Friday, 5 May 2017

Are You Sitting Comfortably?


" That's Winnie, she's a rescue bulldog!" 
So proclaimed a small boy dressed who was dressed in a blue pullover after he had crossed the road outside the school.
The boy and his younger brother stopped briefly to rub Winnie's nippleline  before being whisked away by a busy mom. The mother said something to him and I heard him say " He told us a story in school"
I remember giving him and others an outline of Winnie's history after being surrounded by kids when picking up the despot's girls one afternoon. They were fascinated and somewhat horrified by the fact she was not allowed to suckle her own puppies, their imaginations sparked by what seemed such a cruel and odd act.
Children love a good story..
Much of Going Gently is storytelling I am aware of that. I have inherited the habit of sharing stories from my mother and Grandmother who were naturally dramatic raconteurs of a good tale. Give them an audience, and off they could go, recounting oral histories of wartime dramas and near miss encounters with the luftwaffa better than anything Ian McKellen could do ever do on stage.
Family Oral histories are handed down through generations, that is until they are petered away by processes of dilution.
We have no children of our own to impart these tales to and the children of my siblings are now removed from the family memories somewhat which are themselves dulling with time.
Sadly so many of our oral histories will go the way of the wind.

If you could choose just one story-one to share and one to keep forever- which one story would you pick?


62 comments:

  1. I have many tale of growing up in Africa as do my parents. Stories of snakes and guns, learning to drive at 12 so could take over a car should the driver be injured or killed, swimming (unintentionally) with snakes and crocodiles. My parents tel of tales of travelling through thick bundu (bush), of pre-modernisation - latrines rather than toilets, having to use an outdoor longdrop with the additional frisson of fear of scorpions lurking under the seat - the list goes on. I have stories of my son and husband dealing with cobras in the garden and snakes in the house. My Dad has been writing his 'memoirs' for years now, he has so many stories. A different time, a different country.

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    1. Kids love toilet, monster, peril stories, yours have all three at least

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  2. Too hard to choose. I have reached the age where I preface stories to my young friends, "when I was your age...." Like trying to explain about LP sound recordings of movies - my favourites were sound of Music and Wizard of Oz - because there were no videos or DVDs and only one TV channel so if you missed a movie when it was released, this was the only option and it was awesome.

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  3. I would like to impart how different my childhood was to the children today whose lives are spent on electronic gadgets. The joy of being out all day if the weather was nice, sometimes getting up to harmless mischief, and the boredom of being indoors if it rained. Which I think did us good...

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  4. Story telling is a great skill and not all writers possess it. God, when I think of the number of books I pick up and throw down in disgust these days because the writer cannot craft a story. Dickens had it as did Kipling. As a child I was a storyteller to the class and could also write them down but I'm buggered if I can think of one to tell you now.

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  5. Couldn't knock it down to one, but my kids have heard them all, according to them. If I try to retell - "Ma, we KNOW." When I'm gone, there will be no one to answer their questions.

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  6. No story to share, just wanted to chime in that when I read the post title I logically assumed you burnt your backside cleaning the toilets again. Glad to hear that's not the case.

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    1. Its been a while since ive done this......it wont stop it ever happenng again

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  7. The story of how my mother's parents broke up in 1931 and following an almighty row, my mother and her younger brother were told to leave the little terraced house and walk four miles to their grandparents' little terraced house in Rawmarsh. There they resumed their childhoods without a mother or father to look after them. They even adopted their grandparents' surname.

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    1. Thats an amazingly moving story, i would have liked to have read more about it

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    2. Lord! What children have to survive at times ...

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    3. My grandma came from Rawmarsh. She and her brothers would have been 16, 11 and 9 in 1931 and they lived in a little terraced house. I wonder if the families knew each other. I have put together for my children a little book of various tales handed down on both sides of the family, so the stories are not forgotten

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  8. Not sure I have one story line but I will tell you this- nothing makes my heart happier than having my grandson ask for specific stories of my childhood that I've told him. I'm pretty sure he believes that the sabor-toothed tiger, if not the dinosaur, co-existed with humans when I was a child. I'm not sure they didn't either.

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  9. My late nan told all my aunts and uncles, then all the cousins about the idea that would make her a fortune. She embroidered it with many details, and famous people were involved (they varied depending on her mood!). This marvellous invention was.... An Automatic Arse-hole Wiper.
    As she had seven kids she must have spent a lot of time bum wiping. It was her regular party piece and received howls of laughter whenever she told it. She was a lovely lady.

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    1. I like the thought of her, she sounds like a riot x

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  10. All of the readers of your blog willingly become your "children" as I remember all your funny and serious tales of life in Wales!I'll have to think about your assignment and post mine later??

