To My Great-Grandchildren
I would write this on pretty paper for you but I worry that it would not withstand the passing of time. The house moves, the births and deaths that have yet to come.
The year is 2017. I imagine you to be alive and perhaps able to read this around 2100. I doubt that I will be there to see it, or possibly even to meet you.
A lot has changed in the past hundred years, so I imagine your world is very different to mine today. Even in my lifetime so far (a mere 36 years), big achievements have been made. I remember a world without the internet. Our televisions used to be rented, not bought. I remember making calls from telephone boxes and I still on occasion walk to the post office to send a letter. Pagers were a big thing at one stage. When I was in my mid-teens some friends had them. Not mobile ‘phones though, not then. They had been invented. We had one for our family which was terribly exciting. We were allowed to take it on the occasional day trip to use in an emergency. Mostly it was switched off though, and it was many years before we had one each. I memorised my friends’ telephone numbers and dialled them after school. I knew the numbers of my grandparents, too. We even had a rotary dial telephone!
In my youth I learnt to ride my bike in the road and explored the fields behind our house with my sisters. We made dens out of painting sheets among the fruit trees in the back garden and collected apples from the orchard with my father who would carefully store them or peel them. He made a delicious apple crumble. Weekends were often spent working on our bicycles, even if all they needed was a quick clean. I loved my bike. We also went swimming every week. Look up photographs of the Royal Pump Rooms Swimming Pool in Royal Leamington Spa, that’s where we were.
I enjoyed school. My favourite subjects were English and History, although I loved Music and Foreign Languages too. I studied some Latin at University. Try it! It’s fascinating. I was fortunate to make excellent friends at school, and go on some marvellous trips, including one to France when I was around 11. My enthusiasm for education continues even now.
Christmas was a time for family. My mother would make a bean pot (a sort of vegetable crumble) which was adapted from a recipe her mother gave to her. My mother passed it to me when I moved out and into my own home. We’d mark the holiday season with visits to both sets of grandparents, and would catch up with our aunts, uncles and cousins too.
I miss my grandparents dearly. It saddens me when I play with my babies that they did not get to meet, as I suspect I am unlikely to meet you.
This brings me on to asking a favour please. When I play with my children, they are so innocent. Their wide eyes explore their surroundings with wonder. I nurture them in the best way that I can. I cuddle them often, wipe their noses, wash their clothes and cook for them. I shower them with kisses and play gently, letting them take the lead in each new game. You will know them as your wise old grandfathers, but to me, they are my babies. I brought them into the world but I will be long gone when they leave it. Can you look after them for me please? Can you let them feel the love and security of their youth? Take an interest in them as they take an interest in you? Call them, talk to them, write to them? Draw pictures or take photographs? Make sure they’re happy? They may be wise, they may be old, but they are still people, and they were babies once. My babies.
I’ll leave this note for now. I don’t know if I shall write to you again, although there’s so much about our world today that I’d love to tell you.
For now though, yours always, Mama Jo xxx
The Tale of Mummyhood