Dear Diary – Page 75 (Late 1960’s – My Mum)

October 12, 1967 was my 21st birthday, and the photo below is very descriptive.

1967 10 12 MumThat is my Mum sitting on the floor with a doily on her head! To understand this photo, you have to understand my Mum!

She was born in 1919 and her Dad was a farm worker. She was apparently a rather sickly child who was often referred to as the “runt of the litter” (there were two other girls). They did not expect her to live a particularly long life however, she survived a basic education and went on to work in Lewis’s Department Store, in Birmingham, as a sales assistant. In the early part of WWII, she was conscripted and, out of the choices offered her, she chose to work as a “clippie”* on the buses! She used to recall many antics during air raids when they had to head for the nearest shelter!

I don’t know how/when she learned dressmaking but that, together with knitting, is how I remember my Mum’s skills. Her dressmaking eventually provided a steady income from the local theatre, and her knitting was a source of admiration to me. She would have so many colours going at the same time as she knitted a sweater, and I never worked out how she stayed in total control of them all!

Probably because of her “runt of the litter” label, and presumed treatment as such, she was always a “happy go lucky” personality. She had her moments of disappointment, despair and anger, but for most of the time she would see the lighter side of life. I don’t suppose for one moment that she contemplated her life too deeply, but she did (possibly intuitively) live each day to the full. She was always having a giggle over something or other.

She outlived both her sisters, which she told everybody… and with a big smile on her face.

Mum and wine were a family conversation piece on many occasions. The thought of a glass of wine would bring a big smile to her face. One glass of wine would make her really giggly. Two glasses of wine and she was laughing and giggling while trying to stay in some degree of control!

A few years after the above photo was taken, a dear friend of ours attempted suicide by overdosing. Fortunately, she failed in the attempt but when discharge from hospital was imminent, we realized that she had nowhere to go, given her circumstances. She needed a total change of “scenery” and so I asked my Mum and Dad if she could live with them for a month or two. They both agreed without hesitation, but it was my Mum who took her “under her wing”. It was my Mum that spent time chatting and listening. While the individual (no name because she is still alive) obviously appreciated the time with both my parents, she remembers my Mum for looking after her and making her feel part of the family.

My Mum is no longer with us, but I shall always remember her giggle, her reputation with wine, her lighthearted view of the world, and her acceptance of a stranger into her home.

For all the things that happened during my Mum’s lifetime, that photo (above) describes her better than words. She was a lot of fun (and an excellent Mum)!

*”Clippie” is a term used for bus conductors because they would clip (punch) a hole in the fare tickets so they could not be used again.

23 thoughts on “Dear Diary – Page 75 (Late 1960’s – My Mum)

  1. I am glad I found this post. So sweet! Your love for your Mum comes through very well in this post. I also believe that she definitely passed on her love of laughter to you and her caring spirit.

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  2. This is a lovely memory of your mother, Colin. I feel like I know her at least a little bit — and she seemed as though she was a wonderful woman. What a nice share for a Wednesday morning, 🙂

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    • She was wonderful, and it was all intuitive. He education was relatively basic, and she had no exposure to psychology, psychiatry, courses on inter-personal relationships or other humanity related information. What was even more impressive (to me) was that she lived by Christian values, and yet had no core belief in Christianity. She just instinctively cared about others and treated everybody with respect.


  3. I can assure a Mum she would very much have contemplated her life ..all Mums do i think..because we create life we are always thinking of our place in the world..i bet your Mum was a wonderful soul…my Dads Mum during the war drove trams in Scotland (she was born there) i imagine she too was a hoot…she would have needed strength to move to this dry land…a lovely memory of your Mum…being a Mum..:)

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  4. An amazing life story on your mother. She sounded like my mother, except that my mother does not giggle a lot (I think). I can recall certain memories of my mother of which are that of importance to me. But most of the time, she is not there at home because she worked everywhere and hard. Too many times that she would have to stay somewhere else for 3-4 days if the journey is far and we can see her on the weekends. Even my father was rarely at home. We came from a poor family and my parents (and the whole family members, of course) are working hard to put warm meals on the table everyday and bought school materials for all the kids at home. We shared all the things and moments … *sigh* Missing them all …

    Thank you for this great story on your Mom. I bet you must be so proud of her and missing her all this time …

    Take care, my friend!


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    • Hi Sherrie: It sounds like our lifestyle was a little better than yours, but I think all good Mums are the same. Just after WWII in England, all foods were tightly rationed but I do not recall any meals where we kids (3 of us) went hungry. Even when there was little of anything, our Mum managed to create a soup which kept us going! I tend to think that if more kids were brought up in an environment where acceptance, and sharing, were a part of their life, then our world would be a little happier. Yes, I am very proud of my Mum, as you clearly are of yours! Have a great day. 🙂

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  5. Your Mum sounds a lovely lady. I’m thankful mine is still with me, and I’m making the most of our visits. I have some wonderful memories already, and these days we are making new ones. The photo is excellent, and the flower very well positioned!

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    • She was lovely. She always presented herself in an honest way. There were no attempts to impress; no perceived image to project; she was exactly how she appeared. A great role model! 🙂


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