, the Vyka, Gott, Zaworski, and Gonzales and even the “man of God- Father Daniel Divas . They took any honoring of your name Ritchey and any of our end of life ritual away from your family.https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/a-memory-of-vipers-chris-ritchey/

They could not take everything though from your aged grandmother , your father , sister, nephew and brother in law. As I was told of Angela’s ( a complete misnomer in that name in my opinion ) decision to withhold you from us and to take you that burying place- not of your faith and a place so intensely disliked by you (after experiencing their ritual of one of their own at that cemetery) and denying the time and place or knowledge of their rites to us . I knew that at least we had to try and I had to try to give to you what I could – to send your body from this dimension with love. Did those cretins of the cremains honestly believe I would let you go without honoring you and being involved in your goodbye? You were and are MY son I gave you life , I loved you in life , in death and now.

As I read the words of denial penned by your “bride” – I remembered the Viking ship. The ship you had to make for a class at LCCC- the brief- a piece of work made with all natural materials sourced from your home – you sat and carved and cut from a log from the wood pile, tree branches from your tree planted as a child, a piece of deer skin found in the garage and scraped down for the sail and finally burning not painting the decoration to add to the dimension.

I knew that Viking Ship which I carried around to college visits when you were transferring from LCCC was the closest thing I could do to give to you to honor the bravery of your fight against that disgusting disease. Your Nana called you her Viking and you were a warrior, so brave, hiding from us your pain. Something to show our love as well- the little England bear purchased from Harrods by you for me when you were returning from soccer in Manchester. I carried that little bear with me in those first dreadful days after you died whilst meanness , selfishness and grief fragmented us beyond all being . It was still damp from my tears.

So as your last journey took you into the flames we did our best to honor you , love you and negate the poison and irreverence shown by others, the items of love from us all- those denied – were with you ……. we still miss you every day and love you more than ever…….

October 2, 2017 at 9:58 pm 2 comments

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