Thursday, 13 February 2014

GROWING UP IN THE SHADOW OF THE CATHEDRAL
Way back when in the mists of time a little girl with red hair in two scraggly plats moved home.
She used to live above the shops with her Mummy, Daddy and baby Brother.
Then we moved, every thing changed.
We moved in to the shadow of the Cathedral.



It was exciting, the new house was huge in comparison to the flat, There was space for us to have our own rooms, the garden was enormous and stretched on for ever.
And there were children. Lots and lots of children every where.
The road was a cul de sac on a steep hill with a little traffic island at the top of it. The road belonged to the children.
The children, the ice cream van and occasionally the Corona man.
Adults were tolerated in the road, however adults were not tolerated on the island, that was ours and only ours.
Then one day something bad happened. School. It was big and scary and full of children who seemed to know where to go and what to do. Best thing to do was hide under a desk.
The next day we all had to go back but it was ok because there was  little girl with dark dark hair in unruly bunches and deep brown eyes.
They took each others hands and skipped off to play witches under the trees.
Janet and Jane.
Janet had big brothers her house was full of noise and music and animals. 



Her garden was full of apples, boys, animals and THE SHED.
The shed was a mythical place, no child could cross its threshold.
We could peek in through a grubby window but if we were spotted we were shooed off.
Jim did important things in his shed.
We watched in awe as model aeroplanes came to life in front of us, engines were reassembled and fuselages were painted.
We could look, but not too hard. Even the clumsy looking of a small child may wreak havoc upon the delicate workings of Jim's model aeroplanes.



The path from number 7 down the hill and round the corner into the crescent to number 99 was well trodden.





All the time on the hill above us the red bricks of the Cathedral loomed.
None of us were particularly religious and yet the Cathedral was a constant presence in our lives.
When we were bored our Mum would often trudge us up the hill to the top and spend an hour or so exploring its chapels and grounds.



The scout hut where we went to discos was just at the bottom of the hill below it. The University where we spent countless summers playing in the ponds was right next to it. The Cathedral was just there, making its presence felt and keeping an eye on what we were up to.



Many many years later after we had all moved many times, grown up and had children of our own two things happened a post card came to light hidden in an old trunk in my mother's attic. 



Sent from Hastings, where I now live, by Janet to me. 
The boating pond is still there, the model railway is still there. 



Many things in life change but when I look at this picture of the two of us as teenagers I see in our faces exactly the people we will become.
The other was that Janet's Nana Joan passed away. I have written about Joan before its all here if you want to read it.
Somehow I ended up with all of Joan's old crafting fabrics and supplies.
Every thing I used in this piece, with the exception of the threads and a small piece of green gingham from our old school uniforms came from Joan's stash.



The hankie I used as a base for the embroidery was from a small pile of them she had kept in and amongst her fabrics. It was worn thin and frayed round he edges. It had a dark mark on it that had never washed away. I like to think it was from dabbing the grazed knees of her grandchildren.



I am hoping now I have stitched all my memories of this time, such a long time, though in reality only 6 years of my life, I will never forget how it felt to grow up in a place where the sun always shone and it was always hot and when it wasn't hot it was snowing.
A place where we all wore hand made party dresses and had scabby knees. 
A time of skateboards and skipping ropes.
A time when we took ferrets for walks on leads while singing along to the sound track of Grease and no one stopped to stare, or may be they did and we just didn't notice.
A happy time.
Love Nora xxxx
Linking up here

17 comments:

  1. Oh my lord Jane. I love this so much and I have real gloopy tears running down my face. I can not even tell you! Brilliant, utterly beautiful!

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  2. What a lovely story, of a little girl growing up. I too have a little tear.
    Julie xxxxxxxxxxx

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  3. Have filled up!
    That was so beautiful, it should be published x

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  4. This brought a tear to the eye of a little girl, with dark dark hair, brown eyes and scabby knees. Even though she is now a 44 year old Mum of two.

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  5. What a lovely, lovely story and a beautiful creation you have made.

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  6. This is so touching ... You are very talented! It reminded me of many happy childhood times at your house with the cousins... X

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    1. Happy happy times Claire, happy times.

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  7. Wonderful artwork - fantastic memories - a lovely story - thank you so much for sharing.....wipes away tears.......... X

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  8. Loved this Nora. Lovely story; and beautiful artwork.

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  9. oh wow. beautiful story to match the beautiful stitching.
    truly lovely.

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  10. One of the best things I have ever seen! Beautiful. x

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  11. This is so poignant and beautiful - both the stitching and the memories. Enormous thanks to you for sharing. Here's to more days when the sun always shines and when it doesn't it snows. We could all do with more of that just now ...!

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  12. This is making me weepy, such a beautiful way to capture memories and history. Absolutely stunning. x

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  13. Oh my gosh, that must be the most meaningful quilt I've EVER seen. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  14. Your stitched memories are wonderful and brought back many reminders of my own 'idyllic' childhood ... and a little lump in my throat! M x

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  15. Very, very nice and so meaningful.

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