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  11. In answer to my question why the holes in road had never been repaired my grandad told me about the night a German bomber flattened the house next door killing the two elderly occupants who were flung out into the street by the explosion. My grandad was the fist on the scene and was struck by the fact that they were still in each others arms. And that's the reason why the holes from the other bombs were left unfilled for many many years.

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    1. My grandfather recounted similar scenes. He was a fireman in liverpool during the blitz

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  12. A gentle tale from Dad. My Grandad delivered meat for his brother the butcher. He used a horse and cart, and travelled over the Severn at Stourport on the bridge. Delivering to Astley, he would often be plied with home made carrot wine at a certain house. Dad said it was a good job that the horse knew it's way home because Grandad would fall asleep on the cart.

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    1. There is a certain sweetness in this one

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  13. So many John ... but it would have to be my wedding story...Its quite long to put here though... Look forward to reading everyones stories........deb

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    1. I wish you would if you have the time

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  14. I re-counted this the other day so it's fresh in my mind. It also reflects a different age. At the end of the 60s when I was 10 years old I used to go to Saturday morning pictures (my children always laugh when I say going to the pictures). Entrance: sixpence. These were the days when we had to stand for the National Anthem before the first film commenced. On one occasion, after the anthem, a boy shouted out "heil Hitler". The manager refused to start the film until the culprit owned up. Eventually a boy did and was told to leave which he did in shame. I can't imagine someone owning up nowadays let alone obeying the request to leave from an adult. (Shame, by the way, is an under-rated emotion in my view).

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    1. Now i would have laughed at the Hitler shout, its my sense of humour! Thanks for this

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  15. I really like the story of How I Met My Husband. But all through my life there are good stories .. living in Hawaii as a child, adjusting to living in North Carolina as a non Southern child , living in San Francisco in the early 70s .. all the travels to distant lands with my husband, life in Argentina .. I am rich with stories.

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    1. Ythere is a book in you my girl

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  16. Perhaps the funniest stories are when I misunderstood something. For example ,having no brothers, when my son was asked to play catcher for his 6 yr. old tee ball baseball team.The other moms and I were discussing who would bring what snacks to practice,the coach came up and mentioned my son would have to have a cup next practice.... I brought in a smurf cup with his name on it to drink juice from.Should have asked my husband!

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    1. Oh ive done things like this .........weekly

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  17. My best story, from back in 1992, is of a 3 mile nighttime hike through the jungle in Eungella National Park in Queensland where we discovered the (new for us) existence of terrestrial leeches. We were there to photograph mushrooms that glow in the dark and found some wonderfully bright specimens. We had to hike with no lights in order to keep our eyes dark-adapted enough to spot the mushrooms. It began to drizzle as we were hiking back out, carrying our big cameras along the trail in the dark. I brushed my hand against my upper thigh and felt a large lump under my jeans. Stopped to investigate with flashlights, and, sure enough, there was something in my jeans. Down came the jeans and into view came an engorged leech the size of my thumb. Scraped it off in a panic and further investigation showed more leeches on both of us inside and outside our clothing. We nearly ran screaming through the jungle to escape, but just did manage to stay on this side of hysteria. Halfway back to the trail head and the car, I realized I had left my camera behind. Back we went into leech-ridden jungle to retrieve it. Forty minutes later at our cabin, we scraped off all the leeches (at least 30 each) and washed ourselves and our clothes in soapy hot water.
    The thin rivulets of blood trickling down our legs due to the anti-coagulant properties of leech saliva made us look like we had been attached by tiny little sword-wielding fairies. We both lived to tell the tale and the photos of the glowing mushrooms are beautiful.

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    1. Oh...............my....................God

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    2. Wow what a tale! I'd love to see those photo's do you have a blog?

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    3. Love this.. it's so real here in Aus. Many a fencing chore was made more of a drama by being feasted on by leaches on our property which bordered State Forest. Often with one hand occupied holding wire or wire tensioners I would grope for the offending leach and bite its bitey bit off!

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  18. My 'share' would inevitably be: The Alzheimer's Years. But, I won't rehash that again.

    On a lighter note.....I think you'd have made a really good primary school teacher John. Did it ever appeal to you as a career?

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    1. Ive never really like children, but since meeting the Randa girls and my nephew leo, i have enjoyed their company more, perhaps ive grown up

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  19. My Great Grand-mother's brother in law Lelliot gassed himself. She caught him with his head in the oven. I was told that apparently lots of people used to kill themselves in this way! He had his wife (my Grandmother's sister)committed to the mad house for refusal to partake in a certain sexual act!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Not the nicest tale! Lol

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    2. I agree! Only one I could think of on the spur of the moment!

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  20. This one belongs to my husband. Visiting his sister at home not long after she gave birth, he noticed an unfamiliar object on the table by the sofa. He placed it over his mouth and nose, and in his best alien voice said,
    'Take me to your leader' - it was a breast pump.
    I'm sure he's had nightmares about this.

