The Three Ladies In My Life

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

Mum & Hugh

© 2015 Copyright-All rights reserved-hughsviewsandnews.com.

179 comments

  1. I’m truly sorry for your great loss Hugh. It’s a devastating time and like this post a massive time for reflection. I’m sure you’ll always have the most special of memories to give you some comfort. I love your mum’s first name of course, who couldn’t since it’s Welsh. One day that blood may call you home.
    I’m sending Hugs for you.

    1. Thank you for your lovely words, David. Mum did not like her first name very much and was know as ‘Betty’ for much of her life. My step-father would call her ‘Gwladys’ when ever he wanted to annoy her. It worked! As for the Welsh blood calling me home – well I think it is already working as we have plans to move back to Wales full time.

  2. This is beautiful, Hugh. Such a lovely tribute. I’m so sorry for your loss, and I’m also glad you had such a wonderful role model in your life. She’ll always be with you. Hugs.

  3. Hi Hugh, so sorry to hear it. This post is lovely, I can feel you wrote directly from your heart. You have such a good memory for details about the clothes and the food, and you were 5 years old. Take care!

    1. I think I remember it so well because it is the very first Christmas I can remember. I’m a huge lover of the festive season, as was mum, and that is why the details stuck out so much.

      Thank you for your kind words, Elizabeth.

      P.S – I’m loving the new profile photo.

  4. Great post, Hugh, maybe your best. You’ve always come across as personable and “you” in your writing, but in this one I feel you’ve done even more, you’ve found you’re “writerly voice,” if I may call it that. Sweet and passionate and heartfelt. Glad you took time away to deal with your loss and glad to have you back, too.

  5. Oh, Hugh, I’m so sorry to hear about your Mum. I’ve been thinking about you all ever since you mentioned her condition on my blog a few months back. I hope she passed peacefully. Do keep in mind; death ends a life, not a relationship. You are so lucky to have these wonderful women, now and forever.

  6. This is one of those posts that can’t not be written. I sense strong emotions through the beautiful heartfelt memories, a real joy to read. Now you’ve got me thinking about my first such memory…

    Hugs to you at this time of loss and reflection. Xx

  7. What a sweet post, Hugh. I nearly burst into tears at the end when I realized it was a tribute to your mom. I’m so sorry for your loss. Keep loving life – that’s the greatest give you can give her.

    1. Oh, I’ll keep loving life as it is something I learned to do from mum. She loved life to the full and although it was cruel to her at the end I know she will look back and smile. She never regretted anything and I am certainly following in her footsteps.

  8. A wonderful memory Hugh of your Mum and gran. They never really leave us and today is my mother’s birthday and she would have been 98. Three years after she died I still see her as clear as day in a pink jacket and pearls. Hold those memories close as they are like hugs. lots of love and pleased to have you back home in blog land. XXS

        1. I’m so glad the problem with WordPress was sorted out quickly, Sally. It was all to do with some WordPress cookies on the hard-drive of my computer. Once I cleared them and tried logging in again it was all systems go.

          I’ve got the Sunday lunch post in my in box and look forward to reading it. I’m also putting a “Truth App” recap post together before I publish the next instalment. Part 7 is ready but, because of the long gap since Part 6, some may have forgotten just what has happened so I thought a recap post would be good.

  9. What a lovely picture you paint, Hugh! I dont know how you can remember such detail. I have very little memory from the time I was five. Three special ladies indeed. Lots of love to you. Xxx and glad to see you got back into your blog! ☺

    1. I think I remember the detail so well because it is the first Christmas I can remember, Ali. I’m a huge lover of Christmas (just like mum was) and I know I get my love of the festive season from her. She even planned to give birth to both my sister and I over the Christmas period. Jayne arrived far too early, but she managed to give birth to me just before Christmas came to an end.

