Where to start……………………
I’ve thought a lot recently about how my Dad influenced me and what I learnt from him.
My earliest memories are of sitting on Dads knee reading my Janet and John books from school – he definitely gave me my love of reading. Until lately Dad always had a book on the go. Later on he was the one trying to get me to learn my tables. Another of my earliest memories is of using my plastic hairdressers kit to style his hair whilst he tried to watch TV. He would always come up at my bedtime and tell me stories that he made up, he had a wonderful imagination. My father always did the decorating himself and I remember him showing me how to gloss the doors correctly.
He and mum belonged to an amateur dramatic club in Romford, called Caritas. I sometimes went with them to rehearsals in the church hall. Dad was the actor, mum made the costumes. Dads mum was also into Am Dram. I went on to specialise in drama at teacher training college.
My brother and father influenced me a lot – for better or worse!
Dad loved watching the wrestling on a Saturday afternoon. Chris and I would have a bucket and a milk bottle of water in each corner of the room. I was always Jackie Palo and Chris was probably Mick Macmanus. When seconds out rang we would wrestle on the floor of the lounge – Chris always won.
I spent many a weekend afternoon under the bonnet of a car with Chris and Dad. He always did his own servicing, when cars were mechanical not computerised.
He grew vegetables in the garden, onions, potatoes, cabbage, beans, lettuce, carrots.
We played cricket in the garden, tennis at the park and had lovwoely holidays in the west country, where he took us fishing! (Tom).
When Chris and Dad started gliding I would go over to the gliding club with them and help retrieving gliders and riding in the old launch truck.
Later in my teenage years, Dad and I clashed. I remember a lot of arguments – he had strong opinions and so did I. Later on after I was married and had Alison, we got on well. I loved the way he was with Alison – playing with her, being silly and making her laugh with his awful jokes.
The last few years have been very difficult for mum and Dad. Moving out of their home that they had made their own since 1976 was a massive upheaval. Neither of them was going to be as happy as they had been there, but Hatherlow House was the next best thing. I have nothing but praise for the management and staff, who treated them with respect and consideration. I know Dad would want me to thank them. After mum died Dad was very lonely, he became less and less able to do things for himself. It was awful having to feed my proud, independent father and it broke my heart seeing him being hoisted every time he needed to move. He told me many times that it was time for him to go. Some wonderful people helped Dad along the way and I know he would want me to thank Jim and Mary who were fabulous neighbours, Lorraine and Oliver who visited Dad regularly and did shopping for him and Paul Hardman who visited Dad and took him communion.
My daughter Alison was close to her Grandpa, ,more so as she helped to look after him towards the end. they had much in common. Both hated school and left as soon as they could, both worked their way up from the bottom. I would like to finish by reading what she wrote about her Grandfather.
Today I had to say goodbye to my fourth, final and favourite grandparent. My grandpa was my hero, a proud and hard working man who always had tales to tell from the war and his RAF days. He was the one that made me laugh, played with me and slyly slipped money into my pocket or my hand when nobody was looking. He made up amazing bedtime stories off the top of his head that would leave me with the best dreams for hours on end. He always greeted me with “nice to see you” and I HAD to reply “to see you nice”. I held his hand tightly through my grandma’s funeral last year and today I held it for the last time…cheerio granpops rest in peace.