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Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Mea Culpa... I've Been Waiting For You...


By the time you read this, I'll have started the work of clearing his house, after her family have travelled over it and through it like a biblical plague of starving locusts, I've no doubt.

Such is the path of life, non?... Such is the path of grief, as some of you wise people leaving wise words have had the sense, and I'd guess the experiences yourselves, to remark upon...

I thank you for your wisdom, your helpful words, and your kindnesses shown to me. Bless you.

And yet I sometimes fear that history repeats itself, does it not?

I know there are things there that belonged to him.

There are trinkets and treasures I recall that belonged to my mother.

That belong to me.

That I hope are still there...

I don't know yet what we will do with the old house... The house that nobody has ever lived in since new but my family, because they are still my family. I don't feel up to selling it just now, and it's not really a very healthy sales market at present, but I don't necessarily want to leave it empty and vulnerable - To attack or to crime...

I would like my dad's tools, that he handled and cherished.

He used to fix things for me with those tools.

Things that now remain unmended tell his story...

There's an old hand-drill with a red handle that belonged to my maternal great-grandfather, who might have brought it back from America... Maybe in the Twenties, or before that... I think it's marked 'USA...'

My dad and I found a record of him entering Ellis Island... We really don't know what happened next, but I don't believe we still have any relatives in the US. (Unless you know otherwise, mes bloggy buddies Over The Pond?! Fingers crossed, eh?)

I would like to hold the cheap china unicorn that was one of the last presents that I gave my mother. ...She loved it.

I want their photographs and memories back - Home and Away, black and white pictures and happiness of here and abroad. Me as a baby, held on a varicosity of knees.

Me, the wan podgy toddler, standing feisty and proud, hands on hips, on an upturned boat at the beach in the village where my maternal grandparents lived -- The north sea breeze blowing on, and me with a sharp blonde bob. Some things never change!

There's me as a blushing bride in a romantic knee-length white lace dress that my dad helped me to choose, the week before the wedding; Twenty pound notes pressed frantically into his hands by my mother, impatient for me to,

'Choose something decent, and do not let me down!".

Here, I'm holding on to a white straw boater in July's bitter north-easterly wind - I'd bought that hat with its white streaming ribbons on a break at our friend's in Suffolk the previous spring, long before I'd even found THE dress. ...Well, it was the Eighties, and ever the Fashion Victim, there's me holding THAT short white wedding dress down against my knees and the breezes too!

I'm looking forward to seeing the treasured brief moments of my mother and father as fierce, proud grandparents to Grizz, whom they lovingly called "The Boy"...

My Mutti didn't see Grizz's fifth birthday... She would have loved him to bits. She wanted 'to eat him up for breakfast', she loved him with all of her battered heart...

I'd like their love letters, full of imaginings and Fifties' British and American movies -- Love at long distance while my dad was stationed away from home in the RAF.

These, I know, were secreted away, secured with white ribbon and surreptitiously slipped in amongst their wedding memorabilia and those Welcome Baby, and Baby's 1st Birthday cards that celebrated the arrival of me into their lives - I remember baby pink cards and silver horseshoes and, now-silent, bells in paper and card, all stashed safely away when my mum was 17 and my dad 21.

I had come along to spoil their happiness, do you see, to be the apple of my dad's eye, around twelve years later. ...Conceived in a foreign land that I'll never visit, it's just too dangerous. That was the first time she'd ever flown in a 'plane, of course, a ramshackle one at that...

I'd like to see their photo slides. Men in beige uniform standing to attention, and sometimes relaxing in the scorching hot climate, nervously scanning the dusty ground for scorpions at their feet...

I understand you can have slides made into DVDs these days... I'd like to do that. To resurrect their memories. Their lives.

Young Love.

Love's Young Dream.

As I tippy-tappy here, I don't know if any of this is still there in the house... My childhood home from the age of 8 hasn't received any heat (or probably electricity so I'm taking a torch!) over the coldest, dampest winter we've had in over forty years...

I hope that none of this has been lost to the elements, to foxing and fogging, to lack of heat and to damp... I hope I can save what I'd like to save.

For prosperity. For me. It's all I have left of them...

It feels like it's all I have left of me...

And I don't know what I'll be encountering... But I'm floundering, an adult foundling...

And I feel for their loss as a family... But I'm still holding on to mine.

It's very much my loss...

And I'm not afraid to admit that I'm scared.




Art, as before, by Ann-Julie Aubry - "I've Been Waiting For You" - I want to buy some of those prints, to secure my own artistic legacy for my child, and my future grand-children, perhaps...

8 comments:

Gigi said...

Here's hoping you find everything you are looking for. I only have my family bible. Pictures, momentoes, etc. All gone. My heart hurts for you - for your loss, for all you've gone through and all you still have left to face. Know you will be thought of often!

Mrs Jones said...

I really hope that what you want will still be there but, yes, 'relatives' can be like locusts. I was promised my great-grandmother's diamond engagement ring but by the time we got to the house, my wicked step-grandmother had got her claws onto it. And after my dad died, my wicked stepmother chucked out all the old cinefilm that my mum and dad took in the 1960s. All I got from her was a painting my dad did. On the day he actually died, in the midst of my grief, I did manage to go into their bedroom and take his favourite cufflinks as a memento, as I knew she'd offer nothing. I'm glad I did now. My husband's 95 year old dad is not long for this planet and I want to try and broach this subject with him (husband, not dad) about what items he really wants because his sister is a grasping cow and will pinch the lot if she can. It's a minefield, so good luck, and I hope you're not too disappointed.

slommler said...

I so hope that your cherished memories can be found intact and undamaged. The mere fact that you can remember them now is a blessing for sure.
Hugging you
SueAnn

Bagman and Butler said...

This is one of only a few blogs I've had the chance to check this week. I'm glad I did. I, too, hope for you.

French Fancy said...

I just looked back to see the post I missed so I could move naturally on to the next part.

Oh Fhina - one thing that has come out of this sorry tale is how much of you and your life you have aired here. I've always loved your posts about the latest things you have loved or listened to, but these recent posts have been very special for me.

They have let us into your private world, the world of hurt and sorrow and it has contained some marvellous heart-rending writing.

Please carry on with this private Fhina view - I've loved it.

Now - sorting out the house is not going to be easy. There will be many tears and memories dug up from the recesses, but it is therapy my dear. It will be good for you to be there alone and remember things. Can I also nudge you to settle the affair of your dad's ashes. It will be better for you afterwards, I am sure. I don't mean to be cheeky, but it is like unfinished business.

I do hope the treasures you seek will be there for you. However, her daughter sounds decent enough that even if your own things have been filched, perhaps she would be able to retrieve them for you.

Thinking of you

xx
Julie

Derrick said...

Hi Fhina,

One thing above all else is knowing that all those mementoes are locked in your heart, where they can never be lost. But I hope some of the physical ones are still waiting for you to rediscover.

Moannie said...

It is when I read posts like this, written from the heart; not for recognition of it's literary content, not to pull on heart strings or to manipulate-but the telling of a story, the opening of a heart filled with pain to those of us who understand and truly care,it is then that I know it is possible to love someone you have never met, nor ever will; to stretch out your arms and yearn to soothe. To be able to say 'Jump, darling...we will catch you.

Fab, feisty and fifty... said...

I hope and pray, that something of that which you have lost is there waiting for you...but l know how cruel fate can be....and you must try and prepare for it not to be there...in case...

but l hope the essence and some atmosphere is there for you....l suspect all that you need is within you....and has been there all the time....

like mama says we will catch you if you fall...

luv saz x


email me son to make a time and place...

xxx

Something I wrote earlier...

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