      It’s great to be back and I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone.
      xx

      1. I love Christmas, too! Although I have to say, the boys weren’t that into it last year, and carys coudn’t care less! That put a bit of a damper on it for me, but you know what? I decided that from now on I’m doing Christmas for ME! Because it means more to ME. So you were your mum’s best Christmas pressie ever! My oldest son, Cai, was due on Dec 21st, but was born on Nov 30th. My youngest son was born on Nov 11th, and Carys was due Jan 9th, but was born on Dec 22nd… she was my Christmas baby. Glad you’re back, Hugh… NOW WHERE IS THE NEXT TRUTH APP???

        1. I’m glad to hear it Ali. Do it for you and let the rest of the family join in the fun (if they want to). To be honest I start getting all excited about Christmas from Advent Sunday. I always get an Advent Calendar, plus an Advent candle as well. Mum always bought me both and I will now continue the tradition. I was actually due on New Years Eve but did not want to arrive until a few days after all the celebrations had finished. Jayne was due on Christmas Eve but arrived on Nov 30th, so has the same birthday as Cai.

          There’s a recap of “The Truth App” due out this week. I thought it a good idea to do a recap of the six parts so far and then publish part seven the day after. The wait will soon be over.

  10. Hello Hugh, so lovely to be back here again, and I am deeply moved by your beautifully written tribute to your beautiful three ladies, and especially to your beloved mum. What a gorgeous photograph of you both. The way you describe that Christmas in 1966 is so evocative, you took me right back to another life, when my mother and father were still together, and the four of us, with my little brother, spent our Christmases together. As soon as you described those paper bells, put back together with paper clips in the shape of a boot, I remembered so clearly that we had the very same. And Chinese paper lanterns too. Every Christmas. They are making a comeback now so I hear. Sending you love &hugs my friend at this difficult time and thank goodness for such wonderful memories enabling your mum to live in your heart forever, always. Thinking of you… ❤ xx

    1. Some have said it is amazing the detail I remember from that Christmas, Sherri, and as this was my very first memory of Christmas (a time of the year I deeply love) I think that is why everything stuck in my mind so much. I especially remember the big yellow truck and only wish I still had it. However, I have the beautiful memories of mum and they are far more important. I like that my writing also triggered a few memories for you. I’d forgotten about the Chinese paper lanterns but I can now visualise them so well.

      Thank you so much for your kind words Sherri. They mean a lot to me.
      xx

      1. It is very important to be able to remember those kind of details and you have a natural ability to evoke the time and the feel and the place. This is something very important to memoir writing. And I feel just the same way about as you do about Christmas and how wonderful that you have such beautiful memories of your dear mum. Big hug to you Hugh xx

  11. What a lovely memory to honor your mother, Hugh. At a time like this, it is so important to remember them with the love and affection they blessed you with in your lifetime. I’m so sorry for your loss. You express your feelings so beautifully here. 💕

  12. That is a wonderful tribute to your mum Hugh. She looked like she was full of fun, and I bet you brought her loads of laughs too. My mum always crosses the sprouts as well, because ‘that’s what you do!’ It’s so nice to have your memories of all the great times you had together, which you can treasure. It is good to see you back Hugh x

    1. Thank you so much, Judy. It’s great to be back on Planet Blog. I know mum would have wanted me to carry on with my writing and blogging, so all of this is for her. Now I’m back I know she’d would have wanted me to stay. 🙂 I get my love of life from her and it is something I will always thank her for.

        1. You have indeed 🙂

          She knew I wrote but was always too frightened to read my short stories as they scared her. She was not one for horror or science fiction – more a Disney kind of mum 🙂

  13. My deepest sympathy over your loss, Hugh! Your mother is watching over you and is surely proud of you! Lovely post and dedication to your women! Blessings!

  14. Delightful, Hugh. A truly splendid and fitting tribute and a lovely way to mark her passing. If you are anything like me the weeks,months and years to come will be filled with a rolling series of memories like this one. Poignant, sometimes sad, but ultimately uplifting and a vindication of a life well lived.

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