26 July 1959

Aunty Gwen (left) and Mam (right)

On Sunday 26 July 1959, 13 days before my 4th birthday my Mam Jennie was killed in a tragic accident. The details of the day are etched in my memory. I could describe the car they sat us in the back of after the accident. I recall thinking the owners must be posh because they had a box of tissues, unlike us with our real hankies with cartoon characters printed on them . I was appalled at the Police Officer who suggested I play with a baby toy – you know those shape things that you hammer into a base? How old did he imagine I was for goodness sake? They fed us a roast pork dinner and I wasn’t impressed as it was very fatty.
By the time we could come home it was dark and we travelled home in the back of Granddad’s neighbour’s car. It was an old black one and years later I found out it was Benny Graham who drove us back. The police had gone to Grandma and Granddad’s and advised them of the severity of the accident. Benny was the only person with a car so he volunteered to take them.
As he approached Scunthorpe he rang the Police for directions to the hospital and they informed him that Mam had passed. He told me how he went back to the car not knowing what to say to Grandma and Granddad. Fortunately he was spared that task as Granddad touched his arm and said “It’s Ok lad I know”
According to Benny, driving home I looked out of the back window of the car at the stars twinkling in the night sky and declared “My Mam is an Angel dancing through the stars” I don’t recall shedding tears for her – in my mind she was still here but different and over the last 49 years there hasn’t been a day go by that I have not had a little chat with her.

A few days later I was a bridesmaid for Mary our neighbour and I was angry that my Mam wasn’t there to help me get dressed for the big occasion. I knew she was watching though and I took the posy of Peonies to my Grandma.
A few weeks later Uncle Harry and Aunty Nancy took me on holiday with them to Bridlington. We stayed in a caravan and were invaded by earwigs.
That’s me striding out in my little blue shorts. My cousin Carole was having a shy moment bless her.
So all in all today is a bit of a roller coaster one in terms of emotions. 49 years is a long time to be motherless and as I approach my 53rd birthday I still struggle to believe I am technically older than my Mam. I do however believe that the person I have become is evidence that we are still influenced by those who have passed. There is no way that I take after my Dad and I am certain that my Mam has helped and guided me through life, perhaps even more effectively than she could have done had the accident not taken place.
I am proud to be Jennie’s daughter.