Yesterday My Mother would have turned one hundred years old, if she had lived past 87** It was such a shock when we lost her. My father had been fragile in health for years and years, and she was always the one that walked everywhere, visited people in hospital, went to Mass every lunch time and was generally never one to let the grass grow under her feet. Along with her many duties, she also found time to practice her singing with a singing tutor. This last fact I only found out when going shopping with her, and we bumped into this lady who my mother introduced as her singing teacher** Born in 1915, her birth was not registered until 1916, so she always told me that her mother had said she was actually a year older than the authorities knew. She was married for almost 60 years to my father and despite all their ups and downs, remained in love with him until she died. When she died, my father was totally bereft, and he joined her 13 months later. His life without her was so empty, he could not wait to be with her again.
She was petite, only 4ft 11 and a half inches high, and always wore high heels. She never wore flats until she was in her eighties* She had a trim figure and such a wonderful sense of humour and laughter, she was great fun to be around. She could be strict mind you, and my children saw that side of her, much more than I did.. Our parenting skills were different I guess, and when my kids visited, she made sure they watched their p's and q's all the time.. Nonetheless, all my children adored her and attended her funeral in Crawley Sussex. My brother who lived in Belgium was there, and took my father back with him after the ceremony so he would not be alone again.
When we received the birth certificate, we noted that her real name was just Rosie.... definately NOT
Rosina as she had called her self for almost 80 years! Born into a poor working class family in London, she and her siblings had a tough early life with money being very scarce, my grandfather being the only worker in the home. With 9 children to feed, he had to keep working , when it snowed he would crawl if he had to, in traversing difficult icy road, in order to get to his job and provide money for his family. Marrying my grandmother in her teens, they had had another two children, who had died in a house fire, long before they started having my mother and her siblings. They never got over their loss, but they treated all their following children with deep love and affection, and strong discipline. Somehow with so little money, all the children thrived, except one little boy, who, when my grandmother had to go away with the newborn, to recuperate, stopped eating and fretting for his mother and so died before she returned home.. I cannot imagine how that would have affected them, after losing the first two, but they carried on as you did in those days. From her earliest moments, my mother was born to sing. Her voice was a true soprano, and was so lovely to hear. Even listening to her, I was aware of how her mouth and throat vibrated as she sang. I heard later that her mother also had had a beautiful voice. However my mother managed to get a manager, and she later worked in the war effort, entertaining troops all over the UK in the early days of the war.. Once time even carrying on singing as the road was bombed, so everyone would not stampede to get out of the theatre in a rush.*
My mother was not as educated as my father, or my brother and myself, but my goodness she still was very clever and knew her way around.. Many times she was able to tell me what to do in certain circumstances and I valued her input. Of course as a teenager I was not the best daughter and I know that I did push the limit and often broke her heart, but she forgave me, and our relationship as adults was very very close indeed. Thankfully, I might add, she never rubbed it in, the way I had treated her as a younger person.. instead she offered it up in Prayer.. that was how she dealt with problems, prayed harder... bless her..
So it would have been her birthday, but one hundred years or not, I bet she would have refused a party... because as she always said.. she was never going to be old... so she didn't allow herself to get old... she just grew wiser and a little more frail, but kept her independence to the end...
Happy Birthday Mother, I hope you are looking down on us and seeing how much we still love you and Dad..x