Some stories

My friend Welsh Purple Tree has tagged me for another meme. This time, I am supposed to tell you six interesting things about myself. I am not at all sure that you want to hear about my World Champion status as a yodeller, or about my ability to speak Ancient Yemenese, so decided in true Coping with Chaos style to change the rules and tell you six stories from my past instead.

Edited to add- OK, so the first two stories got longer than I thought. I’ll save the other stories for another day! 🙂

 I also don’t do the tagging thing, so play along if you like, but if you don’t, that’s okay too. 🙂

Prepare for randomness.

1. A Story of Manipulation

When we were children, we spent all our holidays in the house in Dunfanaghy. It’s a great house, though fairly basic (which is how we like it!!). When we were children, it belonged to my Mum’s aunt and uncle, though it has since passed to my Mum and now to my Dad. Me and my youngest brother Brian used to share the upstairs back bedroom, whilst my middle brother Marty slept downstairs. Marty and Brian used to fight at the drop of a hat, to the point where I always had to sit in the middle in the back of the car, and the thought of them sharing a bedroom was, I think, enough to bring my parents out in a cold sweat.

ANYHOW- Brian, being the youngest, was always considered the “pure one” (believe me, it’s all changed now… 😀 ) who was always believed without question…so I am going to dump him in it in spectacular style now.

There was this dresser in the bedroom we shared. It is one of the few antiques in the house. I don’t think it’s valuable or anything, but it’s a good, solid piece of furniture. Well, with the house not belonging to my parents at the time, it came as something of a shock to my mother one day to find the names “Susan, Martin, Brian” carved into the side of the aforementioned dresser.

A family pow-wow was called, the kind where the kids sit, squirming and resentful, whilst the parents give a moralistic, more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger lecture and wait for someone to ‘fess up. On the (highly mistaken) assumption that Brian was too little to have correctly spelled all the names, he was released without charge a short time later.

Marty and I were then shut in the room with the dresser until one of us would own up to having committed this heinous crime- with the one small problem that, actually, we were every bit as clueless about it as our parents. Brian went out with his friends and played all afternoon. Marty and I had a furious row, each blaming the other, until we both got grounded for a week.

It should really have occured to my parents that, not only was Brian more than capable of spelling all of our names, but he also was probably the only one young enough and stupid enough to carve his own name on there… 😀

2. A Story of Love

As a teenager, I was very close to my maternal grandparents. They were two of the world’s great eccentrics, and much the better for it. My grandfather was a Church of Ireland minister, my grandmother a school teacher. In their latter years, they lived in a house near us in Belfast, which my grandmother told me meant more to them than any house they’d ever lived in before, because it belonged to them. All their previous homes had been rectories.

By the time I was sixteen, I was completely horse mad, and was competing a lot with my gorgeous pony, Morning. However, she got an injury which was going to mean she’d be out of action for a while, so we decided to breed from her. I was a bit desolate at the thought of not being able to ride for so long, but my grandparents kindly helped my parents to buy Carly, who was four years old at the time and very pretty. I still have her now- though she’s an old girl. She and Morning are retired and spend their days bickering in the field like a pair of old ladies.

My grandfather was very ill by this point- nothing specific, but he was in his mid eighties, and could no longer eat enough to keep well. He had become thin to the point of emaciation, and was very weak.

They were delighted to see Carly and I getting on so well. She was very young and I was very much enjoying schooling her. About a month after we got her, I took her to her first show, and was delighted when we won the working hunter class (the competition wasn’t very stiff, but still!).

My grandfather was pretty much bedbound by this point, but as soon as we got home, my Mum and I rushed around to show him and my grandmother the red rosette which we’d been given for winning.

It meant so much to him- he was absolutely delighted, despite his terribly weakened condition, and he wanted to hear all about it- a jump-by-jump account of the afternoon.

When I got up to leave, I kissed him and he said “you look beautiful”.

It was the last time I saw him. He died a few days later.

A few weeks after his death, I was looking for a pair of gloves in our own house, and was astonished to find an ancient letter, addressed to me in my grandfather’s hand, in a drawer. Pulling it out, I was amazed to find a very long letter inside. The letter had been written when I was only a month or two old, and presumably sent to my mother who had kept it and forgotten about it over the years.

The letter was full of love- an outpouring of his feelings for his first grandchild. He told me that he prayed he could be allowed to live long enough to see my grow to adulthood. He told me how much hope he had for my future and how much he and my grandmother loved me. It was very, very moving, especially so close to his death, and I sat in the kitchen sobbing as I read it.

I have been so fortunate to have been surrounded by so much love all my life.

It’s no wonder I named my son Robert, after the grandfather who meant so much to me.


