Mum's story                        back to index

the estate of the late Jean Barbour Miller  


mum.jpeg (170795 bytes)      my mum.


The following are extracts from a short story written by my mother, about her mother.  If anyone in the family doesn't have the full text, and would like a copy, please email me


"My mother enjoyed life even if she had to pay for it.  One story told how she and Johnny [her brother] had been down at the beach watching the salmon fishers bring in their catch.  There had been a lot of daffin and gabbin going on and mum had made a date with one of the lads to take her to a dance that night. She forgot about the time and when she got home her father was in a terrible temper as he had had to do the milk cans himself.  She was sent to her room, locked in and forbidden to go to the dance.  Johnny brought her a message.  She was to to dress for the dance and when the house was quiet, they were early bedders,  the lad would put a ladder up to her bedroom window and help her out.  All went well except the lad climbed in the wrong window and shook my grandfather awake.  Seemingly all hell had broken loose."


"Mum's one luxury was a crystal set. It sat on a table in the middle of the floor.  She sat on a chair with a cloth over her head and fiddled with the cat's whisker*. We children were dared to go anywhere near her. The only person who could was White the minister, who also had a crystal set, and the pair of them sat quite happily for ages. My father [the police sergeant] for a long time carried a guilty secret concerning the Reverend,  there was a lot of vice in the village, everything from incest to razor gangs. They both saw a lot of tragedy and violence, and one night when they were both a bit fed up at the sordidness of it all, they got together, dressed themselves in white sheets, draped themselves over the churchyard wall and made ghosty noises at those unfortunate enough to be passing. They came back to the house and roared with laughter at the reactions they had seen. It did them good, but dad was afraid of the village finding out."

*cat's whisker - part of the crystal radio set, presumably the antenna.


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