Sunday, 4 March 2018

My Special Mothers Day

Hello. Today is Mothers Day in my house. For me it is always on March the 4th, my mothers birthday. Today, in the year 2018, if she was still here, she would have been 100 years old. 
My mother was born in Hamburg on the 4th of March 1918, and named Martha Elizabeth Helen, I don't have many photo's of her before she came to England, these I treasure. I never knew my German grandparents. They were just an ordinary working class family. 
I'm not sure how old she was here, possibly early twenties.

She was married, and divorced, by the time she met my English father. He was in the army stationed in Hamburg in the war. As a single mum in bombed out Hamburg she was left homeless. When I was little I remember her telling me stories of how it was, walking the streets with a little one in a pram. She told me how an English soldier (not my father), gave her some tinned food. She would not take it and threw it back at him. She was a feisty woman. Then she met my father, and came to England. This is the earliest photo I have of her after she arrived.

When I was 18 I left home and got a flat in Blackpool. Mother came to visit, and brought my younger sister.

The three of us in 1967.

A few years later.

I came back home to live, got my HGV licence, borrowed a truck from my employer and decorated it with my friends for a street parade. The theme was, 18 Plus is out of this world.

My mum loved making things and decorating them. She was good with home furnishings and dress making, always on the treadle sewing machine. She entered an Easter bonnet competition with her friend, she won.

Mum was a very thoughtful person, always working out the best solutions to problems. Life had taught her how to survive. One broken marriage, homeless in the war, leaving her son behind with his father in Germany, coming to England when she did not speak a word of English and finding that she was not welcome in many places, a second failed marriage to a man who did not appreciate his resourceful and kind wife, and losing her fifth and last baby at birth.

At 64 she had a heart attack, I was with her at the time. She survived that thanks to the quick response from the doctor and the speed of the ambulance and NHS. Six months later she had another heart attack, my brother was with her at the time, I was away for the weekend. Sadly she did not survive that one. Here she is in hospital after the first one, with her grandchildren. They adored their Little Fat Nanny. A joke in our house, when the other one was tall and skinny. Those little boys are now 41 and 43, and have children of their own.

She was 64 when she died, far too soon. Always in my thoughts.

Today it's raining, so I will get on with some sewing. Thanks for popping in, have a nice Sunday, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

64 comments:

  1. Shay a fabulous story and lovely photos. You certainly inherited your mums tough side, was she an animal lover too. I love family history, it’s really interesting to see where people have got their genes from. I don’t usually post but always read your posts, keep on keeping on as the saying goes. Regards from a snowy and foggy West Yorkshire.

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  2. Must learn to proof read before I post, I noticed the first word was wrong as soon as I pressed publish. No way to retract it and correct it.

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  3. Your mom sounds like a lovely woman. I'm sorry she died so young but she packed a lot of life into her 64 years it seems. I'm sure you miss her but you have inherited some of her wonderful traits. Lovely family photos you have of her and your sister.

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  4. so lovely to hear about your Mum and see your photos. The easter bonnets reminded me of my mum who used to do the same :) thanks for sharing Ilona.

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  5. A beautiful tribute, filled with love.

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  6. An interesting story.

    I'm wondering why she refused the tinned food from a kind English soldier (a German hating the English perhaps?) yet she married an Englishman and came to live in England.

    Rain here at last, hoping it continues long enough to move the snow drifts.
    Becca

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    1. Because British planes bombed her house, wouldn't you feel a bit angry about that if it happened to you. It was a war, Brits and Germans hated each other with equal measure.

      I don't know the circumstances of how my mother and father met. There must have been some kindness there for her to uproot and come to the UK.

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    2. Gosh! That put me in my place! It was a genuine musing, wondering why. Sorry if I touched a nerve, it wasn't intended.

      Becca

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    3. I have removed the PS, I needn't have added that, and I apologize if you think I was having a go at you. I couldn't understand why you asked that question, nobody knows what really happened.

