November: 1913, 1963, 1983, 2013…all significant dates…

Today, the 22nd November 2013 is a significant date for a great many people as it’s the 50th anniversary of the shooting and death of President Kennedy.
I have a few more dates in November that are of particular importance to me.

My lovely Mum in the 1940's I think.
My lovely Mum in the 1940’s I think.

I’ve already celebrated the first date, the 7th, it was my mother’s birthday and this year she would have been 100 years old. Such a shame she didn’t make it, she left us when she was 91, so a good innings. She was a great old lady and a very lively woman until she had a massive stroke when she was 85. Then she was wheelchair bound for several years but she still managed to get the most out of life. The nurses who cared for her in two nursing homes loved her. She was uncomplaining and carried a sense of humour with her everywhere. She died in January 2004 at which time she had been widowed for over 40 years and that brings me to the next date.

My Dad in I remember him.
My Dad in 1963…as I remember him.

The 28th November. In 1963 less than a week after President Kennedy had been shot my dear lovely Dad, or Daddy as I called him, was fatally injured in a car accident on a dark rainy night. He left the house to go out for a drink and a game of snooker with his best mate and he never came back. I was just thirteen years old at the time. I’ve thought about him so often since that day. Hundreds of events have occurred throughout my life and my dad wasn’t there to share any of them. This year it will be 50 years since I said goodbye. I still miss him. Fifty is too young to die just a little older than Kennedy was.

Twenty-seven is also too young to die, but sadly that’s how old my son Tosh (Thomas) was when he left us nearly three years ago (Jan 2011). The 22nd November (today) marks the third anniversary of the last time that I saw him alive, we spent a few days together in the UK with other family and then a few precious hours just the two of us, I didn’t realise at the time how precious those hours would be but I am truly grateful for them now. Lovely memories. The 30th November this year would have been Tosh’s 30th birthday. The three years have gone pretty quickly and it hasn’t all been doom and gloom. There’s been a wedding in the family and a new baby. Time moves us on, relentlessly and every day I can find a moment to celebrate his short life.

Tosh (Thomas Hartley) My love son.
Tosh (Thomas) My lovely son.

I can’t do anything to change any of the things that have happened but I wish I had known my dad better than I did. At thirteen I hadn’t had the chance to get to know him as a person other than my dad. I don’t even know which football team he supported but I’m sure he must have supported one as he was keen on football and he was a very good amateur referee. I know he smoked Senior Service or Players cigarettes without a filter and I remember he couldn’t play the piano very well because our family have joked about it for years. I think he had a pretty good sense of humour, but that is about it! Perhaps my brother and sister can enlighten me further as they are older than me. I’m always reminding them of that; younger sisters are meant to be annoying!

I intend to make as many notes as I can about my life for my children and grandchildren. It’s not a vain thing to do it’s just that I’m sad that I don’t know enough about my parents and grandparents and now it’s too late to find out from any primary sources. All my aunts and uncles are now gone. I don’t want my children and grandchildren to be left wondering.

I'm adding this picture because I love it! I love the clothes, the style, it's a great photo! From the left, my dad, my mum, Uncle George and Auntie Florence (my mum's sister)
I’m adding this picture because I love it! I love the clothes, the style, it’s a great photo! From the left, my dad, my mum, Uncle George and Auntie Florence (my mum’s sister) I have no idea of the date it was taken.
My mum (front) and her three sisters, Florence, Pip, and Vera (from the left). Sadly they've all left us now.
My mum (front) and her three sisters, Florence, Vera, and Pip (from the left). Sadly they’ve all left us now. Vera was the youngest and my mum used to shout ‘Vera!’ at me by mistake when she was cross with me!

14 thoughts on “November: 1913, 1963, 1983, 2013…all significant dates…

  1. a very well written and poignant piece – it will bring back memories for all your readers I would think. By the way when I heard the Kennedy news I was 10 years old and in my great aunt Matilda’s (yep honest!) house celebrating her 65th birthday – she lost her father in the First World War and her husband in the Second! but she was always very cheerful and generous to her many nieces and nephews – I think it was living through the War with all that turmoil, sacrifice and grief that made that generation of ladies something special.

  2. Lovely piece, Nin. Very moving and shows once again the importance of making the most of every moment with family and friends. You are very wise to write down as much as you can about your life. My mother spent a fair portion of her latter years writing her life story and my sister, my nephews and niece and I are so grateful to her for ensuring that we have that document to answer nearly every possible question about our family history.

  3. I remember watching about Kennedy on the television with Dad after I got in from work, I was 18.
    Never thought the next week he would not be there. xx

    1. Thanks Michael, I really appreciate your comment. Do you realise it was two years ago (2011) November 30 that you and Dawn took me to Danny Pizza? Where does the time go? Of course you’re too young to remember the death of Kennedy 🙂

  4. A very touching post. November is a special month for me. I start my birthday celebrations on the 1st and try to carry them through till the 30th. 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment Pecora Nera! I’m surprised you only manage to make it last a month! I’m sure if you tried really hard you could start on 31st October and stretch it right through til Christmas Eve! 🙂

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