Early Memories

One of my first memories was of my great grandma on my dad’s side. She lived with my gran and grandad and she used to look after me for a while, when my parents and grandparents were at work, before I started school. She used to always give me Shredded Wheat for my breakfast and I thought she was trying to feed me straw! Every day she would give me Dairylea cheese spread butties for my lunch. No wonder I don’t eat them now, I must have had my fill of them.

Grandad always used to make homemade frozen lollies and they were the best! Some mornings before he went to work he would take me for a walk to the shop for his morning paper and treat me to one of those little chocolate bars that you used to get out of a machine on the wall outside. I wasn’t very close to my grandma, unfortunately, not even when I got older. She was just one of those people who didn’t show their feelings and I sensed this from an early age, however Grandad was great.

Now on my mum’s side of the family I never got to meet my grandad as he died when my mum was a teenager. She has told me lots of lovely things about him which I’ll never forget. My gran on the other hand lived until I was 12 years old, and it was the most devastating thing to happen to me at that time when she passed away.

She lived in a great big Victorian house with lots of rooms. I loved the parlour, it had all the best stuff in there and she didn’t mind me touching or playing with things at all. I remember every time we went, there was always one of my aunties there with her children. The house was never short of visitors

and Gran always used to do a great big pan of potato ash, as we called it, a bit like a hot pot or stew and there was always plenty to go around. I always felt sad when I left her house as I just never wanted to leave.

I used to spend hours exploring her house. Most of the rooms were not really used and just had junk in them but I was fascinated by it all. The cellar was the scariest, though, and many a time we kids used to lock each other in and frighten one another.

Nothing was ever too much trouble for my gran; she had this knack of always making you feel so loved, as though you were the only person in the world. Out of all the people in my life she is the one I miss the most.

Marie from Stoke

© Marie from Stoke 2007

My paternal grandmother died just before my 2nd birthday, so I have no memory of her. I was 12 years old when my grandad died, he had been ill for many years with leukaemia. To us grandchildren he was a lovely gentle man, although both he and Grandma had been very strict with my father and his punishments would probably be called child abuse today.

November 5th will always bring back memories of him as we always had a bonfire party at their home. I can remember getting the wood which he had collected and had stored in his cellar for the fire and all the old fireworks. It was magical. Oh, I can remember that he always carried Fox’s Glacier Mints in his waistcoat pocket, too.

I knew my maternal grandparents for longer. Grandad was adorable with a wicked sense of humour.

Music played a big part in his life, he played piano, pedal organ, concertina and of course, the spoons! His party piece was a song about a bullfighter. I believe he supplemented his wages when my mum was little by appearing at the Sheffield Empire. He tormented us all the time and Grandma used to get cross with him, but we could tell she didn’t mean it. He made me a member of the library and took me every week to change my books. He tried to encourage me to play the piano, but despite 5 years of lessons I still couldn’t do it! I was devastated when he died on Mum’s birthday 1968. I was 15.

Grandma lived another 5 years. I spent a lot of school holidays with her after Grandad died because she had glaucoma and needed somebody to help her with her eyedrops. I got married the year before she died. She adored my husband because he, too, had a wicked sense of humour and would torment her, just like Grandad!