Granny Rendell (my dad's mother)

Occasionally, my Dad's mother, Granny Rendell, would visit us. But although she spent the days in our home, she had bed and breakfast at a neighbour’s, as we had no spare beds at No.39. She did, however, leave most of her belongings at our house. One day I saw her camera on the piano, and being nosey, I picked it up to have a closer look. It was a flat black case and a little lever released the lens. Seeing a little winding knob, I turned it and a number appeared in a little window. I turned it again and the next number appeared. And I turned it again. Oh dear the numbers wouldn't reverse! I was in trouble and had to confess. With a new film in that very same camera, Granny took the only photograph I can remember of Mom and Dad and all of us six children together.

Margaret and Mollie.

Granny was tall and strict. We all had to be on our best behaviour when she was with us. After she was widowed, she married again, (to a Mr. Deakin) but this did not prove to be a happy marriage. I never heard what happened to Mr. Deakin. Granny eventually became a Housekeeper to a titled gentleman who lived in a big house in Bexhill-on-Sea in Sussex. My Dad and I went there to visit her once and I clearly remember three things from that visit:

1) While by the sea one day, I saw my Dad roll up his trousers over his knees, take off his shoes and socks, and help to push the lifeboat down the beach and into the sea.

2) When walking across fields early one morning, we picked wild mushrooms and cooked them for our breakfast.

3) I was provided with a trowel and given the task of planting some flowers by the front drive as a reminder to Granny of our visit.

When we returned home from Bexhill, I had to write a thank you letter to Gran, checked by Dad to make sure it was in perfect English and in good legible handwriting. I owe my ability to write letters and my enjoyment in writing them to Gran and to Dad. He wrote to his mother twice a week. I wrote to thank her for anything she sent me, even postcards.

Granny Hill (my mom's mother)

My Mother's mother, Grandma Hill, was a quiet, gentle little lady. When she was widowed at the age of 39 she really gave up living to the full. She had had 14 children, but only five of them lived to maturity. The last baby was born after her husband's death and only lived a few days. Three others died in early infancy from measles and the whooping cough.

When I remember her, Grandma lived with her son in Worcester. When she wanted to come and stay with us, she trusted Dad to fetch her in his van. She sat in the back in a wicker arm chair! She did not like trains or motor cars, but was happy in this unusual mode of transport. She sometimes slept in a bed in the same room as me and I was fascinated with the garters that held her stockings up. She hand-knitted them herself, they were about an inch wide by a yard long, and she wound them round and round just below her knees. She sat in the wicker armchair beside the fire most of the day and had a habit of continually rubbing her knees. Perhaps she had arthritis, but if she did, she never complained. She was very fond of me and I could do no wrong in her eyes. I stood behind her once, making a button whiz round on a piece of string. The button got caught in her hair and she couldn't believe that it was me! Grandma was very particular about her little black bonnet and on weekdays when she went out she wore wide black ribbons on it. On Sundays, broad mauve ribbons replaced the black ones.

My Mom and Dad with 
Christine in April 1940.

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