A SHORT HISTORY OF MY LIFE
I was born at my grandparent’s house in Malvern Link, Worcestershire. It was during the Second World War and my mother had gone to stay at my grandparent’s house in time for the birth. Later on my mother lived in rented accommodation near to my grand father and grandmother. My father had a short compassionate leave from the RAF but could not get to Malvern in time for the birth, as he had to change trains (from different stations!) in Birmingham and was delayed because the sirens sounded and he had to spend the whole night in New Street underground shelter due to the German bombing and make his way across town to Snow Hill station the next morning.
About a year before the war was over my mother and I went back to our home, which had been rented out to someone, in Birmingham. I can remember starting infants school. I loved it. We had milk, played in the sandpit, played with toys, played in the playground and had a ‘sleep’ with our heads on the desk! We all had friends who lived near to us, so we played together in and out of school.
I loved learning the alphabet, learning to read and learning numbers. I have always enjoyed learning, and in infants, junior and senior school we had very good teachers. Discipline and high standards were an important part of teaching in those days. At senior school my favourite subjects were art, maths, chemistry, biology, English language and literature, French and German. I was not so keen on geography, history, gym or games. I still love art, growing plants and writing. I still love words, colours, beauty, in all its forms and sparkly cards at Christmas!
Quote by John Muir (Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul).
We can see beauty everywhere if we search for it, for God made everything beautiful.
And a sense of humour helps us to cope with life!
After leaving school I became an apprentice dispenser at ‘Boots the Chemists’.
I met many good friends there, the work was interesting and we managed to have ‘fun’ too! Later I went to train as a nurse. I enjoyed that but I ended up ill myself, in the ward instead of on it! I failed my second medical. I was disappointed but luckily ‘Boots’ welcomed me back as a dispenser.
All that I learned there, helped me in the future, as little did I know then, that later I was to marry and have four children! One of the things that I learned was ‘the customer is always right, even if they are wrong’! Our manager absolutely insisted on that. He was a wonderful trainer. You are all here to serve the public he would say. How true! He was strict but fair and he had a sense of humour, which you really need if you serve the public. How we need good managers today!
I got married and within twelve months I was expecting a baby. We were thrilled and I started knitting a little cardigan before the doctor had confirmed the pregnancy! I couldn’t stop eating oranges and chocolate peppermint creams! At this time our house was ready to move into. We had bought one about 30 miles from Birmingham as they were cheaper there, so I had to leave ‘Boots’ in Birmingham. A few days after we moved into the house we went to the local doctor and he confirmed the pregnancy. I didn’t get another job at that stage. I became a full-time housewife.
In due time I went into labour. The midwife arrived (home births were allowed in those days) and decided to stay as she thought it would not be long before baby arrived. The hours went on and the midwife stayed all night and had to send for the doctor at 6 0’clock in the morning. We weren’t on the phone, so my husband thought he would have to go to the phone box at the top of the next street to call the doctor. Luckily our neighbours were up early and noticed that the midwife’s car was still on our drive, so they called my husband in and let him use their phone. The doctor arrived and then said I would have to go to hospital. He knew I was disappointed and really wanted a home birth.
The ambulance raced along with me and the midwife inside. My husband raced along behind trying to keep up; the car almost took off when he had to go over a hump-backed bridge. It was funny seeing it from my vantage point in the ambulance.
Eventually the baby was born with the aid of forceps. It’s a boy the doctor announced and there was great relief and joy amongst the sister and nurses in the theatre. I was holding the baby and feeling ‘kind of out of this world’ with happiness. Suddenly my stomach gave a terrific bump! The doctor shot back to the table and said “There’s another one in there”! So our second son came into the world only five minutes after our first one! I wasn’t sure whether I had dreamed it, as the injection and tablets that I had been given were probably making me woozy. Then the doctor had to go and tell my husband that he was the father of twin boys! In those days husbands weren’t allowed in the delivery room before the birth and we were in the theatre anyway, so he had been waiting in a little room for a long time. You can imagine the expression on his face, relief, joy, amazement. He didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. He told me later, that when the doctor had told him the news, he had replied in shock “We only came in for one”!
Life is full of surprises, sometimes you get more than you expect!
We were very lucky. It was an amazing time. Everyone rallied round buying and knitting more clothes, nappies, bottles etc. It was such a busy time and that winter (1962-1963) was harsh and the snow and frost lasted for a long time. One night we had to stay up all night washing and drying nappies (no washing machine in those days), because the previous day the water supply pipes had frozen.
