Reverie in the Attic
Whilst trying to sort some order in the chaos in the attic I came across a bulky, yellow, plastic envelope labelled in my sisters copper plate DADDY. Inside were masses of letters and cards sent to Mum when Dad died in 1990 aged 85. He had a stroke some years earlier and my mother coped valiantly, nursing him downstairs, driving the car ( to do that with Dad in the car took guts –he once switched the ignition off when I was driving MY car) travelling down on the train to visit us and even over to Portugal to house- sit my sister’s house.
They were married for 63 years; Mum was 18 and Dad 22 when they married and my mother was expecting my sister. My Gran was a mid-wife and could be quite fearsome. I asked Mum how she reacted and she said she was totally supportive although Mum had been brought up a Catholic and Dad was Unitarian. One of the three children was christened in the Catholic Church but we were reared as Unitarians so that was one battle Dad won although when I visited Gran she would give me a little prayer book and take me with her to Church on a Sunday – until the day Dad discovered us walking back from Church and whisked me home. That was the end of my new found holiness.
All the letters said what a good man he was – with a twinkle in his eye - and praised Mum for the years of looking after him. One that touched me particularly was from the brother of one of my school friends. Although there was never much money my parents both worked hard so we could escape the dark satanic mills at holiday times and discover the joys and beauty of the
Geoffrey, a friend of Jack’s came with us some times; in his letter he says:
I remember so many happy times with you both, and will always hold these memories very dearly. You both introduced me to many joys and I will always treasure those memories.
Dad would have been pleased.