My mother died in 1991 in Hawaii. She loved to travel and was on her way to visit her sister and her family in Australia. My mother and father had been once before and were really looking forward to another visit. They stopped off in Vancouver to stay with a cousin and photos of her at this time look quite shadowy and vague. She must have been feeling very poorly and suffered from diarrhoea quite a bit for which she took tablets if she was traveling. She also had severe jaundice when we were very young which left her with some liver damage and she had to go to Portland Isolation Hospital. I remember the day she left she was bright yellow when she came in to dress us. A friend of the family, who had no children came to look after the 4 of us under 10 so it was quite hair—raising for her, especially as my older brother was into science experiments and wired all the door handles to give her a shock whenever she opened one!
My dad was completely shocked and traumatised that she died so suddenly but it was a blessing for her as she didn’t suffer. What a beautiful place to die. One day I would love to go there. I have inherited her love of travel and have back—packed around America, visited the Middle East, Germany, France and went on a boat to India. I then spent 3 months traveling around Rajasthan on my own.
Before she was married she worked as a secretary out in Palestine so she was very supportive when I married a Palestinian. She loved the country and the people. This was before the Second World War so it was quite adventurous for an unmarried woman to go off on her own. She was brought up in a middle class home so that when she married my father, who was the son of a blacksmith she again struck out of social norms. His mother was very put out and quite unpleasant to her treating her as a lady by making out that they weren’t good enough for her. This hurt my mum who was the sweetest person and had a very active social conscience. She worked as a firewarden in the second world war and also on a settlement in the East End. When we met up with my godmother when I was at college, with one of her oldest friends, I saw a very different side of her as she giggled away like a schoolgirl!
She was born in the year when the Titanic went down and lived through two world wars. She was intelligent, thoughtful and extremely courageous. She was educated at Harrogate Ladies’ College and made us roar with laughter when she maintained that the only thing she learned there was how to peel an orange with a knife and fork. She then went on to secretarial college before becoming a secretary. There were not many careers open to women then. She was always veery supportive of me having a career. She had 3 children under 5 at one point, which couldn’t have been easy. For much of my childhood dad was away as he went into the navy. She never complained, but didn’t ever learn to drive so she was dependent on my Dad or public transport. She went back to work in her 50s traveling by public transport from Weymouth to a school in Ilchester for several years where she was secretary which must have been very wearing. She loved her family and kept in touch with everyone remembering birthdays and anniversaries without fail. She is still greatly missed and would be so proud of her 7 great grandchildren. They are also spread throughout the world.