Friday, 6 May 2011
Thank Heavens For Little Girls
The cria above have been my saviour over the past couple of days, I can't name them as I can hardly see the photographs through a veil of tears. On Tuesday night about 11pm my telephone rang and it was the news that I wasn't ready for. My Dad had died that day. There, it's in black and white now so it must be true. The title is because he used to sing it to my sister and I when we were small.
He really was an extraordinary man. He brought up 3 children single-handed and this was in the early 70's when it was really unusual, at the same time as working full time. He loved music of all kinds and taught us an appreciation of it. Even just a few years ago my sister and I would go to lunchtime jazz sessions with him and still have happy memories of attending classical concerts and also taking him to the theatre to see 'The Rat Pack'. He was probably over-protective of us and we weren't even allowed to watch Coronation Street as he considered it too racy for children. What a different place the world is now? After a full days work he would take us for walks after dinner to teach us about nature. As we got older we weren't allowed to show any cleavage and if we wore a low cut top he always asked us if there was a scarf that went with our outfit, we teased him about it for years. It feels wrong to have spent so much of the past few days laughing but most of our memories are of him being daft to make us laugh. He must have had the patience of a saint as bedtimes used to take ages. After he had put us to bed and turned off the lights he would say goodnight and we would repeat it back it then turned into a routine where he would shout any silly thing and we would repeat it back to him. We only knew it had ended when he said 'Tiddly tiddly pomp pomps, now go to sleep'. Years later it amused him when he found me doing the same thing with my children.
He had been trying to prepare us and true to form he had looked after us to the end, he even sent my brother the local paper every week even though he left Liverpool 30 years ago. Unfortunately, we didn't listen as we didn't want to acknowledge that he would ever leave us. Even though he wasn't really ill he went to the bank last week to put his affairs in order and in amongst his official papers were sheets of paper with jokes written on. He had even told us what music he wanted played at his funeral and I have only remembered one piece and even that made me laugh. He wants Beethoven's Pastoral played. We have chosen either the 1st or 5th movement as I can remember one rainy day when we were playing the record he conducted me with a chopstick while I had to mime playing the instruments.
I have just had a long break from this. My baby cousin (he is actually now a grown man with children of his own) phoned and we chatted for two hours about childhood memories. It seemed right that most of it was spent laughing at what a mad family we come from. We can even remember our fathers breaking a glass in the bath to make sound effects for a goon type sketch they were enacting. The both used to do Harry Worth impressions outside a shop in a main thoroughfare were we were raised. They didn't care who was watching as long as it made their children laugh. He was the same with his eight grandchildren, so much so that even recently in their teens and 20's they would still spend time chatting with him, and playing pool.
My Dad used to laugh about the idea of Facebook and there were such lovely messages on there about him the other day from people of all ages and my first thought was that I would phone him to tell him but I can't. He won't know about the flowers I'm growing this year. He'll never meet any great-grandchildren he may have.
Tiddly tiddly pomp pomps Daddy. I'm sorry, I'm not ready to let you go even though I know I was lucky to have you this long. I'll never be able to trust anybody like I could trust you. I love you, night night xxx