Tag Archives: Nat King Cole

I love you

Waterfall

“And as the water continues in its downhill rush over rocks
and the thoughts continue to tumble around in my brain
with no defined pattern or path,
they eventually find and settle into a safe place
and the void is suddenly filled
and my mind is active once again.”
Judith Baxter, Mother, grandmother, sister,
friend and blogger 1938 –

Yesterday was my very least favourite day on the calendar.  I don’t look forward to 22 April as this was the day in which my DYS (not so Dashing Young Scotsman) gave up the fight and slipped quietly away from us.  So it is a sad day for me and the rest of the family.  And it is now unbelievably 15 years since that awful black day.

But today is another day and I am back to my normal self.  So what have I been thinking?

Well had I not met my DYS on that fateful day way back in 1957 what would my life be like and where would I be living.

At the time we met I had a steady beau to whom I had become engaged the previous year; sorry John you had to move aside for my love.  But had I married him I would now be ensconced no doubt in the stock broker belt in Surrey.  No he wasn’t a stockbroker but many business men live in the area and commute to the City each day.  Although by now he would have retired so would not have had to make the daily trek into town any longer.

I might have been one of those wives who have never worked but who spend their lives on charity committees, on the golf course, playing bridge and being “a lady who lunches”.  Not that there is anything wrong in any of these things.  I have always been active on committees and since I have been on my own have played golf and bridge too.  But in my busy working days I had little time for being a lady who lunched.

My children would have had a different father, different experiences and so different outcomes in their lives.  Of course, they would have been different people too.

I probably would have had grandchildren, but not the four handsome young men I call my grandsons.

My daughter-in-law from heaven would not be in my life nor would my charming son-in-law.

No doubt I would have visited many places in the world but would not have lived anywhere but England.  As it is I have lived in England, Scotland, New Zealand and Canada.

Would I have had a better life?  I doubt that.  Would I have been more loved?  Certainly not.  Do I wish I had followed that path?  Decidedly not.  I am pleased with the decisions made and the road taken on that fateful day when according to my young sister I came home and announced that I had met the man I was going to marry.  I guess that caused some confusion in the family as I was already engaged.

That earlier engagement was celebrated with a big formal party.  About 100 people were invited and one of my abiding memories of that day was the two of us dancing to our tune “Too Young” sung by Nat King Cole,  being played on the gramophone (do you remember those).  Well yes we were too young.  We had become engaged at 18 without either of us having had much experience of the world.  So my deciding to break that engagement probably did as much for him as it did for me.

Mind you I often wonder what happened to that young man.  We did keep in contact for a few years until we moved to Scotland – he even attended our wedding and he and my DYS became firm friends.  But then he became one of those people who are in your life for a Reason, or a Season but not for a Lifetime.

My Lifetime person was the one I married.   And shortly before he died we found this lovely poem by W H Auden.  He told me he thought it was written for us.  I am happy to share it here.

“I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,
I’ll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.”
From “As I Walked Out One Evening” by W.H. Auden

And because it is another day, the rain has gone and the sun is trying to shine I am also sharing my rainbow with you.

Rainbow

My rainbow

 

A Year of Firsts

‘It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,’ the Queen remarked.
Lewis Carroll , Through the Looking Glass.

The year was 1956 – how long ago I hear you gasp.  And are there really people alive today who can remember that far back?  Well yes and I am one of them.

Several things that happened that year make the year stand out as a Year of Firsts.

I had left school the year before and celebrated my 18th birthday in 1956.  The First Birthday now freed from the confines of school and so frightfully grown up and independent  – although still living at my parents’ house as one did in those far off days.  No flatting for us!

Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole 1919 - 1965

A few days before my birthday I became Engaged to be married.  So, First Engagement.  Nat King Cole sang ‘Too Young” but 2 eighteen year olds knew better.  We had a great party inviting all our friends and relations, as I was the first one amongst the cousins to become engaged.  I sported a very large 5 diamond ring and thought I was just the happiest girl in the world.

However, we were Too Young and the engagement fizzled out quite soon and the next year I met and married my Dashing Young Scotsman.

Royal Opera House

via Wikipedia

My fiance’s mother and stepfather were classical music aficionados while my parents were more light, contemporary musicals.  So that year with his parents,  I saw my First Opera at Covent Garden aka The Royal Opera House  and my First Classical Music Concert at the Royal Albert Hall.  And I shall be forever grateful to these two people for introducing me to both opera and classical music.

Dancing class

Dancing class from my sister

I had been very keen on ballet having studied for many years.  So I  had seen a couple of ballets but they took me on my First Visit to Saddlers Wells.  At that time, Saddlers Wells was synonymous with the ballet.  Since that time the The Royal Opera House has been home to both the ballet and the opera.

Nut cutlets

My fiance’s mother and step-father were vegetarians.  This was very rare some 45 years ago and there were very few vegetarian restaurants.  Fiance’s mother was very resourceful and always managed to find a vegetarian restaurant close by the venue.  So then my First Visit to a Vegetarian Restaurant and my First taste of nut cutlets.  One must remember that nobody was experimenting with vegetarian food then and it was bland, tasteless, uninspiring and uninviting.  It certainly didn’t convert me to vegetarianism.

So in all 1956 stands out as a year of firsts and though I have moved on so far since those far off days, I still remember the visits to the opera, orchestra and ballet with those people.  Incidentally, even though I broke off the engagement my ex-fiance, my Dashing Young Scotsman and I remained friends for many years.  I wonder what happened to him.

But 1956 was not just a big year for me.  Here are some of the other things (rather more world shattering and changing) that happened that year :

  1. John Lennon (15) & Paul McCartney (13) meet for 1st time as Lennon’s rock group Quarrymen perform at a church dinner.
  2. 85th British Golf Open: Peter Thomson shoots a 286 at Hoylake England
  3. Last Ringling Bros, Barnum & Bailey Circus under a canvas tent
  4. Egypt seizes Suez Canal and British government  sends 3 aircraft carriers to Egypt
  5. England retain cricket Ashes, Jim Laker 46 wickets in the series
  6. Tanks are deployed against racist demonstrators in Clinton, Tennessee
  7. Great Britain performs nuclear test at Maralinga Australia
  8. Stravinsky’s “Canticum Sacrum,” premieres in Venice
  9. First transatlantic telephone cable goes into operation (Scotland/Canada)
  10. England’s first large-scale nuclear power station opens
  11. 16th modern Olympic games opens in Melbourne, Australia
  12. Nelson Mandela & 156 others arrested for political activities in South Africa
  13. Japan admitted to UN
  14. Montgomery, Ala, removed race-based seat assignments on its buses
  15. Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel/Hound Dog,” single goes to #1 & stays #1 for a record 11 weeks (for a single)
  16. Abigail Van Buren’s “Dear Abby” column 1st appears in newspapers
  17. Britain abolishes death penalty
  18. “My Fair Lady” opens at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC for 2,715 performances
  19. Soap operas “As the World Turns” & “Edge of Night” premiere on TV
  20. Grace Kelly marries Prince Ranier III of Monaco.

Do you have a year of particular memories, firsts or whatever that makes it stand out?  I would love to hear from you.