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March of the Internet Nobody, day twenty six: Memories of mum…

There have been a lot of matri-centric activities today; ringing mum this morning to wish her happy mothers’ day, watching Rhonda opening her gift from Audrey (a book of 150 cup cake recipes, silicon cup cake moulds and assorted cake decorations; are you seeing a theme developing here?) and every other post on Facebook has been paying tribute to (UK) mums on their special day.

This inevitably leads me to thoughts of my mother, Ann, who died from a sudden and unexplained brain tumor when I was just nine years old.

It’s amazing how vivid and emotive the past remains; the microscopic electrical pulses and complex interconnected cells which make up our phenomenally powerful storage banks are capable of accessing and replaying sights, sounds and smells from over forty years ago, turning our heads into private Imax theatres, in which we can revisit treasured memories as if they happened only yesterday.

I have many such memories of mum, a woman who I’m sure passed on both her love of life and her relaxed outlook to myself and my sister, she had a mischievous sense of fun and a ready laugh which I can still hear if I close my eyes and think of her.

But the real revelation, the proof that my recall wasn’t of the rose coloured glasses variety, that comes when I look at photos of her from before I even existed.

Dad was a keen amateur photographer and I clearly remember him taking over the bathroom and turning it into a darkroom to develop photos when we were kids, but it wasn’t until my aunt, mum’s sister Jane, gave me a whole load of old family photos, including many that dad had taken of mum, both before and after they were married, that I got a glimpse into the life of the young woman who would eventually bring me into the world. There were also photos from mum and dad’s wedding (some of which were apparently taken by “Home Counties Newspapers”) and a few other professional family portraits that I hadn’t seen before and I thought I’d share some of them with you today.

So here are a selection from that wonderful archive, in memory of Ann and all the other mothers who didn’t see their children grow up to make them proud; starting with a series of contact prints that I’m guessing are from a home photo session, and they perfectly capture the mischievous sense of fun I remember so well. I can just imagine her, trying not to laugh in some of these seriously posed shots.

There are these large portraits, which are two of my favourites.

And a couple I think must have been taken in a local studio.

Then there are the wedding photos, which make me smile every time.

And finally, I came along to spoil the fun.

*****
For Ann.

Many thanks to Jane for preserving the family archive.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on March 26, 2017 in Personal anecdote, Photography

 

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Stream of consciousness Sunday: Mum’s the word…

I’m giving The Accumulator a break this week and using Linda G Hill‘s prompt for SoCS to mark a special day.

Linda’s inspiration for today’s post is;

” “march.” Use it any way you’d like. “

Well, as it happens…

Mum’s the word.

Today, March 26th, is mothers’ day here in the UK and it’s a day to pay tribute to those determined and long suffering women who kept us alive and well before we could do it for ourselves and who are there at the heart of the family whenever we need help and support.

The term “stepmother” should only be used when preceded by “wicked” in pantomime as far as I’m concerned; there should be no distinction between a biological mother and a woman who takes on the responsibility to love and care for another woman’s children, she’s a mother and that’s all there is to it.

My own mother (about whom, more later) sadly died when I was only nine years old, but that tragic loss meant that my sister and I gained a second mum, the one who will be surrounded by the rest of her children and grandchildren today, back in my old Sussex hometown, from where I spoke to her this morning as she prepared to receive her first visitors of the day.

So today’s post is just a quick thank you to the woman who brought up her own kids at the same time as welcoming Kerry and I into her home and has been a pillar of support to the whole family ever since. 

Sue, my mum; travel addict, history enthusiast, expert cook and consummate grandmother, here’s to you, HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY.

With my dad, Martin.

Mmmm, ice cream. With Audrey, doing the “new” grandmother thing…

…and Audrey, mum and me, Beachy Head, Eastbourne, summer 2016.
Happy mothers’ day to all the rest of the mums reading this, I hope you are being thoroughly spoiled.

*****
Coming up, memories of another mother…
Pingback to Linda G Hill.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 26, 2017 in Personal anecdote, Photography

 

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A day for all reasons…

I’m frequently being castigated for my cynical views on the proliferation of the various celebrations that spring from the minds of marketing executives around the world, and it seems that even the implementers of such events were equally put out by the rampant commercialism that became synonymous with their originally laudable creations.

Take today for example.
I’ve noticed on my Facebook feed that a lot of people have been celebrating Mothers’ Day around the world this Sunday.
This, I have to admit, did give me one slight moment of affiliate panic, thinking that I’d missed the first guilt-rip-off of the year. But of course, being English, we have to be bloody different to everyone else and have ours in March.

I took this as a sign that we were probably the ones who came up with the idea of honouring our family matriarchs with their own day, never really having considered that it may have originated elsewhere.

But no, it was an American invention.
I immediately thought; Well that makes sense, another import from the land of commercialism.

Although it seems as if I did a disservice to the woman who began the tradition.

image

Daughter of Invention – Anna Jarvis.

Mothers’ day was initially the idea of West Virginian peace worker Anna Jarvis, who dedicated the day to her late mother in 1908, at a memorial in Grafton.
Her idea was to show appreciation for her mother, to encourage other women to do the same, and to have children write letters of tribute to their mothers. She even gave out free carnations at her mother, Ann’s memorial.

image

image

The Mother’s Day shrine and more recent Mother and Child statue, Grafton, VA.

It seems, however, that it took only a few years for the local florists and candy makers to take commercial advantage of her good intentions.
Indeed, by 1920 Jarvis was so offended by the attempt to hijack her idea for financial gain, she was actually instrumental in trying to get the celebration banned, going so far as to get herself arrested for disturbing the peace by gatecrashing, and protesting at, a confectioners convention in 1925.

Sadly, she died penniless after having spent much of her later life campaigning against what her own innocent idea had become.

A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.
—Anna Jarvis.

Now I’m not saying that I disapprove of the concept of honouring the woman who brought me into the world, or the woman who, after Mum died and my Dad remarried, worked so hard to bring up someone else’s kids as well as her own.

But why should I be forced into doing so on one particular day?

I do, of course, as we are all so conditioned by the media to observe such things that it would seem unreasonably churlish not to do so.

How many more of these days of tribute are we going to get though?

I mean, the beginnings of Father’s Day were equally free from cynical financial motives.

image

          Sonora Smart Dodd.

Another formidable woman, Sonora Smart Dodd, was responsible for the appearance of the paternal equivalent of Jarvis’s memorial, dedicating a day to her father, and to other Civil War veterans in Spokane, WA, in 1910.
Although the holiday was a long time catching on.

When Dodd left for a few years it died out, and it was only when she returned to the area some time later that she convinced local traders that producing male-orientated gifts such as pipes and tobacco would be in their interests – as well as reinvigorating her idea – which finally caught on locally. But it still took until 1966 before president Johnson made it a nationally recognised event.

(Ironically, it appears that the American public initially rejected the idea, as they considered it a cynical attempt by merchants to jump on the bandwagon of Jarvis’s earlier idea)

So what will be the next day that somebody thinks we need to celebrate?
We already have Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, April Fools Day, Groundhog Day, and now we even have National Grandparents Day.

Whatever next, International Son’s Day?

Ah, hang on, I think I might have something there…

 
16 Comments

Posted by on May 12, 2013 in aardvark, Blogging, Etymology

 

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