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  21. The true story is....
    My single mother abandoned me after
    placing me in the care of a baby sitter.
    My Grandfather was walking by on his way
    home from work that afternoon and
    spied me in the front garden wearing
    only a nappy, playing alone in the rain.
    He picked me up and carried me home
    to his little house.
    After several court appearances,
    Grandpa & Grandma were granted guardianship.
    I was one year old.

    My Grandfather's version of the story.....
    He was in the garden on a sunny day
    and found me under a huge cabbage leaf
    being looked after by fairies.
    I was so adorable, he decided to keep me.

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    1. .......and the prize for the best story so far goes to janet

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    2. The one story that comes to mind is when my GP was about to remove a large cyst from my scalp. She went to get the appropriate kit, and then discovered she had picked up an IUD kit. "I don't think you'll be needing that" she said, and trotted off to get the correct one.

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    3. Janet this is a lovely story.
      I adore your Grandfather.

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    4. Hard to believe, that was
      more than 70 years ago.
      Still makes me smile.
      I adored him as well.

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    5. Janet, you had a darling grandfather.

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    6. I love your story, Janet!

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  22. That question has me stumped. It would take me days, weeks even, to figure that out -- if I even could. Meanwhile, you clearly inherited that gift for storytelling from your ancestors.I haven't read everyone else's stories above, but did read Janet's. What a beautiful story filled with love that resulted from such a sad start.

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  23. My motorbike-crazy boyfriend back in 1971 sold his prized possession to buy me a diamond engagement ring. My own brother told him he's made to trade a bike for a woman. 31 years later, I told Grant he's investment has paid off and bought him his first motorbike - a Harley Davidson -
    as a married man. Fast forward another 16 years and he's owned that Harley, then three BMW touring bikes and another luxury BMW motorbike and finally has traded all for a 20 year-old Harley Davidson again. After 45 years, he still has the first investment as well: a loyal and hardworking wife !

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  24. A story of the love and kindness of the family that lived across the street.

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    1. I want to hear more about this one

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  25. Christmas 1970. For a changed we spent it over with my Welsh grandparents, rather than them come to us. My cousins and I were tucked up in bed (how 6 adults & 3 children fitted into one two bedroom house I don't know). Late at night, there was a thumping and stamping sound coming from the loft. Turned out my granddad had persuaded my dad & uncle to put on wellies and go into the loft with him to stomp about, pretending to be Santa & his reindeer for the three of us.

    Funnily enough, he used to tell stories of his childhood. Of when his father had a farm, and had a horse called Nansi, who they could hitch up to a cart, stick a list on the seat, and send her off to the shops on her own. It broke his heart when his dad later sold Nansi for a something bigger, a one eyed horse called Nelson.

    Now, having researched my family tree, I know that in 1911, the family were living in a mid terrace house by the river in Pontypridd, and my great grandfather was dead by 1924. So the farm and the horses only happened over the matter of a few years. But it clearly meant the world to him, as most of our family holidays were at farms rather than the seaside, and most days the two of us would go off on nature walks or to look at the farm animals.

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    1. Underlines the magic of childhood eh?

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  26. It's my father's story. He wanted to follow his father to sea as a trawlerman. Granda was determined his only son would do better. So in the early 50s he took my Father to sea. In the winter, up to Murmansk. My Father told us this in the year before he died. He remembered the ice, the Stalinist soldiers on the dock while their ship was resupplied.

    Killed his dream of the sea. He was a talented artist my Dad and should have went to Art School. But Scot's practicality won out. He was apprenticed to a painter and decorator.

    He made a good living at it and eventually had his own 16 foot boat and would Salmon fish off of Vancouver.

    I remember my Grandad as a kind but gruff appearing man. When we left Scotland in the 60s, he made a special trip to the station to hug my Father (Granda was supposed to be at work)and kiss us grandkids good bye. He then slipped a pound note into Dad's hand "just in case". My Dad had that pound note in his wallet when he died 36 years later with the inscription "given to me by my Dad 1966".

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    1. And now you've made me cry!

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    2. Yes the writing on the pound note made me tear up

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    3. What a beautiful father/son relationship. This story made me tear up.

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  27. I think mine would be the story of my grandfather that I blogged about - he was a coal miner and was part of the crew that set the explosives to blast the face of the coal seam. One day the charge blew before it was supposed to and he was thrown backwards by the force of the blast. He landed between huge rocks with a third balanced on top of the two. He escaped unharmed. The twist to the story was that he was quite a small, thin man, and the space between those two boulders was just big enough for a small, thin man.

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    1. Kismet, fate, divine intervention ?

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    2. Just luck.

      He always called it his sweepstakes luck, and he reasoned there was no point in buying a lottery ticket because he had used up his luck that day.

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