I am reading my Book Club book 'My Father's Glory and My Mother's Castle' again. It is magical and I want to enjoy it all over again. Each chapter makes me want to recall an episode in my own life - so today's post from me is about Grandpas and Grandmas. Marcel Pagnol in his book speaks of his Grandpa - of his being 'small, broad-shouldered and sturdy with long white locks and a curly beard' - and 'black eyes that glowed like ripe olives' . Can't you just picture him from that description?
My maternal grandma died long before I was born (my parents were in their forties when I was born and to say my birth was a surprise is an understatement)but I remember my maternal Grandpa very well indeed. He lived to a ripe old age. William Everton was a tall, handsome man with a shock of grey hair and a 'fashionable' moustache. He lived with his youngest son in a beautiful house which belonged to his daughter in law ( my uncle married a spinster 'with money') and he really had a grand old time. He always kept a bag of mint imperials in his jacket pocket because he could suck one to disguise the fact that he had been in the pub and 'consumed liquor'. My aunt looked after his money and doled it out in small amounts - just enough each day for him to have a modest drink. Enough for William - all he needed was what he called 'a sneck-lifter' for he could easily be persuaded to sing for the price of another pint. His favourite song was 'The Lincolnshire Poacher' and after a few he could also be persuaded to dance on the table while he sang it. I adored him and his stories - usually about the poaching he had done as a young man and how he had always managed to avoid being caught. We went to tea every other Su nday (delicious teas all home made by Auntie Jessie) - I would go round the garden with Grandpa and on fine evenings we would sit under a huge Bramley apple tree and he would tell his stories. My parents would be stuck inside playing tiddley winks (my aunts favourite game) and finally singing hymns round the piano played by my uncle who never mastered the skill of playing both hands at the same time so the bass always came a split second after the treble.
My paternal grand parents home could not have been more different. My grandfather had woken up one morning to hear his wife pulling up the blind and had asked her why she was doing so when it was still dark - she had replied that the sun was shining and he realised that overnight he had gone blind. He never saw again but lived quite a few years. On the Sunday we didn't go to my 'mint imperial' grandpa, where I could slip my hand in his pocket for a sweet when ever I wanted we went to see Grandpa Smith son. He had been a methodist lay preacher all his life. I had to sit quietly on his knee and read to him from a book 'Childrens' Stories from the Bible' - he checked my reading progress and, as he knew all the stories off by heart I had to read every word. Then he would question me on it -the only thing that kept me going was the delicious tea I knew would be available at the end of the ordeal. My grandmother ruled the household. She had been born in the 1880's and still wore long skirts and blouses - they always seemed to be tan and white striped ones. She had a chatelaine at her waist and was 'in charge'. They had four spinster daughters (we are speaking of twenty years after the first world war - many young women never married after that) and they all gave her their wages (2 tailoresses, 1 milliner and 1 who stayed at home and did all the housework (I adored her). Aunty Pat (yes I was called after her and also after my grandmother who was called Martha - but Patty was a diminutive) had done all the cooking for the tea and it was carefully scrutinised (and criticised by Grandma before we sat down to eat it).
Such a long time ago - but memories last. In fact the older I get the more I remember about those times long ago. I hope you have enjoyed my journey into the far distant past.
What a charming post - I DID enjoy it, very much! I have also ordered the book, and look forward to reading it :)
I must find a copy of that book! Your own delightful memories have awoken so many of my own. Grandparents are very special people but perhaps I am biased and fortunate to have had such loving ones.
Oh, I have, Weaver! Just like the grandpa you could envision from your book, I could envision yours from your own post! What did your spinster aunts do when their mother had moved on and they had no one to hand their wages over to? Did they know how to handle money?
I did enjoy this post, very much! I could almost imagine the "characters". How times have changed, especially in respect to living with one's relatives, generations under one roof. -Jenn
I am so pleased that your book club came up with a decent book choice. What better than one to bring you such joy and pleasure. Better than some of these fancy best-sellers with unconvincing storylines.
So glad that you appear to have taken notice of my request for more tales from the past. A good read, more please.
Debby - they were intelligent women and they had quite good jobs for the times, so I am sure they managed. They continued to live together and then died off one after the other in the space I suppose of about ten years.
Love your stories of the past...there is definitely a book waiting to be written!
Your post made me remember happy memories from my own childhood - and to be grateful for sight, hearing and a good sense of smell. And there are some sausages in my fridge for tea tomorrow!
You are a terrific writer, Pat, and I enjoy your lovely stories of your grandparents. How many changes you have witnessed in your lifetime and it is wonderful to hear about your past. Thanks so much!
Wonderful! Thank you.
I loved your snippet from bygone days! You conjured up a lovely picture of your grandparents and spinster aunts ! Sheila
I hope you will continue writing about your growing up years on that other planet. ;-). Sprinkled with your lovely sense of humor, it's an enjoyable read.
I really enjoyed your story Pat. You make all those characters come to life so vividly. Thank you!
