|My Grandfather - Edward William "Billie"|
There are two people who are always with me; my guardian angels – if you believe they can exist. Maybe they are merely a strong memory embedded into my soul and welded with love. I didn’t know them well but their influence stays with me moulding my future, as it moulded my past. Who are these people? Nobel prize winners? History changers? Olympic gold medallists?
I remember their smiles, their love, and their kind hearts. I was only 11. They were my grandparents on my father’s side – I know - it doesn’t sound grand, or romantic. How can an 11 year old bond so profoundly with the older, wrinkling generation; find them interesting, let alone fascinating? That I cannot explain – there was just something special about them. The more I find out about them posthumously, the more I see why I had that feeling that they were special and why they remain with me; smiling at me and shaping my future.
|My Grandmother - Ada|
Ada Wimsey just doesn’t make sense. Descended from an Irishman, who probably jumped ship at an English port – she was not rich – she was poor working class. By all accounts she had a horrible start in life. She had more siblings than I could count, and apparently a drunken father who was not kindly. Her father wanted her to stay at home to look after her siblings, and help raise the family. Her school had to fight for her and as a result she went to Leeds University 1918-1921, from where she constantly travelled back home to help with her parents and siblings. A woman; a poor woman; at university at the end of the First World War. That still strikes me as odd, but what do I know?
I recall a hardback copy of The Lord of the Rings being passed around in my grandmother’s living room, and a question being asked – “he was your tutor wasn’t he?” I knew that the book was being read to my brother, but I didn’t know what a famous book it was at the time – or even that it was a significant book. I knew my grandmother was special, but I never truly understood in her lifetime. At university my grandmother was taught by J.R.R. Tolkein, and we still have his reference for her. That I didn’t understand enough to ask more questions, I will regret forever – but that visceral feeling was a constant presence. There was something about my grandmother, and I always knew it, even if I didn't know what “it” was.
|A press clipping of the crash Ada Wimsey survived. |
The picture above is from the same story.
I look at the telegram sent to my grandfather telling him his beloved Ada was safe. He was a railway signalman, and had his own stories to tell. He was a hero – the man who saved a runaway train, and always had a twinkle in his eyes. A twinkle which stays with me even today.
I carry my grandparents with me, as I carry everyone who’s touched me. I think they influence me more than any other. They are my strength through bad times, and aid my joy in the good. They look over my shoulder and encourage me to battle on, to never give up, and to be happy. I hope I can live up to their legacy. Somehow I doubt it, but I’ll give it one heck of a try.
Who influenced you most in life? Was it someone you knew, or was it a character who you admire from history? Is it someone who is still here who you can talk to? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.
Copyright © 2012 C. S. Wimsey.
All Rights Reserved.
Downloading of and/or copying text or images from this website is strictly prohibited.