Tag Archives: parents

Mother and Daughter

My mam doesn’t like her photograph taken.  She would only sit in the chair with her back to me whilst I took a mother and daughter portrait.  She asked to look at the photograph and then told me that I was very naughty.  She loves me really.

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Along the Cinder Path

Every week we went on picnics in the summertime.  Kids around would come and say, “Are you going to the picnic?”  “Yes.”  And you either got a bottle of lemonade or water, whatever, and took that with you.  And sandwiches, you know, and things like that.  And go off through the, what we used to call the meadows, they call them fields now, and go to different places.   Neddy’s well, there was a place called Neddy’s well.  At Neddy’s well there was a natural spring.  And the natural spring, my dad used to go there and you could get watercress.  And then he used to go across the bridge and down into the field, across from our house, and pick mushrooms.  But now from what I can gather its all built up with houses.  Well along that what they called the cinder path that’s the way I used to go to school.  Over the bridge, down the cinder path and up to the railway station.  Over the railway bridge and the school was there on the right hand side.  It was what was called a Church of England endowed school.  That meant that the church paid for the school where the church never paid for the Catholic school, the Catholic people had to look after their own.  And they used to go round their parishioners tocollect money off them to look after their church, the Catholics did.  I mean we used to collect money but we didn’t collect it like they did, you know go around the houses.  I used to deliver the church magazine at one time.  In one of the magazines, but I don’t think I have one, its got my name in.  It says about people who delivered the magazines and its got my name in.

birthday two

birthday

“I’d run up the street when the mill was about to close and stand outside waiting for my mother. And people coming out and saying, “Hello there, your mam won’t be long”.  And then maybe one would come out another different night and, “oh, your mam’s going to be a long time cause she’s had a smash.”

“And what you call a smash was the shuttle had come out of the reeds and broken all the cotton.  And they used to have to bring all them through the reeds again and tie them.  And if it was too bad a smash they would change it and start again, if it was too bad.  But if it wasn’t too bad they’d mend it and then comb it.  But that part when the cloth was taken off the loom itself it was cut out. ”

  • Iris Anson

mum

My Dear Old Mam

There is a two-fold thing happening in my life right now.  I’m taking photographs of my mam. Forever photos.  She’s 88 on Monday.  How much longer will she live?  Who knows.  Life is strange like that.  We can’t predict what is going to happen.  Or how long we  will live.  There is a sense of urgency to it too.  A kind of capturing memories for when the inevitable happens.  A last chance to make someone last forever.  When she goes I will lose a connection, a connection to a past that I came from.  That is a scary concept.  To have one parent is hard, but to have none.  Well it doesn’t bear thinking about.  Who will I ask about the past, who will tell me the tales that she keeps hidden.  So now I take photographs.  Of a life once lived.  A life that once danced and laughed.  A life that once experienced but now sits and waits.

Mam

And the two-fold thing…….  Well I’ve been researching the family tree for my mam.  On the maternal side.  Trying to find out, for my mam, where her grandmother and grandfather came from.  And I’ve succeeded.  I’ve got answers for her.  Surprising answers too.  My mam never knew her grandparents on her mothers side.  I sense, a tale, of sadness, of rejection somewhere there.   My mam is very protective of her mother, was very protective.  Still is, of her memory.  I sense a story there.  A sad story, one which I will gently capture.  Things start to make sense.   Things from my childhood make sense.  Injustices, betrayals, rejection.  Answers, answers, answers, please.  But they will come.  Slowly, and gently.

We Must Treasure the Good Times……..

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.

movie day three

movie day two

movie day

Le Football

What do you do when the football has started?  You start cataloguing all your singles of course. What else would one do on a Saturday night.  And then you start to think.  About the first time you got your record player.  This is mine, a Fidelity UA10.

Fidelity Record Player

I got it for my thirteenth birthday.  Its one of the best presents I ever got. Before that music was played, mostly, in the company of my parents.  Our only record player was upstairs in the living room (we lived in a split level house with the bedrooms downstairs)  I could read in my bedroom, contemplate life, even talk to myself, but I could never play music.  So imagine the job of being able to go to my room and put on a record and listen to it all by myself.  I’d always liked listening to music but that’s when I fell in love with it, in my bedroom when I was thirteen.

Of course you couldn’t have the volume too loud, that came later with the onset of headphones.  But you could hear the music, I mean really hear the music.  You could close your eyes and be there inside the song.  You couldn’t do that when your parents were around.  They wouldn’t understand.  They didn’t know what it was like to be thirteen.  They didn’t understand the sound that came out of your bedroom.  And I still get it even now. I still get the music.

Our Lives

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If your parents or grandparents are still alive ask them about their lives.   Ask them where they came from,  what they did,  how they lived.   Because one day they won’t be around to ask.   And you may not think it but our heritage is important.   We are what we are because of our parents and our grandparents.   Values get passed down,  traditions get passed down.   Don’t leave it until tomorrow because tomorrow doesn’t come for everyone.

My biggest regret is not finding out about my dads history.  And now here I am doing this project on Blackhall and I know very little about my family when they lived there.  I get snippets of information from the Blackhall folk and I treasure every one, but how I wished I had asked him when he was alive about his life.