Women in my life

My beautiful picture

Women in my life – my mother (centre in navy blue), my grandmother (left), next to her my Aunt Nessy, to the right of my mother is Aunt Peggy and to her right Aunt Joan (my mother’s brother Alex’s wife).

I’m dipping into my recently scanned slides for this post, for images that bring back wonderful memories of mother, father, grandparents and other family members.

My beautiful picture

Aunt Peggy flanked by my mother and father while on holiday in Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae in the Clyde estuary. Various members of my family, including my parents, had a ‘wee house’ here where we spent all our holidays. Those were times of freedom, happiness and friendship that shaped the person I am.

My grandmother was the glue that kept her whole family together. She liked nothing better than have her family around her. Wednesdays were her ‘at home’ day, and any family members who could manage along were welcomed with hugs and wide smiles. Sometimes, in summer months, the fare was salad, but more usually it was my grandmother’s elastic meal – mince and macaroni. The earlier you arrived the more mince was ladled onto your plate, the later you made an appearance the more macaroni.

My beautiful picture

Women in my life – my mother. She inherited some of her mother’s ‘suffragette’ tendencies and was involved with a number of  women’s organisations fighting for women’s rights.

But none of us went for the food. We went to keep up with family news, plan events such as a family birthday or Christmas parties, and to go home with a bagful of vegetables from my grandfather’s allotment.

My grandmother had three daughters and a son, with another son dying in infancy. Although his name was James, he was always referred to as Robin as my grandmother said a robin sang on the window sill the morning he was born and the morning he died.

My mother was the third daughter, with her brother the youngest, and my young life revolved around them. My father’s family wasn’t as close, though we occasionally saw them, but never all together, except at funerals.

I have wonderful memories of helping my mother prepare for family parties. I was usually assigned to cleaning and polishing cutlery, peeling potatoes and preparing other vegetables, making trifles with thick slices of jam roll spread with homemade raspberry jam, moistened with sweet sherry bought specially for the purpose, layered with tinned fruit, covered with custard and topped with a thick layer of cream sprinkled with grated chocolate. Some of these photos taken on my twenty-first birthday show how much I enjoyed family parties.

My beautiful picture

In the tiny kitchen, my mother, Aunt Peggy and myself. This was my twenty-first birthday. I can’t believe how dated the kitchen looks now, yet then it was considered quite modern. How times change!

Of all my aunts and uncles, only my mother’s sister-in-law is still around, and my parents both died some years ago – a sobering reminder of how fleeting are the good times, and indeed our lives.

My beautiful picture

Another photo of my twenty-first birthday with my husband-to-be, my grandfather, and my grandmother. You can see from the expression on her face how much she liked having her grandchildren and young love around her.

So today it’s good to look at my scanned slides and remember not just my mother but other women important in my life. They helped make me what I am, and for that I am truly grateful.

My beautiful picture

My mother at my wedding.

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About jingsandthings

I am me. What do I like? Colour Shapes Textures Paintings, photographs, sculptures, woven tapestries, wonderful materials. The love of materials probably comes from my father who was a textile buyer, and I grew up hearing the names of mills and manufacturers which sounded magical and enticing. Glass in all its soft and vibrant colours and flowing shapes, even sixties glass which makes its own proud statement. A book I can immerse myself in. Meals with family or friends with lots of chat and laughter (and probably a bottle or two of wine). The occasional trip abroad to experience the sights, sounds, food, conversation, quality of light and warmth of other countries. To revel in differences and be amazed by similarities. I like to create and to experience, to try and to achieve. And then there are words – read, heard, written at my keyboard, or scrawled on sticky notes, or along the edges of dog-eared supermarket receipts excavated from the unexplored nooks of my handbag. What do I dislike? Cold Snow Bad design Fast food Condescension
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14 Responses to Women in my life

  1. Chris says:

    Love seeing the old photos in this and your last post. I tried out a slide and neg converter last year, but was really unhappy with the results. You seem to be having more success. I would have had to spend way too much time photoshopping the scanned images, so I didn’t keep the converter.