Oh, those childhood visits, some pleasure, some duty. I, too, had a grandmother born around the 1880s, so Victorian manners were expected of all children. She wasn't much fun, but her spinster sister who lived with her, was. We soon learned what we could get away with with which of them! It's good, having lovely memories to look back on.
For anyone who sees this in time - I've just seen that the Masterchef final has been re-scheduled for 8pm tomorrow (Wednesday)on BBC1, and it will then be on iPlayer.
Lovely post. Thank you!
I very much enjoyed hearing about your grandparents today. I have been thinking about mine and how fortunate I was to see them often-usually on a Sunday as well.
What a lovely post.
I missed out on having a Granddad as both mine had passed away before I was born, but I did have a Great Uncle Harold who was as good as a Grandad any day. He had had no children of his own with my Great Aunt Ida and so he doted on me. I went to his caravan most weekend with them both, and my Nana, and loved it. That is what gave me the passion for living in caravans.
You know how much we love your reminiscing posts, Pat!
Your grandfather with the imperial mints must have been quite the character - lovely to have as a Grandpa, but I don't think I would have wanted him for my father-in-law!
Those bible stories your other grandfather made you read... what a way to spend time with his sweet granddaughter! Maybe it was the best way he could think of to show his affection in an appropriate manner.
Thank you for this lovely post. There are no longer any left who were born in the 1880s and 1890s, and soon there'll be no one who remembers them, or can even begin to imagine what their lives were really like. It's like something my dad once said - he once knew a man who remembered someone who had fought in the Napoleonic Wars.
You painted such wonderful portraits of your grandparents, I almost feel as though I knew them myself. I never knew either of my grandfathers, one was killed in a road accident when my dad was only 6, and the other had a heart attack before I was born.
Now Tasker, that last sentence stopped me dead in my tracks. It seems impossible...but there it is, you were linked to someone who had a friend who fought in the Napoleonic Wars. In a similar vein, the last surviving civil war widow died earlier this year, if you can imagine such a thing. https://wgntv.com/news/last-civil-war-widow-dies-after-keeping-marriage-secret-most-of-her-life/#:~:text=Helen%20Jackson%20was%2C%20by%20most,caretaker%20in%20his%20final%20years.
Thank you for your replies. I remembered after I had posted this that my Grandfather used to meet his son Tom on the way to the pub - he was unmarried and a real rogue - they kept well clear of my aunt but she was quite kind to Tom who lived alone - she baked him pies and cakes and took them round in a tin and left them on his doorstep when he was at work. She would never go into his cottage as she considered it needed a good clean (probably did). He eventually married a widow from in the village and then he settled down happily in old age.
I did xx
Absolutely wonderful memories! Thankyou. Would love to read more stories from your childhood, anytime you feel like sharing them.
Grandparents leave us with very fond and heartfelt memories. I enjoyed this post.
What a charming description of your grandparents and your childhood!
Thank you for a lovely post, - it brought my own Grandpas back to me in memory....
I am very happy being a Grandfather to 6 boys. They all know me, and we've had loads of fun together. Sadly I didn't know any of my grandparents, although I did briefly meet one pair when I was very small.
Oh Pat, I always love your stories of the past! You have such special memories of your grandparents. All of your memories should be written or copied from your blog so they can be passed down in the family. These memories are a precious gift for future family members!
What wonderful memories you have. I have loved reading this. X
Lovely memories Pat.
Another one who loved reading this. Your ex-poacher grandfather sounded a real character and so much more fun than your paternal grandfather. You remember them all so clearly- like they were just in another room.
Sadly I knew neither of my maternal grandparents, who died before I was born. My paternal grandfather died when I was two so I don't remember him but he must have been pleased to meet his only grandchild. Dad's mum died in the 1930s, so nearly 20 years before I was born, but his father remarried and I grew up with one gran. I can still remember her telling me off for sitting on a cold wall because it would give me piles!
Like so many of your posts, this was an absolute delight.
I love hearing such lovely memories, thanks for sharing!
I have a copy of that book somewhere I think, will look it out on your recommendation!
Pat, I really enjoyed reading your post. I only remember one grandparent, my Nan who lived with us. She died when I was 21. I knew my husband's grandparents Stan and Nana well, they lived in the village where I grew up. Stan was quite a character, he too was a poacher in his younger days and enjoyed a cider or two or three. I love both family and social history.
Thank you everyone for your comments.
Such an interesting post, I think you could well write your own book about all these family histories.
I have seen a couple of French films that must have been based on your book club choice. They were charming.
Yees share my garden - films have been made of the book. Thanks everyone.
I enjoyed this post very much. My grandparents were far away--my Granny in England, my paternal grandparents either traveling or living in New Orleans or Houston, so I never saw any of them very much. It was absolute delight when Granny came to see us, as she usually stayed for several months, and she was so sweet and loving--a good bit different from our sterner German grandmother.
I had to look up the song about the poacher and found this lively version. I'd like to learn to sing it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9Xn07VVh_U
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