Thursday, March 4, 2010

In Remembrance--of my mother

The Friday My Home Town Shoot Out theme this week is "In Remembrance", a topic chosen by ChefE. Saturday being my mother's funeral I can't think of a more fitting time for reflecting on her life. What follows is part one of a very abbreviated version of her autobiography. Tomorrow Sepia Saturday (on Barry's personal blog) will feature part 2

My name is Rosanna and I was born in Mitcham, England to Captain George Shepherd and Rosanna Staines. I have a sister, Eileen and a brother, Ted. We first lived in rooms over the Star Pub which was owned by my grandfather then later moved to London Road.

Our first home was in rooms over the Star Pub

We grew up next to a butcher shop (above which dad’s sister Blanch Shepherd and her husband Wilfred Baden Bradford and their two children Gill and Roger lived) but which had all these the poor animals outside waiting for slaughter and was such a sad experience that I have been a vegetarian all my life.

Rosanna age 20

My parents first home was heated with a Valour Perfection lamp and our bed was heated with a brick that had been heated in the oven and wrapped in a towel. There was no bathroom but we did have a flush toilet only it was downstairs and outside. On one fine day my mother restained the toilet seat but forgot to tell dad who sat on it while it was still wet and ended up stuck to it. Mom had to use turpentine to separate the toilet from his bottom.

"Up The Yard" The Shepherd Smithy

Eileen, Ted and I use to play "up the yard" where dad, Grandfather Shepherd, and uncle Fred worked. The forge in the blacksmith shop was lovely on a cold winter’s day, especially when we were old enough to jump up and reach the bellow's handle.

Eileen, Rosanna and Mary

On one occasion, we three children played "wedding". Lana wore a white lace curtain, Ted was the groom and I played the horse who pulled them in a wooden wagon that dad had made for us. Incidentally, many, many years later, when I "developed my female anatomy" my siblings called me "three brass balls". Another nickname I had in school was "steamroller".

However I was a pretty good student and became head prefect for a couple of years. Being England it was, of course, an all girl's school and I once played the lead in our school's production of Hiawatha.

Rosanna (center stage) as Hiawatha in her School's Production


  1. Lovely, Barry I see where you got your sense of humor and writing skills from.....

  2. Her autobiography, Ginger, runs to about 10 pages. I recently learned she had been telling the staff at her retirement home that she had written a book on her life and that I was going to have it published after she passed on.

    Ten pages makes for a somewhat abbreviated book, so this is the best I can do.

  3. She sounds like a fascinating woman with a rich history!

  4. Ha, what a great tribute to your parents, and mom! I have the toilet seat 'stuck' in my mind with a great big smile Barry!

    I agree, you should publish this information, and those photos are and Linda are inspiration for me, and always in my heart and on my mind...

  5. Hi Barry,

    I wrote about my mum too when she died. You have done a great job. I enjoyed the toilet seat story. It must have been so funny. My cousins too played the wedding game with the curtain. That photo of Eileen, Rosanna and Mary is so sweet. B & W photos have a different feel about it.

  6. You don't know the half of it SOL.

  7. Thank you ChefE. It was the perfect theme for what I needed to publish this weekend.

  8. Nicely told in the first person with photographs to match. I will be waiting to see part II.

  9. Can't wait for the next part. That was a lovely read. Can see where the storyteller gene came from! :)

  10. I'm sure your mother would have been thrilled to know she'd been remembered in this way.

  11. Oh, I loved it. Your approach to this subject is so captivating. You drew in from the first sentence. What an intersting family you have. I know I will love part 2 just as much.

  12. Well, wasn't she fun! Nut didn't fall far from the tree.

  13. How entertaining - and my kind of photos. You just keep getting better. I hope you are well. I'll be back soon. I hope.