Wednesday, August 22, 2012

An English Rose

When she was growing up in Liverpool, England, my mother was considered an English Rose, according to the urban dictionary.
Here are two definitions :
1. A very pretty English girl who tends to wear little or no makeup, has pale skin, rosy cheeks, natural hair and is well-spoken and lady-like.
2. Typically English  girl. Normally, she will have brown hair, pale skin, green eyes and rosy cheeks. She is very beautiful and very rare.
Well, I would have to say that is pretty accurate. 
Having a mother who came from the same town as The Beatles, was a good conversation piece for my siblings and I, when we were kids. We were living in California then, and my brother Glenn, who you all know by now, would round up all the neighborhood kids, come to our back door, go get my mom, and he would say, "tell them...tell them where you're from", and then, "you're never going to believe it". Doesn't that sound just like him?
( I told you he was priming himself for rock n' roll stardom at an early age, didn't I?) 
But the truth is, our mother didn't KNOW The Beatles. I think maybe he thought she did.
Anyway, she was born and raised in Liverpool. My mother went to school there and graduated at age 13. That's how they did it back then. Once in awhile she will tell me stories about her childhood, her sisters and brothers and what her parents were like. Her father nicknamed her "Buzz Quick" because she couldn't stay still. Always going somewhere, doing something, making something, busy, busy. That's her still today. They had a very loving home, respectful and caring. Her Dad was a hardworking, quiet man, but with a wonderful sense of humor. Her mother was sweet, kind and loved to laugh. Out of the five brothers and sisters in their  house, she was closest to and admired her older brother Chuck. During the war, when he'd come home to visit, Chuck would take my mom on motorcycle rides from Liverpool to Scotland to see family. It was a 250 mile ride, on an old scooter, more or less. She would tire, and almost nod off, resting her head on his back, and he would say, " Don't fall asleep, Buzz".
She adored him. Chuck was a high ranking officer in ww2 and was killed in an unfortunate accident involving a heavy metal beam, hitting the back of his neck. That was a terrible loss for my mother.
And about that war. During the bombings that occurred quite frequently, mom's family was forced into the underground shelters. They were forever hiding away from the raids. One day, when the bombings came again, my grandmother said to everyone, that she was tired of going down there. No more! As a result, they stayed inside and hid under the kitchen table, and do you know what happened? The bomb shelter they were suppose to take refuge in was demolished! My grandma's resistance saved her family's life. 
Most of the children were sent to farms in Wales, to live and work with families, where they would be safe. My mother went to stay on a dairy farm.
A few years later, the war ends. My father, a sailor, his ship docked in Liverpool, sweeps my mother off her feet, they get married and he buys her a one way ticket on the giant ship America. First class everything. She danced with all the officers, because my mom was one heck of a jitter bugger! They all wanted to dance with this English Rose!
My dad meets her ship in NYC, her first time in America. They take a road trip cross country, their destination, Aspen, Colorado. Cowboys!
My dad wants to buy mom some red cowboy boots. No way! She didn't want to be a cowgirl.
For awhile, they lived in San Francisco, on Haight Ashbury of all places. Of course, this was before the hippie era stormed in. But still...Haight Ashbury!
My parents lived in a variety of places through the years. My dad had numerous jobs, and my mother was a real trooper, just going along with it, and seeing the world. I guess you could say they were on a long adventure.
Finally settled, raising four rambunctious kids, my mother was an amazing homemaker. She sews, knits like crazy, can fix anything, and she has a knack for finding  a "good deal". I think being a mother would be difficult, but I have such good memories of my childhood, she must have done all the right stuff.
When my brothers and sister and I finally flew the coop, that's when my mom started to really live it up. It was her turn now.
Joining a singing group called The Sweet Adeline's is one of the highlights in my mom's life. For one, she sings like a bird, and I'm not joking.
This group of gals are tight knit and are comrades through and through. They practice and sing, and sing and practice. They travel to competitions. They go to these fabulous places to sing and compete and listen to other groups perform, all the while, sightseeing in old historic cities and towns, going on tours, you name it.
For seventeen years my mother had the time of her life. The Sweet Addy days were some of her fondest memories. Those friendships she had with a special group of women, all having one major thing in common...the love of singing...brought her some unforgettable joy.
These days, my mom is taking it easy. She loves to swim and take walks. She and my dad go to the public library every Friday and bring home bags of books and DVD's. Every day at three o' clock she picks out one of the movies from her library bag and they watch one. They call that time of day their "Chocolates". You know, like Forrest Gump says, " You never know what you're going to get". Once a week they walk the pier scouting out sea lions and otters and check out the activity of the fishermen that just came into port.
In the afternoon, my mom knits. She makes sweaters and slippers for everyone in the family, and then some. In the summer, she knits winter hats and mittens for me. I'm pretty sure she thinks I'm freezing most of the time up here. Lately, she's been creating these gorgeous fingerless gloves that I've been begging her to make. Because she lives in Cali, I don't think she realizes how awesome fingerless gloves are! 
And there you have it. The story of a true English Rose. The dictionary was right on, don't you think? As you can see, she is beautiful...and very rare indeed.

Sent from my iPad


  1. Wow...what a story! Give your mom our love...she is as beautiful now as she was when a little girl! Maybe even more because under that beauty she has a report card showing all the things she did...I like to be that way...the gloves are beautiful, and your brother is too cute (don't tell him of course). Happy Wednesday Prairie Girl!

    1. Oh jeansy. You said it. What one does in their life, their story, is what makes someone beautiful. I love it when you stop in and make so much sense, and for your kindness. Thanks so much. X

  2. That was an amazing post SEEST! I wish I could run out there and meet those two ;(

    1. Why don't you, sissy! Take mon mon and Bon Bon with you too. Maybe grampa whitey will play u guys a tune on the guitar, and she can dance! I found the yellow banoooon yesterday. Sherpa had her eye on it!!!!!

  3. What a beautiful lady,,, loved her curly headed toddler pic!!
    And what a description of her life. I felt an ache for the unfortunate loss of her older brother. War is a horrid thing.
    You will be putting those open mittens to good use. :)

    1. Always love the nice things you say. I might ask my mum to knit you a pair! She will, ya know! And guess what, San? It RAINED last night...for about 3 minutes! Ha!

  4. You inspire me! What a beautiful tribute for your mother! I can feel the love, lynnie :)

  5. I had the pleasure of meeting this English Rose in person a few weeks ago. I was delighted to hear stories about her school days in Liverpool, her first time in America, the cross-country road trip and her singing competitions! We walked out to Morro Rock to see the otters, too. I was a witness to her lightening quick hands, as she knitted a gorgeous scarf right before my very eyes! I just LOVE the toddler picture of her (so that's where you all get your beautiful curls!). The fingerless gloves are fabulous & yes... your brother is cute! xo.