Well, the rain seems to have worked the dual miracle of reviving the gardens and erasing our memories of that long, hot summer. Time to retrieve the winter woollies and pack away those light summer clothes. (Except that I have the excuse to hang on to some of the summer clothes for my fast approaching holiday in the sun).
I have seen quite a lot of photos of my mum and dad, presumably taken in the years before they got married. They are riding about in, or posing beside a motorbike and sidecar or a smart little sporty car. This graduates to a bigger car when they appear to be travelling further afield chaperoned by my grandma (dad’s mum). Dad always looks a bit rakish – often with a cigarette dangling from the side of his mouth – and mum was a rather glamorous “flapper”.
Although neither of them ever spoke about it in my presence (even though mum was with me until I was 20), other members of the family have told me that it was my mother’s family who stood in the way of their marriage. My mother’s family were members of a non-conformist church. Dad was a Catholic and therefore, according to tradition, likely to persuade their daughter to have numerous children (Hmm…. well that never happened). At least I’m presuming that was the reason; I know it was something to do with religion.
It says something of their love that they were determined to stay together over all this time, although I can never quite understand why they were not determined enough to go against mum’s parents’ wishes and get married anyway. It seems so sad when they were to be separated much too soon by my dad’s death at the early age of forty-nine and it’s made me believe that you should never let chances of happiness go by.
By the time they were married (December 1939), my dad’s father had already died (in November 1931). Mum’s parents were still alive but her sister Jessie had died in March of that year of the cancer that eventually killed all of the sisters. The war had started in September of that year. I have never seen a photograph of their wedding day.
Throughout the war, during the day, dad worked in the cycle shop he had taken over from his father and in a local heavy engineering factory at night. I think my mother worked at the factory during the day. They lived over the shop and dad’s mother lived with them. I know very little about their lives during this time, although mum once did tell me about the bombing of Bradford. She clearly remembered the occasion because she was walking back home after a visit to the local cinema with her mother-in-law. From one of the high points on the outskirts of Bradford, they could see the city in flames and she particularly remembered this because they had just been to see “Rebecca” where, at the climax of the film there is a huge fire which destroys a house.
So now we must jump forward to 1947 again.
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