    Your relatives all look so happy in these photos, and in a genuine fashion, not just as if smiling for the camera. Those are such warm smiles. I almost expect to hear snippets of conversation.

    • Hi Chris, the photographs in this post, taken by an uncle, have come out better than those in my previous post which were taken by me. My uncle had a fairly good camera while mine was a cheap Kodak Instamatic, so assume this is what makes the difference. Good lenses were much more expensive then, and I don’t remember being able to alter anything. You just pressed the button, irrespective of the type of shot.

      I’m not into Photoshop other than for sizing, changing format or resolution and some minor tweaking, but merely adding some red to counter the blue has helped with mine. And just being able to see the slides properly and enjoy them has been such a thrill that I suspect I would have been happy however they looked.

      Family parties were always very happy affairs – I suspect my grandmother would have expressed her displeasure if they had been otherwise. About thirty of us would pile round tables, sitting on chairs, benches and planks of wood and tuck into homemade soup, a main course and sweet – all homemade, and there were always willing hand to wash the dishes afterwards. I still really enjoy a meal with my own family when we can sit round the table and chat and laugh.

  2. Mama Cormier says:

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos of your family. You and your husband to be look very much in love and happy in that photo with your grandparents.

    • Selecting these photos today brought a flood of pleasure. Sometimes you can forget about the good things you enjoyed when young, often taking it for granted. Then as you get older you can appreciate what others did for you, giving you a happy, secure childhood, with lots of great memories. Being able to see these slides again has been such an exciting experience and it seemed an appropriate day (Mother’s Day here) to write about them and my family.

  3. Pat Mosel says:

    Regal and strong is the image I take away from this post.

    • An interesting comment, Pat. My mother’s and grandmother’s generation had to be strong. My grandmother’s parents died when she was quite young and she brought up her brothers and sisters. Even in later years she was the one everyone turned to, She was always cheerful about her life, though never had it easy. She worked as a postie during WW1 when she had a young family, never had much money yet never complained about hardship. She was a good manager, loved her family and was thankful for what she had. I suppose we all basked in her radiance. She was certainly a major figure in my life. She would love to have been referred to as regal.

  4. carol1945 says:

    Thank you so much for sharing such a personal post. I love all your photos; they remind me of mine, and thus are universal!! The expression on your grandmother’s face is the absolute most wonderful thing I have ever seen!!

    • Hi Carol, having the photographs gave me the idea of doing a post on Mother’s Day and this was the result. As you get older you realise how precious those memories are and it gave me much pleasure remembering and writing about the women in my family Yes, my grandmother’s face is a picture. She liked people in love and was married herself for well over sixty years, living into her mid nineties.

  5. mybrightlife says:

    I agree, a picture indeed. What a line of strong women! Lovely glimpse into your life. Thanks for sharing.

    • How interesting. I never thought of them as strong women – they were just my family. But I suppose they were, but they were also funny, fun to be with, caring, compassionate; all the things you would want family members to be, which is why it’s so good to remember them. It’s funny because my own family only vaguely remember them. How time flies!

      • mybrightlife says:

        It certainly does, and as it does I find myself having a deeper interest in family history too. Perhaps we just understand better as we age what is actually important or meaningful in life. Now what about the men in your family?

  6. With the exception of my father, the men in my family didn’t have as much influence as the women, though… Mmmm, yes a post might be possible. Watch this space, as they say.

  7. walter- says:

    It is a beautiful post, Dorothy. The story entertaining and full of emotion is transmitted through your words. I always reflect on that parents who have died, are still living in us; because we are the product advice and teachings that left. Thank you for showing something of your history. Very nice photos, people smiling and happy. Beautiful memories.
    Regards.

    • Thank you, Walter, and so agree with what you have written. For most of us our only hope of being remembered is through our children. Around the house I have bits and pieces that belonged to parents, grandparents and other family members that give me pleasure whenever i see them, and bring back memories of things I’d forgotten.

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