The next year our daughter was born at home with a lovely midwife who got my husband making us all cups of tea at regular intervals! It was a wonderful uncomplicated birth. We were so happy to have a daughter as well as our two sons. We also bought a washing machine for the first time. It made things easier! Again it was a harsh winter (1963-1964).
Our youngest son was born at home on a really snowy night in January 1966.
My husband had to dig and push the midwife’s car off the drive to get it going when it was all over, as it had snowed so heavily. Our twins were special, our daughter was special but there is also something special about your youngest child. Each child is unique! Every child is a gift from God.
WHAT IS A GIRL © Alan Beck 1949
Little girls are the nicest things that can happen to people. They are born with a bit of angel-shine about them, and though it wears thin sometimes, there is always enough left to lasso your heart—even when they are sitting in the mud, or crying temperamental tears, or parading up the street in Mother’s best clothes.
A little girl can be sweeter (and ‘badder’), oftener than anyone else in the world. She can jitter around, and stomp, and make funny noises that frazzle your nerves, yet just when you open your mouth, she stands there demure with that special look in her eyes. A girl is Innocence playing in the mud, Beauty standing on its head, and Motherhood dragging a doll by the foot.
God borrows from many creatures to make a little girl. He uses the song of a bird, the squeal of a pig, the stubbornness of a mule, the antics of a monkey, the spryness of a grasshopper, the curiosity of a cat, the speed of a gazelle, the slyness of a fox, the softness of a kitten, and to top it all off He adds the mysterious mind of a woman.
A little girl likes new shoes, party dresses, small animals, first grade, noisemakers, the girl next door, dolls, make-believe, dancing lessons, ice cream, kitchens, colouring books, make-up, cans of water, going visiting, tea parties, and one boy. She doesn’t care so much for visitors, boys in general, large dogs, hand-me-downs, straight chairs, vegetables, snowsuits, or staying in the front yard.
She is loudest when you are thinking, the prettiest when she has provoked you, the busiest at bedtime, the quietest when you want to show her off, and the most flirtatious when she absolutely must not get the best of you again. Who else can cause you more grief, joy, irritation, satisfaction, embarrassment, and genuine delight than this combination of Eve, Salome, and Florence Nightingale?
She can muss up your home, your hair, and your dignity—spend your money, your time, and your patience—and just when your temper is ready to crack, her sunshine peeks through and you’ve lost again. Yes, she is a nerve-wracking nuisance, just a noisy bundle of mischief. But when your dreams tumble down and the world is a mess—when it seems you are pretty much of a fool after all—she can make you a king or queen when she climbs on your knee and whispers, “I love you best of all!”
WHAT IS A BOY © Alan Beck 1949
Between the innocence of babyhood and the dignity of manhood we find a delightful creature called a boy.
Boys come in assorted sizes, weights, and colours, but all boys have the same creed: to enjoy every second of every minute of every hour of every day and to protest with noise (their only weapon) when their last minute is finished and the adult males pack them off to bed at night. They are found everywhere – on top of, underneath, inside of, climbing on, swinging from, running around or jumping to. Mothers love them, little girls hate them, older brothers and sisters tolerate them, adults ignore them and Heaven protects them.
A boy is Truth with dirt on its face, Wisdom with bubblegum in its hair and Hope of the future with a frog in its pocket. A boy has the appetite of a horse, the digestion of a sword swallower, the energy of a pocket size atomic bomb, the curiosity of a cat, the lungs of a dictator, the imagination of Paul Bunyan, the shyness of a violet, the audacity of a steel trap, the enthusiasm of a firecracker, and when he makes something he has five thumbs on each hand.
He likes ice cream, knives, saws, Christmas, comic books, the boy across the street, woods, water (in its natural habitat), large animals, Dad, trains, Saturday mornings, and fire engines. He is not much for Sunday school, company, schools, books without pictures, music lessons, neckties, barbers, girls, overcoats, adults, or bedtime.
Nobody else is so early to rise or so late to supper. No one else can cram into one pocket a rusty knife, a half eaten apple, three feet of string, an empty Bull Durham sack, two gumdrops, six cents, a slingshot, a chunk of unknown substance, and a genuine supersonic code ring with a secret compartment.
A boy is a magical creature – you can lock him out of your workshop, but you can’t lock him out of your heart. You can get him out of your study, but you can’t get him out of your mind. Might as well give up – he is your captor, your jailer, your boss and your master – a freckle faced, pint sized bundle of noise. But when you come home at night with only the shattered pieces of your hopes and dreams, he can mend them with two words – “Hi MUM!” or “Hi DAD!”