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  7. Oh it is an interesting family story. And great tribute (is it the good word ?). Did you learn german language from your mother ? Have you been in Hamburg ? Sorry if I am too curious, too intrusive ..

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    1. Hi. I learnt a few words of German, and some songs, when I was a little one. My mum would teach me while she worked in the kitchen. I didn't keep up with it. What she should have done was to speak German to us in the home, then we would have been bi lingual. A chance missed.

      I went to Hamburg when I was about 17, took the boat to Hamburg, it's a long way up the River Elbe. My uncle (mum's brother) met me and I stayed a week. I haven't been back since.

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    2. Thank you for getting back to me.

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  8. Dearest Ilona,
    My darling Mum also died in her mid 60’s, as I get older I realise how very young she was, I want to live a long healthy life and do everything in my power to do so, as do you. Thankyou for sharing, I love old photographs they are a peek into a lifetime ago. Fi

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  9. When I lost my mom I was desperate to read how other people had coped. It seems as though losing a parent when you're older though, is the one area of grief that hasn't been explored much. It's as though because it's the natural order of things, it's almost not supposed to hurt, you're just meant to 'get on with it.' I felt so lost without my mom there even though I was in my late 40s. I knew I was lucky to have her for so long, but I still miss her now, 14 years later. And I am very sympathetic to colleagues, friends, who lose a parent, doesn't matter how old they are, or how you are, the loss is still terrible. The one person who knew you from the moment you were born, who could see right inside you (sometimes not always a good thing!), and if you were lucky, the one person who would love you whatever you did (but still tell you if they disapproved!), has gone.

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  10. What a lovely tribute to your Mam and great photos too.You must treasure them and your memories of her.She didnt have it easy and must have been so difficult for her at times,yet she brought up a Daughter to be a kind,loving and thoughtful person....talking about you Ilona!Thank you for sharing this with us,your Mam would be very proud of you,Debi,xx

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  11. A lovely and very interesting post Ilona. My Mum was born in 1927 so was a young girl during WWII. She used to tell me lots of stories about it. They lived in Birmingham which was bombed extensively and she spent most nights of her teenaged years in an Anderson shelter at the bottom of the garden - all her life she was frightened of planes flying overhead which is understandable. We never seem to read very much about what life was like for ordinary Germans during the war, no doubt they underwent many similar hardships to people here. I think they were a very tough generation, certainly my parents didn't expect that much from life, they were just glad to have survived the war and approached the 1950's and 60's with a sense of optimism. Mother's Day is always sad for me as I miss my mother very much, she was killed in an accident. However we were very close and not everyone has that so I am thankful.

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  12. You could write a book Ilona your dear Mum had such an up and down life x We have a German lady living in our village she met and married her English soldier husband in the 50s whilst he was stationed in Germany. She loves England, has two sons and grandchildren, she embraces everything about living here but she still has her German accent. You never know what life will throw at you. Rae x

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  13. ❤️❤️ lovely story!!!

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  14. What an interesting story. Survival in hardship. You are strong like your mother.
    Must comment on your legs in hot pants, amazing. Xx

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  15. What a strong and courageous lady your Mum was. Sending you a massive hug today xx

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  16. Difficult to understand her throwing the food back at a kind English soldier. Coming to England under those circumstances would have been very hard, especially leaving her first born behind. Sorry to hear that she had a failed second marriage. Clearly you loved her very much and I thank you for sharing another glimpse into your life. Especially liked that cheeky photo from 1967.

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  17. Lovely tribute to your lovely mum, you obviously developed her crafty talents.

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  18. Love the photos and the story - your mom went through so much bu she could still laugh and obviously enjoy her life and her children. I especially love the Easter Bonnet!
    My mom's birthday would be March 11th - sadly she died at 48 leaving 5 children behind. I too treasure the photos that I have.

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    1. That is really sad. Did your Dad remarry?

