15 December 2011
My mum. Winifred Swan, was born on 15.12.1925, and sadly died on 15.11.2000. Don't worry, this isn't going to be a gloomy sad post. I did my grieving when she was ill, and now I prefer to remember the nice bits. I couldn't let today go with introducing her.
I believe her father and mother died when she was quite young and was brought up by her mothers brother and his wife. Strangely though, she was only officially adopted by them when she was 18. I knew she was adopted, but the circumstances were never discussed. I've only found bits out through trying to trace the family history. Note to everyone out there - if you're interested in your family history, ask, whilst you can!
Mum married three times. She married a Mr Jones, they had my brother, and divorced, which in the mid 50's would have been a shocker. Again I don't know why, and breaking my own rule above, my brother and I have never talked about it! Then she married my dad, and along I came in 1959. Here's a picture of us under the apple tree in the back garden of my childhood home
Judging by the plants and the tree, I would've been around 3 months old here. She was widowed in 1968 and remarried my stepfather in 1971. Geoff had been a bachelor until 42 and didn't know what hit him - 3 women, me (a stroppy teenager) mum (likely as not menopausal) and gran (a cantankerous old women in her eighties).
She and Geoff did a lot of travelling - Geoff lived and worked for Rolls Royce in China for two years in the late seventies, and mum visited him twice in Sian, Beyjing, and Hong Kong. Their other pleasure was eating! Geoff had trained as a chef during his national service in the RAF and was rather a good cook - if a little old fashioned. He claimed to have cooked for the then Princess Elizabeth.
Here's a picture of mum and I on my wedding day
and on my graduatuion day at Trentham Gardens
She was always very smart - she had a nice line in two piece suits like this one, many of them knitted. When she died, the charity shops hit pay day! She could (and would) talk to anyone. Bus queues, doctors surgeries, shops - she even used to chat to the tramp that lived in Burton Shopping Centre (much to my embarassment)! She could get all your life history and dark secrets out of you without you even noticing. I don't take after her in that respect.
She never got to see us out here in the Czech Republic, which I'm sure she would have loved, and been very proud of what we have achieved out here. She also would have the loved the internet and blogging! I'm sure she would have been my top follower - and yours maybe!
So that's my mum in a nutshell. I just hope I'm half as nice a person as she was! Happy birthday mum - miss you lots!