Hey guys!! I’ve decided to create a new series on my blog called ‘AG and Family’ which slots more into the lifestyle category and it will explore what family life is like for me. So far, I’ve not really revealed much about my personal life to you all so you probably will only know certain details from my past blog award and Q+A posts. Hopefully, this series will add more of a personal touch to my blog and will assist you in learning more about me and my family whom I love infinite amounts. This particular post is dedicated to my Great Nan who actually turned 100 back in April and I will be sharing some of her best life stories and answers she granted me with when I questioned her. I love my Great Nan so much and I find it so interesting talking to her as her perspective on life is quite different in some ways from mine. As you can imagine, her 100 years of life have been filled with both happiness and sorrow and this blog post only touches the iceberg that is her life as a whole. So in today’s post, I’m going to be introducing my Great Nan to you all.
Just to provide you with some insight, Great Nan was enlightening us all with a story from back in the 1925 strike with her Grandpa who was a baker which is where this post begins …
GREAT NAN (GN): In the 1925 strike, my Grandpa put a loaf of bread on everyone’s doorstep in the area and there was no welfare state, no money going in anywhere and they didn’t earn enough to save anything. A lot of people had died from starvation. But the people in Grandpa’s area all had a loaf of bread every day on their doorstep. When he died years later, I met a man I’d never seen before and he said “If it wasn’t for your grandad, I don’t think I should be alive. That loaf of bread on our doorstep was wonderful. We always had bread and dripping for every meal but it did keep us alive.
GRANNY: Now tell Amelia about the lamp lighter.
GN: The lamp lighter went around the streets, lighting each gas lamp and then he had to come back in the morning to put them all out. And Friday night was our bath night. Nothing happened on a Friday night and everything closed down because it was bath night. The bath came in out of the shed and we had to boil the kettle to fill it. Everyone in the family went in the bath, the clean ones first and the dirty ones last. Then they had to empty it. They couldn’t have carried it out so they must’ve dished it out. I’m not sure really. But we were very fortunate with having a big business to have lots of money and when we went to live with Grandma and Grandpa, they bought the house opposite and had running hot water, a toilet and a bath. All the toilets were half a mile up the garden. When we moved to 83 across the road, before all the toilets were put in, Jean (her older sister) and I had a secret code. If either of us wanted to go to the loo and it was dark we rubbed our nose to say “I want to go to the toilet, will you go with me?”. So we had that secret code to go to the toilet together because it was up the garden and round some trees. Not very nice going on your own in the dark.
GRANNY: What about the man waking you up in the morning? There were no alarm clocks back then.
GN: A man walked around saying “7 O CLOCK!! TIME TO GET UP!!” No one had an alarm clock and they had to be up at 7 to be at work for 8. So he had to walk around shouting. Those were the days.
GRANNY: Now tell her about the telephone.
GN: No telephones back then. We were the first people in the area to have a telephone and people came from a long distance to use it but they daren’t because there was this voice from beyond that they didn’t like (the operator asking what number they wanted to ring). One man had fallen in the bath tub and had broken his hip so I had to ring for the ambulance for him. I always seemed to do all the phoning. We were the first people to have everything: to have the car, and then father’s first car was DAU 328. Helen (my granny) remembers that as well. We had it until Nick (her son) was born.
GRANNY: Yes but that was Frank’s car so my father.
GN: It was bigger than an Austin 7. I don’t know what sort it was. It wasn’t very big, just a little 4 seater.
AMELIA: What’s the best life lesson you could give to someone?
GN: Turn to God for everything. God’s ruled my life from start to finish from being a child. I’ve always prayed about everything and it’s worked out wonderfully.
AMELIA: That’s very good advice.
GN: I’ll tell you about this I didn’t want children (bearing in mind she has 3). When Frank (her husband) said would I marry him, I said no unless we don’t have children, I don’t want any children. He said “Well it’s you I want so I don’t mind about children.” For 3 or 4 years, we’d taken precautions but a voice in the night said to me “I want you to have a baby.” I thought well that’s my imagination. But 9 months later, Helen was born and she’s a real gift from God. Without that … haven’t I told you this before?
