Sunday 30 October 2011

One hundred years ago & Happy Birthday to my aunt

My mother aged about 13 years
My mother was born 100 years ago in 1911. I often wonder how she would cope with the world today.
She never had to work out why her hard drive wasn’t backing up the computer properly, indeed she wouldn't  know what I was talking about.  Why suddenly a turquoise line appeared down her new Apple Mac screen, and the integrated house fire alarm system suddenly started screeching and wouldn't stop.  She didn’t drive; my father chauffeured her everywhere she wanted to go.
She died nearly 40 years ago, and did not see her grandchildren grow up.  In fact some of them were born several years after she had died.   I feel so privileged in comparison to have been able to see my five grandchildren mature to become lovely young people.
I wonder what she would think of holes in the wall from which cash appears at the touch of a button, mobile phones, recording devices for the TV and instant live news from around the globe.
Whatever, would she think of me being able to Skype my sister-in-law in Canada, and in fact, talk to, and see her great grandchildren across the Atlantic.
These thoughts came to me recently on a warm summer evening in the garden, when several of us said goodbye and good luck to one of our neighbours who is 92.  She trotted around talking to everyone, no spectacles or hearing aid, and when she left she zoomed speedily off in her silver car. Her husband died last year, and she is finding the house and garden too much for her to manage alone. It was only after she had left that it dawned on me that my mother would have been 8 years old when this lady was born. Perhaps my mother would, in fact, have adapted to life today in the very same way that this lady has done. 


My mother's sister, is 98 years old today. She has had over 50% more life than my mother.

Wishing my Aunt a Very Happy 98th Birthday today

A picture of my aunt walking along the seafront at Llandudno, Wales in the early 1930's.................
wearing fabulous silk beach pyjamas


  1. This is beautiful! It's amazing to think how technology has changed the world in so short a time and ponder what our grandparents and great-grandparents would have thought of it all. My maternal grandmother (the last of my grandparents still alive) passed away peacefully at 95 in 2002...She still drove that sky blue cadillac until her late-eighties and still kept my grandad's hat on the back dashboard of the car so that men would know she had a husband protecting her. I loved her stories of her childhood and feel fortunate to have had her so long...

  2. Dear Roanna - you are right it is amazing the way the world has been changed by technology. Lovely story about your grandmother, and how fortunate you were to have her for so long. You have obviously got some good long lived genes in your blood. Perhaps you should record some of the stories she told you for your little one in the future.

  3. oh rosemary, i think these thoughts so often. my grandparents and their perspective on life. and how quickly our world has changed. 3 of my 4 grandparents lived very long lives and i am so fortunate to have had them into my 40s.
    i love the photos you chose to show us. the silk pyjamas are just amazing. i love the breezy confident look of your aunt. and your mother in the last gasp of childhood.
    thank you for this lovely post.

  4. Dear Annette- I loved your comments so much, thank you. Writing about my mother in a contemporary setting feels as if I have bought memories of her into the modern world.

  5. Hi, Rosemary - The images of your mother and aunt reveal lovely women, and your aunt is certainly a stylish lady! Happy Birthday to her!

    I don't have to imagine what my ancestors would think about technology and our quickly changing world — I only have to look back on my own childhood (which was TV-less) and then look at an 8-year-old with his own cellphone to marvel, "Wow!" I was having breakfast out yesterday and watched a toddler (I don't think he'd reached the age of one yet) playing with animal pictures on his own computerized screen. For me, that was actually somewhat of a turn-off.

  6. Loved this post and particularly the photos, it does put such a perspective on the changing times and how people just cope. Your aunt sounds fabulous... hope she had a wonderful birthday!

  7. Hello Rosemary:
    Yes, how quickly the world has changed to a point where it surely is unrecognisable from a century ago. But, we are firm believers that some people move with the times and others do not, almost regardless of their ages. Whatever, it is good, we think to be endlessly curious, to want to investigate new things and to keep regular company with the young. Something you seem to constantly advocate yourself, no matter how frustrating the technology!!

  8. Thanks Mark - I do hope my aunt is having a lovely day with her children and grandchildren. I have made a birthday card with the same photo on it for her.
    I too was watching a young child a couple of weeks ago sitting in her buggy. Her mother handed over her mobile phone for her to play with. I was surprised at the way she knew how to hold it, and the dextrous way she used her little thumbs to play with the keys.

  9. Dear Nat - glad you liked the photos both of them I feel do illustrate the period in which they were taken. People are very adaptable to change it seems.

  10. Hello Jane and Lance - I try my best to keep up with technology. Most of my friends - dare I say including H - do not (he does, however, try). It is, curiously, quite satisfying to solve some of the problems that do crop up. If I get really stuck my eldest son is on Skype in Norway and can help me through the difficulties.

  11. A great post and some very nice old pictures. They are really very beautiful. Well done.

  12. Thank you Fotokarusellen - there is a special quality about old photographs which have a way of conjuring up the past for us.

  13. Rosemary this is a wonderful post! I often daydream about living in the 1930s, but I’m really not sure I could get along without the elements of modern life I enjoy so much. The image of the young ladies out on the seafront is terrific; I just wish we could see a bit more of that passing motor car!

  14. Dear Bertie - if you had money, I think that life could be pretty good in the 1930's. I agree it would be good to see more of the passing car, and I rather like the Bobbie in his helmet standing in the middle of the road.


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