Just when you think its never going to happen it finally does and you are never prepared!! Here is the Eulogy I wrote for my mum. May she rest in peace Amen!
A GOOD INNING’S-MY EULOGY
Over the past few weeks I have spoken to lots of people inquiring after mum’s health. When I tell them that she has sadly died aged 93 I invariably get the same response.”Well she certainly had a good inning’s”. I always nod in agreement, it is hard to see a death at the age of 93 as a tragedy so with that in mind what exactly did this “Good innings” entail ?.
Born on the 23rd August 1921 to Alf and Sally Curtis she was the second of two girls. She was swiftly followed by another seven siblings so becoming one of nine. (Well they didn’t have Television back then) She is survived by two sisters Aunties Dolly and Peggy who I am pleased to say are with us today. Life in North London Edmonton during the twenties and thirties was hard.
The struggle back then was not how to afford the latest mobile phone but how to put food on the table and clothes on your back. Granddad Alf did all manner of things to provide for his expanding brood including poaching (Nothing like some rabbit pie) For which he became famous when his life story was immortalised in the book “A Poachers Tale” published in 1960.We heard tales from mum about sleeping four to a bed, second hand shoes that were far too big and cleaning your teeth with soot from the chimney. This tough upbringing made mum very thrifty. She hated waste and would throw nothing away as Glenda and I have discovered when rummaging through the house recently.
When war broke out she worked in a local factory supporting the war effort and one sunny day while at the local swimming pool with her best friend Vera She met the man that was going to be the one and only love of her life, Jim Sutton Our Dad! They married on the 20th December 1941 which was dads 22nd birthday. When he enlisted and was posted to Ireland she went on visits and we often heard her fond memories of those occasions.
When the war was over they moved to Enfield and despite losing their first child under very sad circumstances they went on to have Glenda Graham and Me! Further sadness followed when our younger Brother Garry was born with a heart defect and died within a few days.
Mum had three passions in her life my dad, her children and grandchildren, who are Jez, Jamie Chloe Laura Katie Rory Jack and Millie and her love of singing and writing poetry. When my dad died over twenty years ago we thought she would never survive it but she did with a strength of character that became familiar to us all.
The love for her children knew no bounds but if she disapproved of what we were getting up to or even what we were wearing! she would make her feelings felt.. loud and clear. But one thing you could rely on with mum was that if you turn up on her doorstep in trouble with everything you owned lock stock and barrel she would welcome you in and do what she could to help.
And when you did visit you were never allowed to go home empty handed. There was always a slab of her famous bread pudding (utilising the stale loaves of course) half a pound of anchor butter and sometimes one of her excellent shepherd’s pies. She made a wicked roast dinner and we were often all crammed into the small house for Christmas day.
Her thrifty nature was legend she would keep every carrier bag that entered the house and then there was the old tights..Oh the tights..When worn out she would make them into hundreds of tiny elastic bands and tie absolutely everything up with them. Her granddaughter Millie was particularly afflicted with these. When having a sleepover she would be sent off to school the next morning with a lunch box made up of an empty grape carton with the food inside and the whole thing tied up with a number of these Elastic bands Poor Millie would reach into her school bag and off they would go pinging everywhere…nanny’s old tights! Please see me after if you would like some! We have plenty.
Rory used to sleep over too and reminded me about when he used to go into the bathroom to wash his hands (Yes he did wash) there they would be the wonderful bars of soap Nanny used to create from the leftover bits usually Palmolive and Coal Tar all squiged together and googy in shades of green and yellow. Waste not want not! Was her favourite saying.
Her love of singing came later in life although she had always had a lovely voice. But it was the thing that gave her the most joy. She was never happier than when with her friend Chris on the piano she would entertain as she called them “The old folk” considering she was well into her eighties by then we always found this amusing. She was delighted in 1985 when she won a local Amateur singing competition and was award a trophy at the grand old age of 64. At her 90th Birthday party three years ago she gave us her own rendition of the Adele song “Make you feel my love” which went down a storm. She used to write poetry too and just this year had her poem called “The Reunion” published in an anthology called “Getting Older”. She also loved her clubs that she joined when dad died and really valued the friendships she made there.
She loved any time she spent with her great grandchildren who called her with affection “Big Nanny Alice”. She used to entertain them with little dollies made of cotton wool and cloth that she would produce as if by magic from her handbag. Newspaper would become paper growing trees and who could forget those two little dicky birds sitting on a wall.
Up to the age of 91 she was in good health. A fiercely proud woman she revelled in her ability to take care of herself. So when her health started to decline in early 2013 she found it hard. The death of my Brother Graham in July of the same year was a cruel blow and one that she simply could not recover from despite receiving excellent care from Eagle house Surgery Dr. Marks and Dr Barnes Magnolia Unit and its team and the Michael Bates ward of North Middlesex hospital to whom we give our thanks.
Stalwart until the end she gave me instructions for today and told me to tell the doctors that she wanted to go. When I asked in my innocence “Where do you want to go too mum?” she replied “Go you know.. Pop Off!” I have had enough!”.
So on the 30th of September at about 6.15pm she got her wish. When I asked her great Granddaughter Matilda aged five what she would remember about Big Nanny Alice she replied “she made us dollies out of cotton wall, did magic with her fingers and I hope she will be ok ?
And we all hope that too Matilda.. but wherever she is we know one thing for sure.. she will be making very good use of those ruddy Elastic bands!! I think you will all agree that this was INDEED A very good innings!!!