MUM: No you haven’t.
GN: I mean if I hadn’t had Helen, I wouldn’t have any of the rest of the family. But she was so easy. This voice said “I want you to have a baby and I’ll be with you right to the end.” I didn’t have a midwife with me in the end and she was rumbling the night before so I went to the home, Storp it was called. Visitors were coming for the other people with the babies so they said “Go and lie on the labour bed.” And I went to lie on the labour bed and the pain started. It wasn’t too bad but someone kept saying “Push. Push. Push.” When they brought me a cup of tea, they said “Good Heavens the head’s through why didn’t you shout us?” I mean there’s someone with me all the way. Helen was actually due on Christmas day really but she didn’t arrive until early January.
MUM: That’s weird because I was due on Christmas day but I came early. How funny!!
GN: Helen’s a daughter of God, she’s wonderful, isn’t she?
ALL: Yes she really is.
GRANNY: You’re bringing me to tears!!
AMELIA: What’s been the biggest change in your life?
GN: I was 100% well until I had polyneuritis. Since then, I was told I’d got to have a very quiet life and that vitamin B12 would keep me awake and alive.
MUM: And it has!! It’s worked.
GN: Yes right to this day. All my nerve ends were dead and I was told I’d got go be careful and not go on long walks or anything energetic. Not go on expensive holidays but to just have a quiet life. I’ve done a lot of little things which I couldn’t have done otherwise like play the piano in Inkberrow. No one else played so all organisations, boy scouts, girl guides, over 60’s and two schools asked me to play for them. I went all over Inkberrow playing the piano and I could do all sorts of things with not being well enough to have a full time job.
AMELIA: What’s been the best part of your life?
GN: Having Helen. (She sounded so choked up when she said this.)
AMELIA: What’s one of the best memories of your life?
GN: I had 66 happy years of marriage with Frank. He never started a row with me. You couldn’t row with Frank. If I blew up or nearly swore at him, he just went quiet and sat still. He never answered back or said anything. He was very easy to live with.
AMELIA: That’s lovely that you found someone who was such a good husband like that.
GN: I’ve been very lucky. I’ve got no rheumatism, no arthritis, no pain anywhere. I’ve never had any pain like that and I’m very lucky. I’ve never had much energy but I’ve never had any pain. I’m also very lucky to have lived to my age.
MUM: I think we could all do with a bit of vitamin B12!!
GN: Yes well I think B12 has managed the pain so that’s good.
AMELIA: What do you think of all the new technology that’s been brought in during your life time?
GN: I think it’s overwhelming and I think there’s so much that the whole lot will blow up and there’ll be no contact with computers or anything, they’re going too far. They’re getting too many extra things and it was much better as it was before. I think there’ll overdo it and go on and on and on inventing things and it’ll all blow up and that will be it. The air must be full of all these currents.
We didn’t actually reach the topic of this in our conversation but I thought I’d mention my favourite story of Great Nan which never fails to cause me to laugh. Back in the days before me or any of my cousins existed, when my mum would go out for meals with her family, Great Nan would collect up all the left over food from my family’s plates and encase it into a napkin. “Oohh I’ll just take this home for Grandad” she’d say, much to the utter curiosity of the other people in the restaurants. When she arrived home again, she’d present all the left overs to Grandad who’d wolf them down and then plea for more with a doeful meow. Before you think she’s absolutely bonkers, I should probably tell you that Grandad was a stray cat who used to come and visit my Great Nan.
I’ve actually learnt a lot just from this conversation with my Great Nan. She has some really interesting stories to tell about her life and Vitamin B12 is the key to her long life and not having any pain plus good genes. Also, I’m aiming to find someone who I can share a happy, prospering marriage with just like my great grandparents had. My Great Nan is a strong, independent women whom really inspires me with the amazing life she built and lived. I hope one day I can have such interesting stories to tell my great grandchildren and set a wonderful example for them like she’s set for me.
Thank you for reading this post!! What do you love most about your family? Let me know in the comments!! There’ll be another post out soon but until then bye for now!!
Amelia Grace a.k.a Amelia in Hull