|My Darling Mum holding a cuddly toy from me|
My own Mum has been dead some 18 years this year, and being a Grandma has made me very thoughtful about life, heritage, family etc. The reality is that in maybe 100 years or even less I will be just a few faded photos and maybe the odd spoken about memory - so in this world of growing technology I would like to use this space to put on record what I know about my Mum - Ena Elizabeth Mary Morley (nee Williams, nee Terry) and pay homage to her life so that if relative in years to come fancies having a look at their strange (maybe disjointed) family tree they might find this!
My Mum was born back in 1913, in Selsey in Sussex. Therefore growing up a little girl during the First World War 1914/18 - I'm always hopeful she knew little of it and that her childhood was not blighted by such awful atrocities as were witnessed by many with their men returning completely changed both mentally and physically.
My Mum never, ever, ever used to like talking about her childhood or her younger years - I do know that she was 'In Service' from about the age of 14 to a Jewish family. Consequently she never had a good word to say about Jews, or Catholics (heaven knows why!) or for that matter Religion as a whole.........(I don't know what she'd think about MY return to God!!). One of her more favoured sayings was from that hard working era I'm sure: 'Hard work never killed anyone - but why give it a chance'! (or words to that effect!).
She was a young woman during the second world war, with a failed marriage and a young son - life was I believe very hard for her, and I think this is why she would never, ever discuss the war or much about her younger years with me. She had a Brother who went down with HMS Hood when she was sunk - that's as much as I ever knew!
Working as a BAR MAID (it must be in my blood!) she met my Dad! Ernest Samuel Williams - a Welsh miner (Port Talbot, South Wales) who fought in the war in what was then Ceylon and the D Day landings, but came back to Portsmouth as a Postman - and I was the result!!
A very late unexpected mid life baby........ Christened Elizabeth, I was always told to say that this was my name and it was never to be shortened - sorry Dad, I'm Liz to everyone! Sadly, my Dad passed away when I was 8 and I don't think my Mum ever fully recovered. She became very bitter and angry with life, but made her life through me.
Despite being really quite poor (we had a 2 up 2 down - with a tin bath behind the kitchen door for a weekly bath!) I never went without anything if she could help it. I always had sweets every week from Woolworths, and yes there were school trips abroad later on that she couldn't afford, but my twice yearly treat was to go to a clothes shop where she would buy my summer and winter clothes - even now I can still smell the cottons. What I didn't know then was that the man who called every Friday night was coming round for his little book with money in to pay for them...........! An early Barclay Card maybe???
She insisted we had Butter - never Margarine, and I can always remember the Christmas that the kitchen was filled with feathers from a plucked chicken we were having as a treat for Christmas. I can also remember one of the few times she cried - the Aberfan disaster in Wales - and holding me tightly as she wept for those poor children buried in a slag heap.
Another marriage loomed large to a widower called Jim, whom I almost instantly disliked but learnt to love. This marriage meant we had to move to a rougher part of Portsmouth called Portsea, where once again she continued to work her socks off - this time in a bakery. The treat was the cakes and bread that came home from her shifts, but I never felt she enjoyed her time there.
No more than I enjoyed living there either, remorselessly bullied because of her insistence that I spoke correctly, was polite, worked hard at school and continued to enjoy my love of English and Music. None of that made me a hit with other girls!! However, that insistence paid off when I got employment because of just those characteristics.
My Mum later went back to bar work in a Sailors club, and euphemistically 'liked a drink', a lover of Famous Grouse she would only ever have a double, because a single 'made a fool of your mouth'!! She was highly intolerant of many things and people (see above!) and believed in speaking her mind and 'telling the truth and shaming the devil'(!!)
She instilled in me the virtues of honesty and hard work that have held me in good stead all of my life. There is no doubt that I WAS her life, I could have married royalty but no one would have been good enough for 'her Elizabeth'.
In tough times of my life, she was always there for me with kindly words, more than the odd fiver or so to 'put in your purse my girl' and in her later years as age and ill health took their toll, she softened and became less angry with the world - and looked to me for re-assuring hugs herself. Never ending a visit without the words; 'Love you lots' to each other.
Right up to the end she retained a razor sharp brain - able to do mental arithmetic and loved the programme Countdown, often outdoing contestants. A caustic wit never deserted her and she spoke sharply of living in a home at the end with 'Old People'!! An avid watcher of Snooker (she could name any of them!) and a deep distrust of anyone I was friends with.......!!
She took me to my first ever concert to see the Batchelors: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuHFQ7KZOKA This song remained a favourite of hers, and even now I can't listen without shedding a tear.
Ena Elizabeth Mary was my Mum and I loved her, so for all of you out there on this Mothering Sunday - love your Mum's too, don't just buy flowers or make the special effort today - do it all the time, and always remember to tell her how much you care.
Love you lots Mum xxx