Wednesday, 16 October 2013

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 7 - My Grandparents

Each week there are prompts which require answering. 

Week 7 - My Grandparents

My grandparents were very important to me as I was fortunate to have a good relationship with all of them. One of my grandfathers is still living and the others died in fairly recent years so what I share on here is the shortened version.

I will begin with my paternal grandparents...
My grandfather was born in Hull, East Yorkshire where he lived with his immediate family. Most of his extended family were only a stones throw away as his ancestors had lived in Hull for many generations. In 1939, World War II broke out so he was evacuated to Lincolnshire with the thousands of other children across the land. He had fond memories of these days and would reminisce regularly. 

During the war Hull was bombed heavily and so his parents chose to move to north Leeds, possibly for work as well as safety, which is when grandad returned to the family. 

Low Mill Methodist Chapel, nr Rawdon -
where my grandmother was born
It was in north Leeds in which my grandmother was born and grew up. She was born in a caretakers house adjoined to a small Methodist chapel. Her family had lived in this area for generations so she knew a lot of people. It was through social gatherings at a Methodist church in this area in which she met my grandfather and married a few years later. 

My grandparents would live in this area of north Leeds until they were quite elderly and moved to be closer the family in North Yorkshire. My grandfather worked past retirement age until his work had to come to an end when they moved away. He was a freelance vacuum and washing machine repairer in latter years but had worked for Hoover as a salesman in his early career.

They were both from a staunch Methodist background but in latter years did not attend chapel. 

As children growing up we lived about 40  miles away so saw them about every 4-6 weeks. My grandmother loved reminiscing about her extended family and would tell lots of interesting stories which I enjoyed listening to. She inspired me to research about these people and I was hooked to researching my family history. 

My paternal grandparents
She was quite a large lady and was very cuddly. She had worked in a cake shop and in a school as a dinner lady. She was quite involved with Guides, especially the washing up badge apparently. I would often help her make tea in the kitchen if we were at her house. 

My grandfather had a nice boxed games compendium which often came out when we visited. I remember playing cards or dominos with him and making a dominoes run around the house. He loved gardening and had a lovely garden with lots of flowers, a small lawn and vegetable patch. He was quite a slight man who was quiet and reserved. He would often take us on a short walk to pick up the paper or to the local chippy.

I often wish I was still able to ask them questions about their background and family, but I have good memories of the time I spent with them.

Now, my maternal grandparents...
My grandfather was born in Leeds and lived in different areas of Leeds all of his life. He came from quite humble beginnings in a small terraced house with his grandparents residing next door. He would talk of the local church bringing round gifts of food and small presents for the children at Christmas. 

Unfortunately, he was just old enough to be called up when the war began and fought in the Normandy landings. He was also stationed in Kenya for some time. He did not particularly enjoy talking about his war years, but it played a role in meeting his wife. 

Holidays with my maternal grandparents
His younger sister was evacuated to a small village in Lincolnshire. After the war she returned to the village in Lincolnshire to marry her childhood sweetheart from her evacuation days. It was at their wedding where my grandfather found his wife, the groom's sister - his sister's new sister-in-law. Within 3 months my grandparents had married and my grandmother reluctantly moved to Leeds for this was where my grandfather had employment and the opportunity to rent out the house in which his parents were just moving out of, next door to his grandparents where he grew up.

My grandmother disagreed with the city dwellings and so they eventually moved out towards the suburbs of north Leeds, to the same town as my paternal grandparents. (Hence, how my parents met!).

My grandfather worked very hard as a building society clerk in the city and made a better way for his own family then he had had as a child. He had to retire early due to deteriorating eye sight, but it allowed my grandparents to spend more time with us as children. We saw them nearly weekly when we were young, stayed with them for holidays and they came on family holidays with us as well. 

I had a very close relationship with them especially my grandad who had all the time in the world to listen to us read, sing with us, play with us and ride our bikes. My grandmother was slightly more stern but we were still close. 

A family gathering with my maternal grandparents
Before I was born I am told they were both quite plump (probably because grandma was an amazing cook!) but they chose to lose weight so I remember them both being quite slight and short. 

They were both born again Christians who were very involved with the baptist church in every area. My grandmother would cook meals and lay out buffets, my grandfather would preach and he also led the church's retirement work in his latter years, in which I was asked to speak at after my travels on my gap year. 

They joined a number of different clubs and societies when they retired, from sewing groups at church to learning German and watercolour painting classes. They led a very social life.

I also wish they were here to ask questions about their past and childhood but again I cannot complain about the amazing relationship I had with both sets of my grandparents growing up and all the ways in which they have inspired me, my interests, hobbies and life. I miss them dearly.

Copyright © 2013 Ruth Hogan

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely post. I chuckled when I read about the washing up badge :)