Writing

My roots stand within 2 World Wars. War 1- when my Grandmother gave birth in 1918 and died a day later, and my own birth in 1944, to a Motherless Mother. The first war began generations of a family stained by those dreadful Wars.. We are still fighting those Wars. The faces of men women and children, looking out at those of us who survived, with haunted eyes. I weep.

  

My Grandfather with his Billy Can. He marched down Rememberance Hill in Folkestone, down to the ships and over to War. I thank my niece Sacha for these photos. Sent many years later after the death of my Mother in New Zealand. Sacha came over to London when she was 16/17 and I found some of my loose ends and a much loved Niece.

The Singers Tale

From CD Mother I thank Ian Shaw for making me record this song. A catharsis for a life of not knowng my Mother and never meeting my Father. Breaking the chain of loss of a Mother with my own beloved children.

Roots & homes 1

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Ancestors and Roots.

My Grandfather Percy. My Grandmother Cecile: I didn’t meet her:

She died aged 20 in 1918 and is buried in Ash KentIMG_0714 

Below The cottage in Ash my Mother was born in and her Mother died in a day later 1918 –  The cottage has been now rebuilt.

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Percival Brimblecombe and the cottage in 1917

Extract from The Singers Tale

War Time London. Bombs, Songs and a Baby.  ‘Oh What a beautiful Morning’   London SE13 in 1944 It was a Friday. Good Friday and it was not a beautiful morning, and it would not be a beautiful day, and there was an absence of bright golden meadows and sunshine goodness in the world. A World at War and people danced whenever they could.

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My Beloved Niece SachaOCCM4106.jpg and I found her Grave the year I moved to Folkestone 2010

We took wild Flowers from my Garden.

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The Cottage in 2010

An extract from The Singers Tale 

ROOTS.

A Bridge looking over my shoulder – present and past

Carefully pushing away the ancient cobweb pictures of the past, brushing them into the dusty files at the back of my head. I must not break the threads. The Singer is easier to find, she is still singing. Sensible Ma Sadie is making the beds, then she will wash the breakfast things and begin the day with Auntie BBC as her constant companion. 

 Linoleum Stairs and Gaslights 

Playing out, bomb sites and table manners and the outside world

 Her family?  She was not plucked from a Gooseberry Bush or found fallen from a London Plane Tree. She had a Grandfather, a Devonshire man called Percival Brimblecombe, the son of a Grocer from Plymouth who was a Plymouth Brethren, a tyrannical and brutal father and he beat his son. Percy had been apprenticed as a shipwright in the Royal Naval Dockyards in Devonport. Percy had no choice in the matter. A clever young man was he, taken under the Boss’s wing, so eventually on to Durham University on a scholarship of £50 a year to study naval architecture in Newcastle and eventually to the firm that built the Titanic at the Harland and Wolf Shipyard in Belfast. He was out in the world and he would never return to his childhood home. The day the Titanic was launched he, along with thousands of others, was ill with the flu. The ship sailed without him. He survived, the man that took his place did not. Without that flu epidemic, this Singer’s Tale would not be sung. The children I gave birth to would not have been born. Turn right or left one day and your path can be changed forever.

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                London. Kent roots.  

In 1918, before I was born! my Grand Mother, Cecile, died. She lived in the Village of Ash in Kent, dying a day after giving birth to my Mother – named Cecile in her memory. Born during the Great War.

I was born in Lewisham Hospital SE13 – in another War, World War 2 As soon as possible, I was over the River Thames, to bedsits, shared flats, sofas and floors, ending up in Notting Hill Gate. In the late 1960s into the 70s, it was known by locals as ‘The Grove.’ The areas between down the hills of Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Grove. The first place that felt like home.

Reading and books -gifts.

‘I learned to read in the years between 1948 and  1950. I don’t remember the learning or the teacher. I have often wished that I could say ‘Thank you.’ That reading saved my life, my sanity, my bacon, my everything.

Then there was the accidental discovery in a Pub in Hastings in 1964 that I could sing. Well, singing is a big word, hollering more like. But hey, I managed to raise my two children with that singing and the reading together with the radio, were to be my university. 

When I was young, really young, 13 or 14 or so, and into my 20’s, I began tolie about who I was and where I came from. Once, sitting on the steps underneath Eros in Piccadilly Circus, it was said if you sat there long enough, someone you knew would stroll by- they never did.

Anyway, I digress, I sometimes pretended to be American. It was all the Rage in the 1950s into the 1960s to be American, Elvis, Hollywood, Doris Day And Rock Hudson, Blue Jeans and Rock ‘n Roll and R & B & big long flashy Cars. Pontiac, Cadillac, Mercury and Dodge and Studebaker and the prize, a Chevrolet Bel Air.

Then, of course, I was chatted up by a man who was American. Oh dear. And when working as a mothers help in a village outside Cambridge, I pretended to be French – until I was questioned by a Posh boy in a coffee bar, a student who had been on Holidays there, maybe to the Bordeaux, Bretagne, Burgundy and the Franche-Comte.

Looking back, why mess with the truth Who gives a shit?

I didn’t know it at the time, but I didn’t want to be me.

 Extract from The Singers Tale

War Time London. Bombs, Songs and a Baby.  ‘Oh What a beautiful Morning’   London SE13 in 1944 It was a Friday. Good Friday and it was not a beautiful morning, and it would not be a beautiful day, and there was an absence of bright golden meadows and sunshine goodness in the world. A World at War and people danced whenever they could.

 My little family

2 comments

  1. Lovely view over your memories. Sadly. I don’t have anything like this as my Mum was a Foundling and my Dad’s family seemed to disconnect from theirs! x

    1. Know what you mean. I received these pics in my 40s from my Niece in New Zealand after the death of my Mother… and although I didn’t get to understand or know her, I didn’t ever meet my Father .. but you are so right, I do finally have some pics and a sense of history. I met my half-sisters, who are also estranged from each other and live on different continents New Zealand and the USA, it was not to be…Too much bad history & memories, sending hugs xxxx

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