A month ago I told the tale of how my mother and her friends raised money for needy children when they were very young. Almost as a joke, I also wrote to the Sheffield Star about this, listing the names of the girls involved. The Star published my letter, and last week a cousin from Sheffield sent me a clipping from the paper with a reply received from the daughter of Eileen, one of my mother’s old pals, including an e-mail address. Contact has now been established with Eileen’s daughter. Sadly, the old lady passed away more than 20 years ago, but her daughter assures us that Eileen often talked of her old friend Elsie and she still has relatives living in the old family home.
My mother has been thrilled by this blast from the past, and it has triggered all kinds of anecdotes and reminiscences, some a little muddled, others crystal clear. Some of Eileen’s younger siblings are still alive in their eighties, as well as her children, so the lady I’m now in touch with is busy asking around in the hope of finding out more information.
Also last week, the Black Country Bugle newspaper printed my recollections of our milkman, Owd Rowly and my dialect poem is to follow next week. This prompted an old friend from primary school to e-mail me, with lots of memories from our childhood, including names of people long gone and generally forgotten, all of which added fuel to the fire. Events of fifty or sixty years ago and the characters concerned are suddenly before my eyes as if it were yesterday, and I can’t deny that, loosely speaking, I have joined the ranks of what Shakespeare called “old men in the chimney corner”.
Thank goodness there are still people alive to share my memories. I realise how hard it must be for my mother much of the time, having memories that go back almost a century, and nobody left to share them. It will be great if Eileen’s daughters can help her to relive some more moments she had forgotten, and we’re looking forward to seeing some old photos, too.