This morning I awoke to an email in my inbox from a stranger. I had no idea who this person was, but something told me that I did know the name. I proceeded to read the email and in part this is what it said
“…….I knew your Mum Julie, we worked together a long time ago and I suspect that you have no idea of who I am. I have been following your blog about the quilt for about a week, since it was forwarded to me by a friend of a friend and I plan on contributing to the quilt, but I wondered what your plans are with the blog?………”
I knew I recognised the name, I recall Mum mentioning this person, but I have never met them and to my recollection it is well over forty years since Mum had spoken to them. I therefore in this post plan to explain my wider plan for this project. I have of course responded to the email which I was delighted to receive.
The plan was always and will continue to be about making a quilt in memory of my Mum and the loved ones that others want to commemorate. The blog will be about those people remembered because it is so important that the legacy of a deceased person lives on, and not just in the hearts and minds of their families and friends. We each, whilst on the earth contribute to Society. We each do things that many take for granted and we live in a society where simply being polite, nice and considerate is considered a big deal. I was brought up to do those things as simply a way of life. How times have changed.
Until the squares that are submitted this blog will otherwise be silent, and that is something I don’t want. I have therefore shared so bits of Mum’s early life – her love of the garden, her early medical history and I might even share a few other bits and pieces.
The big issue here, is that Mum represented a generation that contracted Polio. She lived a full life, which was cut short because of a contributing factor of Polio. In 1952 no one publicly acknowledged any idea that those who survived the disease would encounter further issues later in life, and in the case of many between 30 – 50 years after the fact. Post -Polio Syndrome is exhausting, debilitating and there is no cure.
I was incredibly touched by the fact that Mum had been ill for ten days before her diagnosis. How must my Grandparents must have felt. The fear and worry of their little one being so ill or worse, not surviving at all. It was only a day or two later that I realised that it is nothing short of a miracle that Mum did survive, and survive without the use of an iron lung and she walked without calipers.
She only had a stick in the last five years or so and it took me five years of nagging to get her to use one! Even then she would often forget it and I would find it sitting somewhere. Her favourite place was hanging off the radiator in the bathroom at my house. Questions like “Mum have you forgotten something?” would result in a puzzled look and I had to then produce the stick at which point she would take it and sigh.
Mum was stubborn, determined and absolutely adamant that she did not want to end up in a wheelchair.
This picture, which dates from after Mum had Polio. She has the most determined look on her face. She kept that determination through her life. Mum was quite remarkable; and I miss her more than words can say.
The blog, in part will form some of the basis for a book. The reality is that I have already written the initial chapters. They need some more depth and factual information, but the bones of the chapters are already written. I have written a synopsis that will be sent to a literary agent with the aim of publication by a reputable publishing house. My genealogical book is to be published by a historical & genealogical publisher, which does not exactly fit for this book about Mum.
Selecting a literary agent is not a case of presenting the synopsis and it being accepted. I have a list of about thirty agents, and I have selected eight that I think will be likely to be interested. Should it not be picked up then I will self publish, because I absolutely will not confine Mum’s story to the bottom draw of my desk (assuming I can find room in it!) or the filing cabinet. It is a story that should be told, of that I am determined.
I am absolutely my Mum’s daughter. The stubbornness and determination are all there in me, in abundance thanks to generations of very strong and determined women. The women are often unsung hero’s in our family histories.