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    2. Yes he did - she is a nice enough person but life was never the same for us kids.

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  19. Your mum sounds like a beautiful strong woman and for some reason this post made me cry I’m not sure why i think because you’re right 64 is so young I’m very lucky I still have my mum she’s 88 this year walks everywhere and fit as a flea with all her marbles I’m very proud of her. Have a great day Ilona

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  20. Really lovely to see your Grandparents’ and your Mother’s pictures and a little bit of her story. What fortitude! Natalie

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  21. What a wonderful tribute to your mum and great photos to illustrate it. She was a very special woman, and you must miss her so. My dad would have been 102 this year (he died a month short of his (64th birthday). Taken too soon.

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  22. Thanks for sharing this - what a wonderful lady, she would be so proud of you!

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  23. A very interesting and emotional story. SueM

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  24. Thank you for this story, Ilona. I think ( if I remember correctly from earlier posts) you stayed in contact with your older, German half brother but that he is now deceased.
    I wonder how many of the marriages between German women and British soldiers just after the War actually worked out well. That could make an interesting study.
    I love the idea of you making Mother's Day today, her Birthday and celebrating her life with this post as well as your special memories.
    JanF

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    1. Hi, I was in contact with my older brother, he has been here, and I have been there. He is still alive but we are no longer in contact, his choice.

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  25. A very happy Mother's Day to you, remembering your dearly loved mother.

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  26. What a very strong woman! She raised another strong woman. What a wonderful story.

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  27. Happy Mothers Day Ilona.You have such lovely photos of your mum & family.I too miss my mum who passed on at 56 years.I now am older than her at 58 which feels a bit strange to me.Twice I've had relatives that I've not seen for a while start crying when we have met,because they say I look so much like her now.She was my best friend x

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  28. What a wonderful remembrance!

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  29. Oh Ilona such beautiful photographs and a lovely story to read. I have traced a lot of ancestry, my own and others who I have helped along the way and every single story and every single photo fascinates me. I love them thankyou so much for sharing your story. Maggie xxx

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  30. We really enjoyed reading about your Mother and the photos were
    so interesting. Thank you for sharing your memories Ilona.
    Wendy (Wales)

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  31. Lovely tribute and so interesting. My grandma was German and I wish she'd passed the language on...Sarah

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  32. Such a lovely post, wishing you all the best, Karen

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  33. She did die quiet young. Thank you for sharing her story and lovely photos.

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  34. What a wonderful tribute Ilona has done for her mother, Martha Elizabeth Helen, I can only say how lovely it is to see such beautiful photos and family stories of our Mother, she was a true loving caring mum as you can imagine and her qualities are shining through in her daughter no One , Ilona, thank you so much XXXX

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  35. A difficult life in many ways, but yes she was clearly a strong woman. Thank you for sharing. I like that you celebrate Mother's Day on your mom's birthday. It seems fitting.

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  36. A beautiful way to honour your mother, to celebrate Mothers Day on her birthday.Thank you for sharing all your lovely memories of her.

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  37. Ilona, I couldn't read this without crying. I am a little younger than you (60) and my mother is still alive, but I know I will have to deal with her death fairly soon.

    Your mother sounds very creative, and you are also. She would have been really proud of you, to see your blog and everything you've accomplished! Deb in Ohio

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  38. What a lovely interesting story about your Mother she sounded such a lovely lady. I share her Birthday too as today I am also 64. Not a great day as isolated and alone here also freezing as oil did not arrive I have had no heating for over a week ( I ordered it three weeks ago) and it has been well below 20 dg here at night; my poor cats have never been so cold. I hope you and furry friends are keeping warm xx

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  39. A beautiful and poignant post Ilona and lovely to read about your Mum and look at the photographs. You are an absolute credit to her and she would have been really proud of everthing you’ve achieved. I’m so sorry you lost her at such a young age. Take care on this special day. Kristel

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  40. I love this post,thank you for sharing
    Yvonne




