I have always been a lover of life. Yes, it’s thrown many bad things at me and said: “here, deal with that!” But, my love affair with life has never ended or been anywhere near ending. I could just ‘like’ life but, no, I have always adored it, and will carry on doing so until my ‘sell by date’ comes along.
The other day I was thinking about my life and reliving some memories. I tried to remember what my first ever memories of life were that included my mother. A few memories came to the forefront of my mind.
The memory I am sharing with you today is extraordinary because it includes three wonderful ladies who I will never forget. So, let me take you back to a day I can remember and tell you what it means to me.
I’m sat on the floor in the huge living room of our house. In front of me is a big high dark wooden table and, on top of the table, I can just make out the brightly coloured yellow truck I had been given that day. The colour fascinated me and became my favourite colour up until about twenty years ago when blue took over.
Sat at one end of the table, to my right, is the first of these ladies, my Grandmother, Nana Wallington. She looks down at me and smiles. She has thick black rimmed spectacles which make her eyes look huge. She’s wearing a green ‘pork pie’ style hat, which has two red cherries stuck to the side and is dressed in a velvet green two-piece jacket and skirt.
Underneath the jacket, I can see a cream cardigan which is helping her keep warm. She wears some white pearls around her neck. Her lips are painted a bright red, and she has a pair of flat, black shoes and beige coloured stockings on. She’s quite a chubby lady and adores me because I am her first grandchild.
To my left is the kitchen. In there I can see the back of the second of these special ladies, Mum. She’s busy peeling sprouts, and I wonder why she makes a little cross on the bottom of each sprout with the knife. I only know she is doing this because my Grandmother has told her to remember to ‘cross the sprouts’ at the base.
I can see lots of steam coming off various pots boiling away on the stove, and the house is smelling of ‘roast dinner’.
Mum is wearing a green flowery dress and a new pair of slippers, which are tartan green and have cream coloured fur inside of them. She talks to my Grandmother about how long it will be before the men come back from the pub.
Behind me, I can hear a baby stir. It’s the third of these special ladies in my life, my baby sister, Jayne. I look behind me. Over in the corner sits a small, artificial, christmas tree lit up by colourful Victorian looking lanterns. I love looking at the red, green, blue and yellow bright lights. The tree is on a small table to prevent me getting my hands on the chocolates which hang from some of its branches. There are no gifts under the tree because they’ve all been opened; most of which are scattered across the living room floor.
Jayne starts to cry, and my Grandmother gets up and takes a peek inside the carry-cot while my mother continues to peel sprouts. Besides me, I notice a few selection boxes, one of which is opened. On the front of each selection box is a picture of Father Christmas in his sleigh, which is being pulled by some reindeer over some snowy roofs and chimney pots of houses.
Pictures of the various chocolate bars and sweets inside the box are displayed on the front of each box. To my Grandmother’s dismay, I’ve eaten most of the contents of the opened box. She tells mum that I won’t be wanting to eat my Christmas dinner!
Upon the ceiling are pinned two colourful paper bells; one just above me and the other down the far end of the room. When taken down, unclipped, and closed up, they both look like the shape of a boot, the type my mother would wear when going out. When taking them down, my Father would always say how the shape reminds him of a country called Italy, and that one day he would like to take us all there for a holiday.
My Grandmother and Mum continue to talk while I play with the toys that had been delivered the night before. Mum eventually comes into the room with two small glasses of sherry and hands one to my Grandmother. Even though I am just coming up to the age of five, I already know that these three special people are going to be the three most important ladies in my life.
The date is 25th December 1966.
In Memory Of Gwladys Elizabeth Hill, Who Sadly Passed Away On 15th September, 2015
I’ll Never Ever Forget You Mum
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