Thursday, November 17, 2005

Happy Birthday Bunny...Happy Birthday Mummy

A fuzzy school picture of Bunny (Laura Grace Eveling) at almost 14. The year was 1939 and so much lay in front of this young girl. Before the first day of school had even started, Britain, France and Australia declared war on Germany, the United States quickly declared its neutrality (the one effing time they decide against a war...still strikes me as being unbelieveable), south Africa declared war on Germany days later, followed shortly by Canada.

My grandparents had bought their first and only home on Beehive Lane in Great Baddow, Essex and lost it in the Great Depression, never to buy another. My mother can remember playing in their back garden not long before they were forced to move, and running into the house and asking her mum for something to eat. The only thing in the house was a stock cube over which boiling water was poured. My mother rejected that offering but also remembered that afternoon when the second post arrived. She said it always seemed that when they were at their lowest (financially), a letter would arrive from her mother's family in Liverpool, a short letter with a ten bob or pound note tucked between its crisp folds. This money put food on their table and young Bunny can still remember walking to the shops with her mother minutes after the money arrived, salivating and excited about what they might have for tea.

Her tiny, younger sister Patricia, after spending most of her short life in Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, was at her most profoundly ill at this time. There was no National Health Service and the TB that had stricken this dear little girl, had resulted in mountains of bills. My grandparents had chosen to pay the hospital and the physicians treating their child instead of the mortgage and so it was that they buried their middle child (3 years old) and had their home foreclosed upon within weeks of each other. Mum has very few memories of her little sister, but one is very clear. Patricia was allowed home but vary rarely and she was in her cot, sitting very patiently and looking at her big sister, my mother. She spoke beautifully for one so young and my mother said she suddenly sang out, "Nurse, oh Nurse, I'd like a drink please." She'd forgotten she was home and instead of calling for her Mummy, she'd called for a Nurse.

This is a picture of my Mum taken at her house in Eastbourne, England in early October. I love this photograph. It captures the free spirit that my mother is. I think she looks great for her 80 years.

The picture below was taken a year ago when she was visiting us in Topanga. She's hard at work with Lottie creating table decorations for our Thanksgiving know, snakes and stuff. I'll post a bit more about Bunny in the days to come.

Until then, though...Happy Birthday Mum. Happy 80th Birthday.


Blogger missjackie said...

I really like how you put your mother's childhood in context, providing us with background about the young girl that appears in the picture and life as she knew it.

The details about the depression, particularly about the stock cube and shopping for tea were also touching.

Thank you for sharing. And happy birthday to your mummy!

8:28 AM  
Blogger Ova Girl said...

A great post Lin. I bet your mother has loads of great stories. Happy birthday to her, please give her our love!

10:06 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

Your mum has great bone structure, and you're right, she looks great and very vibrant! Best wishes for the Birthday celebration! I love talking to older people, they often have the most amazing life stories.

6:42 PM  
Blogger junebee said...

Ditto what Miss Jackie said. Glad to see your mother's later years are easier for her than her youth. She looks like she's having fun with Lottie. I bet they made some great decorations for Thanksgiving!

6:47 PM  

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