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  41. It has been interesting to learn more about/your family/your family's background....During those yrs so long ago, there were so many break ups/tragedies/and persistently tough folks who managed one way or another. Who knows why she refused the tins of food. I can think of solid reasons. For example, as a teen/young woman I learned that offers of car rides (I had to do a lot of walking and my muscles were a bit week, so not so easy), sometimes came with "expectations"....(a clutch/a raunchy comment/etc)...I often walked miles instead of accepting. Yet and all, I developed a great knack/understanding which offers were genuine goodness, and accepted many rides. Maybe it was the same with your Mom. She learned early to discern genuine goodness from other. She raised a wonderful daughter (you)(and likely siblings), so...she had people skills for certain.

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  42. Oh, yes, forgot to say, Happy Mother's Day...
    Your Mom would be so proud of you, for remembering her this way, and for inspiring so many readers of your blog. I have loved this blog...Have to think some of her is in it.

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  43. I'm sorry that she died so young but you are a credit to her and share both her resourcefulness and kind nature. Thank you for sharing the story and photographs.

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  44. Such lovely words, thankyou for sharing.

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  45. Thank you for sharing the story about your mum, Ilona. She sounds like a real survivor, a tough cookie. This is probably where you get your toughness from, I always think you're so brave out walking the countryside LOL I love your idea for Mothers Day, it is very special to you to celebrate on your mum's birthday. Peace and love from America.

    Sandy

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  46. That’s a lovely story of your memories - you obviouly loved your mum very much. I can imagine you making those wonderful hats with your crafty talent x

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  47. Ohhh, what a nice tribute to your mother! And I could not help but have a close look at all the fashion of the time in all the photos - so interesting!

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  48. What a wonderful tribute to your mother. How she would love to see your creative projects! Thank you for sharing this.

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  49. Thank you for sharing Ilona, your Mum had a hard life, she was a very strong lady and I can see where you get your strength from. Happy Mothers Day, your fur babies love you. xx

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  50. What an inspiring woman your mum was. Women had to be strong during the war years and I can only imagine the hardships suffered. I lost my mum 9 years ago, she would have been 100 years old last September and I still miss her very much. She obviously taught you to be self sufficient, Ilona, and you've inherited her craft skills. Thank you for sharing your touching story x
    PS Great legs in the float photo!

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  51. Oh wow Ilona that's some story. You must feel so proud of your Mum. It is so kind of you to share your family story and photos they are truly something to be proud of. Lisa W. Tasmania, Australia.

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  52. Hi Ilona! Great blog, I have read for several years now. You are a real inspiration. I am sure your Mum would be very proud of you. Just thinking about the picture of your Gran. Do you know if she had gypsy blood? She very much has that look. My ancestors were gypsies too and she looks like photos I have seen of them. Best wishes K x

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  53. What a wonderful share.

    Your strong mother raised a strong, resilient and fun daughter; she would be proud. I have to admit to laughing out loud at the fun of the photo of your boots. You are right....months of wear in them yet! Watch out in case the tape gets dangerous. I have to admit I've got some boots that split down the back. I made them into slip-ons by trimming them down. I know there are years of wear in them still but I do sometimes wish I had a new coloured pair...I keep searching the recycle shops. Back to the mantra "Beat the system: keep your money." I did my monthly shop today (it cost about what it would have previously cost for a week). I was so delighted I started telling the teller about how I learnt to do that and she now intends to look in! She kept looking at my purchases and saying "You've done really well...it's unbelievable, it's amazing. I spend more than taht in a week." I was in the store for and hour and a half which was well worth it for all the comparison shopping and figuring out that the specials are often more expensive than the things on the shelf.

    By the way, even allowing for a few top ups of fresh veg etc through the month we figured I've save about $400 this month by following your advice. I used to find saving $20 a week difficult: even trying to be really frugal. Your system really works. Thanks so much for the blog. Marigold.

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