My parents met during WWII. My father was stationed in the park down the street from where mum lived, and one day there was an invitation for some men to go down to Mum’s mother’s to make up foursomes for a game of tennis.
Dad could play a bit of tennis and Mum’s mother was passionate about the game. She had a court in the backyard, and it was a place of social activity as much as the sporting competition.
So began a relationship that carried on during the war. As dad once told me, when the boys were sent to the war in foreign countries, they often wanted to have someone apart from their families to whom they could communicate with.
I’m not sure how good a letter writer dad was, or mum for that matter. In my time, my mother had the ability to write a three-page letter, and by the end, you felt she hadn’t told you anything.
After the war dad was lucky to find a carpentry apprenticeship with the father-in-law of Mum’s brother. It changed his life and once they were married, Mum’s father sold him the house he was to live in for the rest of his life.
Dad used his new building skills to renovate the house and make it habitable for his new family. My older brother was born while dad was rebuilding the house.
Dad worked until he was 60. By then my mother had sadly died, and dad was left to his own devices as my brothers and sister had all moved on by that time.
Dad did struggle at times. He would ring me asking for advice as to how to cook this meat or that vegetable. Yes, mum did everything and apart from boiling the kettle, dad wasn’t very familiar with the kitchen.
I always found it amusing that in later years when I moved in to care for him he would cook everything in the same fry pan. It saved washing up, he’d say.
I cared for my father up until he died in 2012. He was a lovely man, and I’m sure each of his children contain many of his qualities within our personalities.
I miss him still.