Remembering

I’ve wrote, deleted and re-wrote this so many times because, nothing seems to do my Gran any justice.

I always found it strange how people would say when someone dies they suddenly turn in to a saint.

I can now understand this point of view; but I have a much different take on it. It’s not that the person suddenly has done no wrong, it’s that suddenly that wrong doesn’t mean a damn thing in the great scheme of things.

When someone passes, it’s always best to hold on to the good times and experiences because at that point, what use is it to rehash the bad and hold on to a grudge instead?

Gran wasn’t a saint; none of us are. If anyone says they’ve never fucked up, they’re lying. We only grow as human beings by learning from our fuck ups.

I find myself completely letting go of all bad experiences I had with Gran; I let go of a lot of it when we realised pretty early on that something wasn’t right in her head and with her thought processes. Many things make sense; hindsight is a 20/20 bitch.

She lived a very colourful life; tiny details that she told me seem to evade but the bigger details are there.

I always loved listening to her talk about her childhood, teen years, young adult life. Meeting my grandpop and falling in love.

Waaaay before mum was born, Gran thought she was a swan. She was on a boat of some kind in Lincoln and had some…. Substances (she swears it was just wacky backy, but mum and myself are pretty sure it was more than that 😂). Gran stripped down to her knickers and jumped into the river while yelling “I’m a Swan! I’m a Swan!” The mental images will always make me smile.

She lived through WW2. She was a little girl walking through a field with her brother, they had been to get milk and were carrying a churn between them. They were heading back towards the houses and heard a low plane; didn’t even have to look to tell it wasn’t one of ours. Her brother, Gordon, pulled her back into a large stack of hay bales and saved Gran’s life.

Another time in the school playground they heard enemy planes. They had all been taught to drop on to the floor wherever they were if they heard an enemy plane, so they did. Gran landed further forward than her friend, who had her legs shot up.

Aside from the stories she recounted, I have a great many amazing memories with her (and Grandpop). Going to the coast as a child and always having a blue slushy, always going on the galloping horses and “having a race”. Ice cream on the beach. Paddling in the sea. A cone of chips at the end of the day and enough cotton candy to keep us going for days.

I have vivid memories of playing with a cheap sea side plastic golf and croquet set in her back garden. I don’t know if either of us “won”, but I do know we always got an ice cream from the ice cream van; Gino. A 99-er with a flake and lashings of strawberry sauce.

When I was 15/16 ish, she and her then gentleman-friend would take me (and a friend of mine) out to the hospital club and ketton club for drinks and dancing. Looking older than our ages came in very handy.

Gran taught me to play darts; pretty well I may add. Also… Taught me how to play blackjack using dolly mixtures as our betting currency. Thing is, we always ate our winnings.

There are countless other memories; sadly many of them are fuzzy, but I know they’re good memories with laughter and dancing and jokes and a lot of love.

I’m gonna hold onto them tightly and never let them go.

Elsie Brockbank.

24th May 1935 – 03rd August 2017.

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