It is seven years now since my mother, Betty, died. I was reflecting on all the changes that she saw in her ninety-nine years of life. Born just over one month before the outbreak of World War One she saw little of her father for four years. Her beloved granny, Chrissie, lived four doors away in the same street and I recall her saying how she was always popping in and out of her granny’s home. As a child she contracted poliomyelitis which affected her ankle for the rest of her life but she still played tennis and lacrosse at school. I always thought that educational trips were a recent addition to the school curriculum, but back in 1932 Mum went on a school cruise around the Mediterranean. I can’t imagine trying to cope with a ship full of teenagers BUT that was then, and things were different. So different that despite Mum meeting Dad on that cruise, they did not marry until he had finished his studies some eight years later. Had they married sooner, she would have immediately lost her teaching job because of the “Marriage Bar”.
It must have been difficult for Mum to abandon her widowed mother and leave war-time England to join Dad in the Sudan, but at least she knew that he only had another five years left of his work contract. Those were the days when the wife was expected to follow the husband but I do not suppose she realized that would mean so much upheaval. The Sudan to Exeter to Leicester to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and finally to California. And she took it all in her stride, making a home for the family wherever they went. Today, 25th June, I have compiled a few photos to mark her birthday.