13 Responses to “Some stories”

  1. November 26, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    Two excellent stories, each in its own way!

    Thanks for sharing a little bit of what makes you “you!”

    More to come, as long as I’m not boring you all to tears… 😀

  2. November 26, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    I loved those stories, especially the one about your letter. Very moving.

    I still find letters and notes from my Mom. I’m so happy she took the time to write them.

    Nothing like a handwritten memory.

    I agree- and yet I hardly ever handwrite anything myself these days! Makes you think!

  3. November 26, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    Amazing stories…both of them. You Grandfather must have been an amazing man. Keep the stories coming.

    I have have one very similar to #1.

    I will write more, I want to do it now but am home with a sick kid!

  4. 4 Skry
    November 26, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    That’s a wonderful story Suzy. I don’t think I ever met any of your grand parents, but then I guess you never met any of mine either. My maternal grandparents both died a long time ago – my mum’s dad before I was born and my mum’s mum 6 months after I was born.

    You were very lucky to not only have met your grandparents but also that you were obviously so close to them as well. I wish I could have met mine, and I would like to think that I would be as close to them as you and your grandparents were to each other.

    I didn’t meet your grandparents…I am surprised you don’t remember my grandmother though, she would have still been alive when you and Briney first became friends!

  5. 5 welshpurpletree
    November 26, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    Lovely stories. The second one made me cry. I’m very lucky to still have all my grandparents alive, and I can’t bear to think of losing them.

    Sorry I made you cry! I am glad your own grandparents are still with you and hope they will be for a long time to come.

  6. 6 Bernadette McPolin
    November 26, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Suzy the story of your grandfather’s letter is so lovely and touching – and what a wonderful memory for you to have.
    We have a photo here of Heather with her great-grandmother, who died before my 2nd daughter Emer, was born.
    The story of ‘carving signatures’ on the furniture is hilarious. Sounds a bit like my two brothers.

    We have a similar pic of Ricky with his great grandmother, who died when he was six months old, and who was overjoyed by him.

  7. 7 Rosalind
    November 26, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    Dearest Suzy,
    The story about your grandfather, my father, is incredible. It brought tears to my eyes. (not for the first time this week!). He was such a generous beautiful person. I loved him very much too.

    By the way to cheer you (and me) up a bit, I’d like to introduce you to Top Table. It is a restaurant agency that gives special offers as well as normal restaurant bookings all over the country, even in little NI. At the moment they have an offer on for Sakura in Botanic Ave, and certainly in the past, they have had an offer for Balloo where I know you like to eat. The URL is http://www.toptable.co.uk/ I am going to use it tomorrow in London where I even get my meal free as I have used it several times in the past and you get reward points.
    Love, The Aunt.

    sorry I made you cry!! If you want me to remove the story, let me know…I will look into the top table thing, thanks! 🙂

  8. 8 Rosalind
    November 26, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    Dear Suzy,
    I cried again over the story about your grandfather, my father. He was a lovely person full of grace and gentleness of spirit. And you were a beautiful child too! He was quite right in that.
    Love, The Aunt

    Sorry again! 😦

  9. 9 Rosalind
    November 26, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    I thought that my response was unsuccessful
    which is why you have two (now three). The machine grizzled at me and told me that I had written the same thing once before. Perhaps I said that you had reduced me to tears?????

    Your posts were successful- sometimes comments can be a little slow to go through.

  10. 10 Leigh
    November 27, 2008 at 1:40 am

    You write so well !! I have just gone from laughing at Brian’s perfect crime to being moved to tears by the lovely tribute to your grandfather. I was lucky enough to enjoy a close relationship with my grandparents, its funny how you never stop missing someone and appreciating who they were. Looking forward to hearing more xx

    I know what you mean…sorry for making you cry though! Looking forward to seeing you and Soph at the weekend! xx

  11. 11 Nichole
    November 27, 2008 at 4:15 am

    Wow, Suzie!! You’re a great story teller! I enjoyed reading both stories! I had to laugh at your brother getting away with carving the names! Did he ever fess up?

    He did fess up, but as he was about 23 when he did so, it didn’t really count any more… 😀

  12. November 27, 2008 at 10:17 am

    oops, you have the ability to make me cry every time. xxxx

    I didn’t mean to make so many people cry!!! The next stories will be funny ones, I promise!

  13. 13 Leigh
    November 27, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    I cried in a nice way !!! No apology necessary, I find that depth of love and fondness very,very moving. You said something in that post that very much resonated with me …”I have been so fortunate to have been surrounded by so much love all my life”, sometimes its nice to reflect on that and appreciate it ,, you couldnt have paid a nicer tribute to that than by your story xxx Also hugely looking forward to seeing you and your very handsome men xxx

    I had such a lovely time at the weekend and haven’t got around to blogging about it yet, but will!!! xxx

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