Letters from Yourselves

Let me be the one to kick off - that is what I said some 4 or 5 years ago. The years have rolled on and looking at this again I see it is somewhat out of date.

I have been married twice. My first ended in divorce having had a daughter and son, now 36 and 34. My second marriage was to a widower with 5 sons and a daughter. We married in 1980 and our youngest son is now almost 25. We also have 4 grand-daughters and 3 grand-sons, one of whom lives next door to me with my son and his wife and I look after him two days a week.

This first photograph is my family in 1983. The baby is our youngest son, just 17 months old, sitting on the lap of his eldest brother, aged 20. Who could have known that this would be the only photograph taken of the entire family together, because one year later this fit looking boy died from Cancer at the age of 21 and just 3 weeks after he married. Now the baby is 20 himself.

Spot the twins
My entire family of children
Top l-r: Paul, Rebecca, Joanne, Keith, Simon
Front l-r: Barry, Colin, Darrell & baby Eliot

Although I have worked nearly all of my married life, I have not had a high-powered job, and for a number of years, I was a Courier - the sort of courier that delivers important items, driving all over the country. During this time I called in to visit many people from TP, Miss Allen in Dorset, Carol in Yorkshire, Ginny in Oxford, Val in Surrey, Liz in Hertfordshire, Caroline in Wiltshire with invitations to call in at Warrington, Gloustershire and Kent, which I was sorry not to have managed to make. However, I cut back on work to look after my parents in July 1998 - but my father died in the September leaving me to look after my mother, herself a Tortonian, who died 16 months later aged 90. Since I retired I have actually done the Kent and Warrington visits.

My parents had their own 'letterpress' printing business with my mother setting up all the type by hand and my father, who was a talented artist, drawing any pictures and managing the machinery. When they retired they wanted me to take on the business but not being able to draw myself and having a large family to take care of I was not willing to. However, with the computer age and the family grown up I have now gone into it, although on a much smaller scale. I just use the computer, a digital camera and a Risograph. I published a 72 page booklet a few years ago and had to collate it all then staple them all by hand. I also edit and publish 4 x 24 page newsletters a year for my husband's church.

I became a Student at Southampton City College studying Electronics & Computing. This was to learn how to build, repair and configure computers, not how to use a computer, which I had already taught myself. Engineering and technology were always my main interest - born before women were accepted into this part of the work force, I at last got around to doing it. Technology however moved so fast that having finished a year it was out of date and we were upgraded to a new course for a further year which was purely a Computer Technicians' Course. This was a "pilot course" which I finished and qualified as a technician. I then moved onwards to the next year to become a "professional". This was a follow-on "pilot course" which was to run for a further 2 years, Southampton & Richmond being the only two Colleges in the country to be running them.

However, after two years I finished the course with my son, Darrell, who streaked ahead of me. He is now in charge of the RYA's IT globally and is up to his ears in the Sailing Olympics this year. Why keep a dog a bark yourself, I thought and he now looks after my computers and I just use them for websites and other business.

The following photo was taken 17 years on, Boxing Day 2000. It contains: 1 mother-in-law, 2 husbands (1 ex-), 3 children, 4 step-children with 3 partners (1 married (in 2001), 1 engaged and 1 boyfriend). We were still 1 son, his wife and 3 grandchildren missing from the picture. The daughter with the boyfriend upgraded to engaged Christmas 2001 and then married out in Cyprus in May 2002. The engaged daughter also married in 2002, in the September. It was a very busy year as they had a Celtic Wedding at home in the garden and then they went to Australia for their honeymoon, where his sister and family live.
Since 2003 (previous update): Darrell married Viv (who he met on holiday in Turkey) in the Seychelles (July 2004) and Jim and I went with them, they have since had baby Myles (who I look after twice a week) - Paul married Maria from Brazil
(who he met on the Internet), in February 2005 and they now have baby Julia. Keith and Maria have baby Liam and Joanne and Mike have baby Samuel. All the four babies arrived within 18 months of each other. The three eldest grand-daughters are now 16, 14, 12 years.

Children now grown up plus partners

Now try spotting the twins
Standing l-r: Rebecca, Darrell, Eliot, Rob(married to Rebecca) & Mike (married to Joanne).
Sitting l-r: Keith, John (my ex), Paul, Kath (my mother-in-law) Maria (married to Keith, Jim (my husband), Joanne and Simon.

A further 5 years later - My mother-in-law is still very well, aged 93, Barry is divorced, Paul is divorced, Keith is still married, Joanne is still married and has another son, Luke, Rebecca is still married and has a daughter, Ruby, Darrell is still married and has another son, Blake, Simon is still unmarried and Eliot is living with his partner. Now, with 11 grandchildren we only all get together for Weddings and Funerals!!

These are the three grandchildren I look after.(Summer 2011)

My husband having worked for 30 years in THE Post Office and had his own carpet fitting business "on the side" retired in 1992 but after 7 months went back to work in A Post Office (being a workaholic.) He retired from his own business in 2000 and from the Post Office again in 2001 but took up "Meals on Wheels" from which he retired from in September 2011 at the age of 74. Having been Treasurer for about 7 different charities or organisations of some sort he is now down to 2 although he still audits a lot of books. he keeps me busy typing everything up as he has not moved into the age of computers!

Apart from Computing I am interested in Genealogy and have made a Family Tree through 7 generations which has brought me into contact with second cousins I never knew existed. I hope to travel up to the "bright lights" to look up more about the family in the archives, now that I have a little more time on my hands. ( That's a joke - when do I get any free time?) My other interest was Astrology, which I started to study, but never seemed to find the time (or memory) to see it through so now my interests have to be grandchildren, 3 of which I look after 3/4 days a week, when they are not at school or playschool and even when they are, I have to collect them each afternoon . We have a large garden too look after so I try to get interest there as well but not in the winter!!

That's me - so let me hear from you. Send me something about yourself, that you would like to share and I will put it on this page. Let me know who you are in touch with and let them know about this page.

Forgive the photographs, but if the page was just text you might not notice it!! You will find some photographs on the "Then and Now" page when you get to it, so if you have some, please send them to me. Please send them as jpgs, if possible.

updated 19/1/12

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