Today I took my little mam to the pictures. She loves going to the pictures. Normally it is a scary movie we go to watch. Today was no different. She loves scary movies, although she often complains that they are not scary enough. Time is running out, she’s 88, well 87 actually. Her birthday is in 3 weeks time and then she’ll officially be 88. We got there at one pm, the film was due to start at quarter past. They hadn’t even opened up. I don’t know how these places make any money. Oh yes I do. Nearly 20 pounds it cost, for an adult and senior citizen ticket, one small diet coke and a cuppa. Yes that’s how they make their money. I remember the days when……….. well you get my drift.
My mam walks with a stick so I have to get her seated and then go back for the refreshments. She hates climbing the stairs to get to a seat but she doesn’t like to sit too close to the screen so up we go, my little mam hanging onto my arm and using her stick to help her up. She chooses where we sit even though our tickets said we were to sit elsewhere. I told the man when he asked which seats we wanted that we’d sit wherever my little mam decided to sit regardless. He laughed. Not sure I like this new practice of asking people where they want to sit. The film seemed to take ages to start and then eventually we were off. The sound is so intense sometimes but why of why does my mam insist on talking loudly during the quiet scenes. Yes its embarrassing, but haven’t our parents embarrassed us all out lives. When the film finished we waited until everyone had gone and then slowly made our way down from the gods, back to terra firma. And we followed the same routine, stopping off at pizza hut on the way back to the car so my mam can take a pizza home for her tea. Its little things like this that I will remember with fondness, and maybe shed a tear or two, when the inevitable happens. My mam doesn’t understand why I want to take photos of her. But I do, she’s my mam, and these are my memories.
I work shifts, 12 hour shifts. That’s three days a week. Which means I have spare time during the week to do stuff I enjoy. On most of my days off I go to visit my mam. She lives with three dogs. In a house we moved into in 1970, when I was 6. She’ll never leave it, except when the inevitable happens. She’s 88 so that time is creeping closer. It scares me because then I will be parentless. What will I do? I’m not sure I will cope very well. I dread it. I can’t even bear to think about it. What will I do with her house? I grew up in it. It holds so many memories. My dog, Rebel, which I got when I was 13 (alot happens when you’re 13 I’ve decided) is buried there. As are 3 other dogs, all of which I knew. There’s also a piglet, Betsy, buried in the garden (that’s another story) and a hamster and I think some gold fish. How do you let go of that?
My mam is from a certain generation. She likes to speak her mind. She’s also very loud (probably because she’s as deaf as a post) It can be embarrassing, especially when out. She’ll talk about people who are no more then a foot away, not polite comments either, and you just want a hole to swallow you up. It used to annoy me but now, even though I cringe inside, I just let her get on with it. Last time I spoke to her about it she stopped speaking to me for the rest of the day. She’s from that generation, isn’t she, not afraid to speak their mind. She’s stubborn too. Even though I’m quite happy to help around the house so often refuses to let me do anything for her. I get away with the gardening mind. That she struggles with. Its the getting up and down you see, not good for old bones. Sometimes I tell her I’m off to the toilet and then I sneak off to do the washing up, or the hoovering, or dusting. I get caught out of course because she wonders why I’m taking so long and she comes to find me. Can never get away with anything me.
My mam and dad used to play bingo a lot. Not at these big places, like Mecca, but at clubs in the nearby villages. Sometimes they won, sometimes they didn’t, but for them it was a night out. A chance to meet up with friends, have a few beers. I was never a big fan, I hate not winning. One the few occasions I tried my hand at it, and that was at Mecca, I always came away disappointed. So I never went back. If I ain’t going to win I’m not going to play. I always found Mecca quite soulless. There was never that friendly atmosphere that you’d get at the small clubs. You didn’t really feel part of the crowd. I didn’t discover that friendliness until I attended a bingo and quiz night at the Navy Club in Blackhall. For me it was a baptism of fire. Not only was I part of the crowd but I had to approach people to make sure they were happy at me taking their photos. There were some familiar faces there which made it a little easier. I worked my way round the room making sure I didn’t miss anyone out. And for someone who hates approaching people it was amazing. Everyone was happy to have their photo taken, and they were all interested in what I was doing. I had a secret weapon of course. It helped massively that I lived in the next village and that my family came from Blackhall. Alot of people I spoke to actually knew my dad or the family and regaled me with tales from the old days. It might sound sentimental but I felt like I was close to my dad that night. I was living and breathing his past. I felt immensely at home and for someone who has never fitted in that’s pretty good. I got some decent shots too although I had not taken into account the fact that the room would be so quiet when the bingo was on. Yes, my flashgun gave out a lovely little sound as it fired up again and I was so aware of it. Everyone was concentrating so hard and I was so worried that I was putting them off. I bid my goodbyes later that evening and even attempted to thank everyone over the mike, although it came out more as a mumble and half the people didn’t hear me. Still I got a round of applause. My confidence is growing!