Am I entitled to a grandmother-in-law? For shame if not. My GIL (actually VR’s Gran) was heroic and deserves a mention in Tone Deaf.
Talk about a hard life. Her husband was a miner in the Midlands when life expectancy was short and trades unions were treated like cockroaches. Banned from the Midlands he found work in Dover where the mines ran out under the Channel. Of course he died comparatively young and Gran brought up the six kids as best she might. Then came WW2 and Dover, a vital port, was bombed and shelled relentlessly, the population taking shelter in the cliff caves. Night after night.
Gran knew how to make a little food go a long way. And to eat food many would have discarded. At her behest I ate my first (and last) pig’s tail. Mostly bone I tell ee.
Like the rest of her brood she believed I had a job that wasn’t a job. I mean, what do journalists do? She wanted to say I was la-di-dah but couldn’t quite make it stick. Like her I had a regional accent though not the same. Perhaps I wasn’t all that bad.
As the photo suggests she loved gossip and mischief. At teatime she asked me what I wanted. I deliberately chose something simple: “Melted cheese on toast.” She shrugged her shoulders. “I niver did that. You’ll ha’ to do it yersel.” She expected me to give in but I moved to the kitchen.
As I rattled the pans I heard her whispering to the others. Clearly not stuff to my advantage. I shouted out, “You told me you never used naughty words.”
“Ooh I niver.”
“Whispered, they’re still naughty.”
They weren’t naughty, of course. But she giggled as I’d wanted.
Not surprisingly, I miss her.
I see what appears to be a glass of wine in front of her. I don't know why but I more imagine her supping a pint of Guiness.ReplyDelete
Sir Hugh: Gran was far too poor to contemplate any form of booze and was in any case lively enough not to need artificial stimulation. The photo was taken on a very rare visit to the Constitutional Club in Folkestone (where Vic - VR's dad - was chairman of the committee) when relations from the Midlands paid an even rarer visit to south-east England and Gran went along with them for the rideDelete
A lovely memory of your grandmother-in-law. She has a lot of presence even in a photo.ReplyDelete
robin andrea: Although a long-time widow she was never alone in Dover. Members of her extended family dropped in throughout the waking day, dispensing the latest gossip which Gran would then pass on to other family members. The centre of a very efficient information machine.Delete
Hmmmmm, delicious little bit of a personal sketch of a loved one. It's fun when a memory pops in and makes them vivid and alive again. My Grandame grandmother, who thought she was the Queen Mums, twin...would snort with derision when amused...so totally un-ladylike. Always an interesting read, Sir!ReplyDelete
Sandi: Inevitably Gran had become left-wing so there were no Queen Mum simulations, Talk of strikes used to sadden her - however justified the cause it always seemed as if the working classes came off worst - that was her view. Come to think of, she also snorted - perhaps it's Grandmother code.Delete
She sounds like a treasure. And she sounds like someone I would get along with.ReplyDelete
Colette: The accent would be a bit of a problem for you.Delete
I like her smile and that her eyes are smiling, too!ReplyDelete
Zu Schwer: Plotting someone's downfall, no doubt.ReplyDelete