Tuesday, 6 May 2014

You can't push the river

It is interesting that I interviewed my mother about her memories, loves and hobbies only last year. Given her recent stroke it's a reminder that we can't always put things off until another day. Another day may not arrive. When I took down notes about her life history she was then eighty eight - and I garnered some rich material.
      I plan to develop my novella 'Coming of Age' and expand the stories of the minor characters. One of them is Vi, born in the nineteen twenties. The central character Eliza Augusta, will remain- it is her history. She gets the married-women's vote, aged thirty, in 1918. The novella follows her life through to 1978 when our first woman prime minister was elected. However there is much back story to be used - my mother's story, for instance, as ARP warden and switchboard operative, model and secretary.
     The character Maud can be developed too. In my story she will go on to become one of the few women bus conductresses and licensee of a chain of pubs. Other interviewees have professional jobs - from the 1950s onwards - and their story can be told. They all revolve the great master butcher - Eliza Augusta  - sister, aunt or great aunt to Vi and other minor characters.

     It is also good to know that my mother's story will not be lost. Tonight she was lying in her hospital bed, she had been sitting and was dressed. She still has the tube feed but her hair was brushed and she looked stronger. Tomorrow, we are told, she can start having real porridge.
     'Mum. You can have real porridge tomorrow. You like that don't you?'
     'Depends how they make it.'
     'Have you had these little puddings and drinks today?', I ask.
     'Don't like them.'

      Thank goodness for real porridge then! Maybe she'll make ninety after all. Maybe she'll gradually be able to eat again. You can't push the river.
       She's had a massive stroke but still knows what she wants and where she wants to go after hospital. But so glad I interviewed her last year - last week it looked as if I might have been too late to say anything to her of real worth.

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