Posts filed under ‘Mothers’

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

Jan 3rd- Relativity to Time – Chris Ritchey

Chris Ritchey CIA

Time  and relativity – I admit the highest  mark I  ever received from Norman Niles- my  Physics teacher was D minus! I  hated Math  and I detested Physics- loved Chemistry  and History.

However  ” Events that occur at the same time for one observer could occur at different times for another.” https://www.space.com/17661-theory-general-relativity.html

Black Holes I never understood – more a case of not wanting to  be bothered- BUT and there is always a but I feel I am ( as well as probably  many  others of my  kind) lost in time .

A mother who  has lost her child – there are no  words  or labels for us – not a widow, an orphan, etc  unless you  consider  “tethligons”  (Sanskrit word which means ‘against the natural order’)which,  for me ,conjures up some sort of terrible monster- but then losing your  son or daughter makes you  feel like you  are in the world of monsters – caught , crunched between the teeth of the monster  and then spat out – only  to  be caught again

Most of humanity   live in a 3 dimensional world – and then again….

We can portray our reality as either a three-dimensional place where stuff happens over time,” said Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Max Tegmark, “or as a four-dimensional place where nothing happens [‘block universe’] — and if it really is the second picture, then change really is an illusion, because there’s nothing that’s changing; it’s all just there — past, present, future.

The diagnostic box- self- portrait Chris Ritchey

My  universe, Christopher,  since you  have been taken away  has left me in a world where I float, for the most part, between the time before, then and now- New Year’s Eves  have come and gone but every  day  and night I am elsewhere  lost in time, as it no longer registers or is linear,  the time  that has come in between observed only  by others in the 3rd dimension   . I wake never knowing the year…………………. my  4 dimensional  world apart from the normal .

 

Struggling toward some knowledge of the “physics of it all” and once again a barely  passing grade. There are glimpses of understanding  but the are illusive  , on the edge of conscience , just out of reach –

 

 

but they  are there – if only  my  tired brain could grab them – the tools of science notwithstanding in their cold calculations .

I continue to  love and exist in this dimension – nothing changes our  love or missing of you……….except they  grow in strength no  matter the time ….

 

 

 

January 2, 2018 at 11:42 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

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

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

August 3rd – INSPIRE- Chris Ritchey

Words are all I have left – As I have gone through some difficult and very painful procedures health wise I have not complained, held my breath and let the health care personages do their jobs. I have put up with the pain and not made a sound whilst they went about their business. That would not have been the case before you had to deal with the obscenity that is cancer and all those damned procedures. I watched your every flinch, grimace , holding your breath during all those tests and procedures- but you uttered not a cry even when they literally killed you chemically – mouth full of ulcers – joints exploding in pain.

Now I deal with life differently on all levels. I know the debilitating pain you tried to hide from me in Texas, the consequences to your body after the double stem transplant – your voice so weak and yet when you would answer your phone the strength would come back into your voice for those few minutes in order to shield the caller from how you were really feeling. The nurse who said to me in those last days He is phenomenally strong- anyone else would have been on that vent 4 days ago.

You have become and became my inspiration to “deal with” – how could I be cowardly when you were so brave!

Inspire – one of the meanings of this word
2. breathe in (air); inhale.

Middle English enspire, from Old French inspirer, from Latin inspirare ‘breathe or blow into,’ from in- ‘into’ + spirare ‘breathe.’ The word was originally used of a divine or supernatural being, in the sense ‘impart a truth or idea to someone.’

In the end it was the inability to breathe that took you from us…. and yet captured in your art work is that very breath you took and blew into a celtic glass piece As soon as I saw the piece I knew it was

Breath of Life – Celtic Knot – Chris Ritchey

inspired by the very necklace I wore so often when you were young – you used to be fascinated by it. I made up stories for you of treasures and adventures of a little boy named Chris – pirates and treasure hunts just the way I make up stories for Gavin and Braedyn now as we go into the places of our imaginations.

I will always love you Chris until my last breath and beyond….

You are my inspiration in more than one sense of the word……………

August 3, 2017 at 12:53 am 3 comments

July 3rd – The storm- Chris Ritchey

Yesterday evening, the storms started – they came in waves- clouds whipping around in the wind as if they were of rapids in the sky, lightening making the night sky bright for a few seconds at a time pulsating in intensity , thunder- a cacophony of discontent at odds with a summer evening , rain pummeling the windows , joining forces to flood the streets , swirling , beating down the plants , trees bowing their sodden branches to the earth.

A respite between storms found the earth shaking off the deluge only to be attacked again and again. There was an energy present , terrifying in its capabilities and yet hope the storm would move away.

Moonbeam – photo Chris Ritchey


Then at 2.20 am it was not the sound of another raging storm that woke me from another night of fitful sleep- it was the silence, the eerie stillness that had blanketed the night. The only sound coming through the now open window was of the little water fountain. I lay quiet myself and thought how the storm , to me, made me recall once again those horrible terrifying days of the cancer cure…. a storm that destroyed and changed forever this family leaving us with the debris from destruction. The days of respite and hope finally culminating in the crashing down to earth of hope, bowed and broken.

The quietness of the surreal world after you passed, the not knowing what to do how to get back to a place of hope-for months you had been my whole purpose – waking and sleeping, you became my vocation – every day was filled with you – driving, cooking,waiting whilst chemo was administered, watching you sleep, researching . Then the eye of the storm passed

Depths of despair – artwork Chris Ritchey

only to once again be caught up in the lightning strikes of grief coming ever closer.. the tumultuous tides that wash over my soul.


Just as the leftover rain drops cling to the plants weighing the down waiting for the sun to ease their burden before they break with the sheer weight of it all my tears are for you- The storm for you is done but I am still lost in the darkness waiting…… I love you Chris …

July 3, 2017 at 12:07 pm 1 comment

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