The years passed and I treasure the fact that I learned so much in those years while the children grew up. My parents were growing older too and my father died when my oldest children were only 14 years old. So we missed him so much, all the more so, because unfortunately my husband had left me to go and live with someone else a few years earlier. This was hard to bear. It is painful when your children are sad.
Life is full of surprises, sometimes you get less than you expect!
My parents had moved from Kent to be nearer to us after my husband left.
Grandad had become a kind of father figure to my children, as I was an only child and so there were no uncles or aunts. He was a man with a sense of fun, loads of patience, lots of common sense, a sense of duty and a sense of fairness.
When I was young he always told me the secret of success is knowing when to say yes and when to say no! Actually there is a lot of wisdom in that!
My mum lived for another 14 years without him, but life was never the same for her. Even so she always made the best of things and was happy in her own way. I grieved deeply when she died, but I thought of her reunited with dad in heaven and that gave me great peace. I can think of them both now without tears, only gratitude for all the wonderful memories of them in my life.
The years from when the children were teenagers to when they grew up and ‘fled the nest’ were so busy and time flew. They had many friends from school and the church youth club. They all enjoyed entering ‘the world of work’ and became successful in their careers. They all have some very amusing stories to tell, about things that have happened to them in their jobs, particularly when dealing with the public!
Eventually they all married and had children.
After the children had all started work I was very fortunate to meet the man who is now my husband. We married in 1984. He has three children, who lived with their mother until they also grew up and ‘fled the nest’. These 30 years have been fun-filled very busy days. There have been sad times too, but everyone has their bad times. Perhaps it makes us appreciate the good times even more.
One of the worst things was when my ex-husband died suddenly of a heart attack only 2 months after I had re-married. My children were devastated. It felt so cruel. None of us knew how to react at first. We were numb with shock.
The one thing that helped us cope, was the fact that we had made friends with him and his new wife long after I got over the disappointment a divorce brings. With God’s help I was able to forgive him and wish him and his new wife well even in the early years.
It is a wonderful thing to know, when someone dies, that you didn’t last part as ‘enemies’. I think we should try to live at peace with everyone, as far as it is possible, although I realise that not all people want peace.
He came to my father’s funeral, which I think was brave of him! Later, after the children were grown up, we used to invite him and his wife to things like my daughters engagement party, my son’s passing out parade and down to Southampton to see the Canberra arrive back from the Falklands with our son on it, safely home again!
SS Canberra arrives at Southampton 1982
My heart goes out to all families who have people serving in the forces.
Life is slower now for my husband and I. I cannot do all the things I used to do or even all the things I want to do! Life takes it’s toll, but there is time now to reflect and remember. All the work we do when we are younger is worth it and nothing is wasted. All in all I have had a blessed, joyful life. I have met many friends along the way, at school, work, churches and neighbours. Some probably do not realise how much they have helped and encouraged me. God has been with me all the way, even the times when I probably wasn’t very near to Him! I would like to encourage all ‘one parent families’, especially those who did not choose to be in this position, that life can turn out well if you patiently do your very best, even in difficult circumstances, encourage your children to do the same and always try to keep in mind that God is in control of the whole world and He is working His purpose out. I do not profess to have known all the answers or to always ‘having life altogether’ with no problems; life is a continual learning curve.
Our seven children and all their families have all been successful in their different ways. That isn’t to say that they are all millionaires, but they are all unique in their personalities and gifted and talented in various skills (personal and practical). They have all has their painful, sad and difficult times throughout the years. We hope we have helped them as much as we could with love and advice when needed. We also hope we knew when it was best to stand back and not interfere!
As you read this I pray that you will learn to trust God, put Jesus first in your life as Saviour and Lord and love your neighbour as yourself. It is the only way to true joy; not just fleeting happiness.
It is an ongoing, gradual process in our lives. God works in us but we have to do our bit too. Sometimes we learn from simply obeying God; other times we learn from our mistakes! We grow in faith as we go on. Being a Christian does not exempt us from having sad and difficult situations to cope with in life. The tests may get harder and even as Christians we shall not be completely perfect until our life on this earth is over.
If you feel you need God in your life and you don’t know how to find Him and you feel alone, lost, guilty and frightened, I recommend the website from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association www.PeaceWithGod.net
I also recommend that you watch The Revelation TV Channel on Sky channel number 581 or Freesat channel 692. You can also watch programmes on their website at http://www.revelationtv.com/ They are a Christian channel. They have live, interactive programmes, which are wonderful for people who are lonely and many programmes that help people learn about the love of God and how to live the Christian life. The presenters and guests make you feel that you are part of the Church family.
Their website is http://www.revelationtv.com/