Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A very different ceremony for a grandparent

 Yesterday's was the anniversary of the demise of perhaps the world's most secretive grandfather. He was my mother's dad, and although I spent a few years of childhood just a room distant, I only ever saw him once, and that very, very briefly, as I mentioned yesterday.
Grandfathers seem to be such favourites with children, and usually vice versa, it seems
incomprehensible, inexplainable, that mine should have lived so apart from we children, although only a door stood between us.
I asked a younger brother - Chris, just two years my junior - what he recalled of the man.
The Rev Canon Christopher Rodgers replied from his home in Southland, New Zealand, where he lives close to his own grandchildren.

A grandmother's birthday

'TODAY (Wednesday), the day after the anniversary of my grandfather's death, my grandchildren celebrate the birthday of their grandmother.
'We travelled an hour to the Northern Southland small public house in the gold fields. Our four grandchildren, the oldest being 17 years and youngest,10 years, all have, still living, all their four grandparents.
'Yet when I have been challenged to reflect on my grandfather's life, I realise that I only can remember one of my two grandfathers. Strange how we take things in the past for granted especially when I can remember so many things about both grandmothers. ...
Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, at SailingToPurgatory.com

Monday, May 21, 2018

A pilgrimage or a wild goose chase

Of course I should have known better than to go on a pilgrimage to salute a long dead grandfather who had managed to live really secretly right next to the family dining room. 
Holed up might be a better term for his residency. His Southampton home overflowed with my
family, the family I was born into, and we three sons, two parents, my grandmother, and an uncle filled the modest space.
We boys shared one room, parents another, our maternal grandmother a further separate room, and the uncle yet another.
That sounds a lot of rooms for a small two-storey home because in addition, of course, was that stately bedroom my grandfather had to himself.

A pride-of-the-family room

His was a sort of pride-of-the-family room, leading as it did into the dining room, the most occupied and busiest part of the house in Bitterne Park, close to the historic Itchen River.
I might have been three, maybe four, when as a special treat for 'being good' I was introduced to the gentleman. He lay in a single bed, surrounded by mountains of books and papers, as you might expect of a dedicated teacher and headmaster.
A head didn't raise from the pillow. There was no movement. An electric heater stood menacingly between us as if it might be a bulldog on watch.
Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, at SailingToPurgatory.com