Happy Birthday, Mum

My Mother was born on the 9th of July, 1924. If she was still alive, she would have been 91 today. But she sadly died in 2012, and didn’t see her 88th birthday. I think of her often of course, but it is always a little more poignant on this date.

She was a Londoner, an ordinary woman from a working-class background, who sought to better her circumstances, and to improve her lot in life. Her teenage years were scarred by the Second World War, and her marriage to my father was not completely happy. But she found her joy from having me, being with her family and friends, and loving her pets. She worked hard all her life,  long past a normal retirement age. Until her mobility was reduced by illness, she could be seen out with her beloved dogs two or three times a day, in the area where she lived.

She managed old age well. She did not complain about loneliness, and found her pleasures in simple things; a dog at her feet, a cat on her lap, a good book to read, or favourite TV show to watch. She was devoted to her extended family, and remained a great friend to me until the day she died, as well as a mother who trusted me to do the right thing, and to live my life well. She worried about the state of the world, supported charities helping African children, and also animal charities here in the UK. She would do anything to help an older neighbour, whether preparing them food and cakes, or getting their shopping for them.

Her own needs were few. She eschewed luxuries, and was happy to eat the same food she had enjoyed for all of her life. As long as her pets were well-cared for, and her family content, then she was happy. She never asked to be taken out, or for gifts, yet was free with her own generosity to anyone in need. She could teach many of us what it means to live a life that involves caring for others, never putting yourself first. She was a good woman, in every sense of that description.

She will not be remembered as others are, by their so-called achievements, or successes. But she did achieve, often against trying circumstances, and she was successful; as a mother, a sister, an aunt, a friend, and a neighbour. She was of her time, and that was a good time.

Happy Birthday, Mum.

Violet Johnson 1924-2012.

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36 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Mum

  1. I read the post from your link but was unable to comment and have now found myself here after searching again. (I still have so much to learn about wordpress) Your Mum does sound like such a beautiful person. I loved the time you mentioned when she found you to wish you ‘good luck.’ It sounds like you did her proud even at her last hurdle. We never take our mums for granted and feel so lucky to have them around still. Mothers day must be particularly hard for you. Sending warm thoughts your way.

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    1. Many thanks for your thoughts. I have four step-children, so Mother’s Day is always something for my wife now. I think of my Mum of course, and how she kept every card I ever sent her.
      I was pleased to read about your nice lunch in Hitchin.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. It seems we’re only remembered for a couple of generations before we fade into oblivion, unless, of, course, we have achieved a certain level of the type of fame that endures. But our genes are passed down to our children, so perhaps something of our ancestors survives.

    Like others here, I was touched by your tribute to your mother. I think she would be very happy that you are sharing your memories of her with the wonderful community that reads your blog.

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    1. Thanks David. I suspect that she would be embarrassed in public, secretly pleased in private.
      As you know, I have no children, so my legacy must be electronic. It would be nice if someone read all this in a hundred years, but I doubt that they will.
      Regards from Norfolk. Pete.

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  3. What a most beautiful and touching post for your beloved Mum… I almost feel as if she and I had met, while reading your heartfelt words. I feel blessed that you’ve shared this part of your family with us.

    Take care and happy blogging to ya, from Laura ~

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  4. What a lovely tribute to your loving mum. I really admire people who go out of their way to remember important events in their lives. If your mum were alive, she must be smiling reading this.

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  5. Lovely tribute to your mum, Pete. ‘Salt of the earth’, I would say…a loving, caring generous person, and as you said, very much of her time (well, that’s what I pick up from your post)

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  6. Happy memories of one of the greatest characters I’ve ever met.

    You are a lucky fella to call her mum!

    Love to all

    Terry

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    1. The ‘ordinary’ is meant to be ironic GP. She lived the sort of life described as ordinary, but it was anything but. She was in the middle of The Blitz, from age 15, right in the heart of London. I can only imagine…
      Many thanks, Pete.

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