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Open Features: Family Life: Nine – As Plain As a Pint Pot Handle

Lucy Oates tells of a family tragedy.

To read earlier episodes of Lucy's life story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=lucy+oates

The War seemed to go on for ever, but eventually ended in Europe in May 1945 with great relief to us all and I was able to return to my own work at Kirkburton. I didn't stay long as I had the chance to move to the drapery department at Sheepridge Co-op. This was a bigger shop and offered a better wage.

Thursday was early closing day. I was able to take Hilda to the cinema, which she enjoyed. About a year later the manager of Mirfield Perseverance Society invited me to apply for a job and I got it at a much better wage,

Hilda was now not very well. I rang and asked the doctor to call and see her, and she was told to stay in bed for a few days. That was the beginning of the end for her. She died the following Tuesday. It was a sad day for me and the family, and indeed anyone who had known her. She was now at peace and free from pain.

Her death was announced in the local paper but none of Frank's family came to the funeral, for which we were all grateful. A cousin of Mothers once said of Aunt Nellie “She is good company, but she's a face as plain as a pint pot handle,” and the next thing she said was, “Isn't Hilda like her”.

Hilda had always been good company, and her photo's show she was quite nice looking with it.

I must tell you about my Mother's family. She was the third daughter of Jonas and Sarah Ramsden of Holmfirth, she was born on 16th September 1884 and christened Helenor, but when she started school the teachers made her spell it as Eleanor, so that is the way she spelt it all her life. However, when she was 15 the family suffered a terrible tragedy. They never knew whether their parents died in a suicide pact or whether it was murder and suicide, leaving Hannah aged 20, Eva 18 Mother 15, Luther 12 Willie 10 and Edith 4. Hannah broke off friendship with a young man in order to take care of the younger children so they were always very close to each other, and as Hannah was never very strong, and Eva was a good worker for the chapel, Mother took over the cleaning. Of all the aunties we had,Hannah was always just Auntie to us, I think she took the place of a Grandma we never knew.

Auntie married her old boyfriend in her 50's, Aunt Eva never married. Uncle Luther married Edith Senior, but they had no children, Uncle Willie married Florrie Booth and they just had one daughter Joan about three years younger than myself and I've told about Aunt Edith and Uncle Wilfred who adopted Dorothy and of all my cousins she and I are the closest, even though she now lives in France. She and her husband had lived in Africa and Hong Kong until Jeff retired. Their eldest son Mark lives in Norway with his wife Kirsten and two sons. Andrew the youngest son lives in Dorset with his partner and daughter Maddie. My husband's brother, Raymond, married Doreen Orr in 1966 and they have a daughter Geraldine who is married. Raymond died a few years ago, following a seizure.


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