Today my email prompt was:
Talk about your parents. How did they meet? How are they a part of your life today?
How do you start to tell the story of your lifetime? For if these two people had not met, I would not be me.
My parents were both living in Manchester at the same time in the early seventies. My Dad was born in Brighton, lived in Bristol and moved to Manchester just before his teenage years. My Mother was born in Manchester and moved between there and Norwich several times during her childhood until she was fifteen and back in Manchester.
She was shy and kept her associations to family (brothers and cousins) and worked in an office; he was a social butterfly working four jobs including prop-master at Manchester opera house.
One day a colleague of my Mother’s asked if she would babysit while his wife performed in a local players group, she agreed. Meanwhile Dad was at his job as a barman near the theatre and was asked by a mate if he could take a look at her leaking window at her house, Dad agreed. Then one early Friday evening Mother walked to her friends house ready to babysit that night when she approached the drive she looked up and saw a young man up a ladder fiddling with the window of her friend’s house. He looked down as she walked up the drive, “Hello” he quipped; “hello” she replied. Inside the house she went and chatted to her friend inside. The young lad finished fiddling with that window and refreshed himself in the kitchen with his mate Marie. He left soon after and the friends went out for their performance.
Not very long afterwards Mother’s friend, Dave, remarked that Marie’s friend liked the look of her, would she be interested in a drink, “I don’t think so”. But Marie and Dave persisted and invited each friend to a drink at a local pub, Mother went along for a drink with Dave and found the young lad there too. After a short chat (and it really was short) he asked her out for a date, “No thank you”, puzzled he asked “why not”, she replied honestly “I don’t like to go out because I have panic attacks and I faint, it’s embarrassing so I’d rather not”. He smiled broadly, “Well that is ok then, I volunteer for St John’s Ambulance, you’ll be safe with me”. Persuaded she agreed.
Like a storm in a tea cup or a whirlwind of emotions, they met once and then twice for dates, he then left for a three week holiday in Scotland with his aunt Maud and she stayed behind. Those three weeks were long, a postcard arrived suggesting another date, when and where. She turned up as suggested and it was like no time had passed at all.
The following week he took her to lunch at a local garden café, he sat across the table nervous, but pushed himself on, “Will you marry me?” Flattered but sensible she talked him out of it, but he continued again but that time he talked her out of it. By the end of that afternoon he asked her one more time (just to be sure I presume!) and she said Yes. So did he!
After six weeks there were engaged, courtship followed for another year – him working his shifts and turning up at 2am after the theatre to see her (but usually fell asleep on her lap), family introductions were made too and at the end of that year they got married and blissfully happy.
A book was run at their reception – how long before divorce? I give them six months, a year but Maud was generous and gave them two years. None of them would realise they’d still be together celebrating forty years later. Still happy (mostly) and still content (practically always).
I am an only child, for good reasons but hard reasons. I grew up in a very loving home and atmosphere. I’ve been supported and encouraged in anything I’ve been through. We’ve argued and fought, but we’ve always made up. Today they are both my best friends. I go to the pub with Dad and socialise frequently with him and mutual friends. Mother remains family social and I make sure she gets treats like Afternoon Teas, Spa breaks and theatre trips. They are both the people I turn to in times of fear, heartache, and joy. Each of us independent from each other, but a team.