Sunday, 11 November 2018

Growing Old

No matter how much I want to pretend otherwise, I am definitely getting older.  I have had to deal with greying hair since my mid-teens, so my white hair really doesn't bother me.   Wrinkles are another thing, but a face-lift or Botox are not something I would ever consider doing, so I guess the wrinkles are here to stay, I accept it.    The aches and pains are not fun, but I do my best to keep my body mobile and my brain active.   In my head I am at least a couple of decades younger.   I am happy with the self-deception, most of the time.

Then along comes an invitation to have my free 'over 65's health check', another to have my free 'over 65's flu jab', closely followed by an invitation to a free Christmas Dinner at the local pub.    Great in the frugality stakes, no help with self-deception.

Yes, my first old age pensioner's free Christmas dinner! 
Can I really be THAT old? 
Yes, Elaine, you are, be thankful. 

These men didn't have the chance to grow old, they died fighting for their country.

I pulled out their photographs because my grandchildren have been asking a lot of questions about the war.   I wanted them to have some faces and names to think about during the two minutes silence.  No doubt every family has photographs like this.  I am just grateful that my father wrote the names, dates and stories on the back of the photographs - all bar the mystery man (top right) yet he was in the family photograph box.


Top Left: My paternal grandfather's brother, killed in action Dec 15th 1915
Top Right: Details lost in the mists of time
My uncle's older brother, killed in action 21 July 1944
Bottom Left: My paternal grandmother's three older brothers(fishermen from Yarmouth)
serving as stokers, all killed when their boat HMS Aboukir was torpedoed and sunk by U-9
in the 1914-18 war.
My daughter, grandchildren and I went into the market town of Louth, for the Remembrance Parade. 
My husband normally marches along with some old comrades and presents the wreath on behalf of the Royal Marines.     This year it was especially important, his two old friends died within a few weeks of one another, and he wanted to honour them, too.

The area around the town's Cenotaph was busy, packed out, even before we arrived, busier than I have ever seen it.

Young and old alike had made the effort to turn out, despite the early rain.



The two minutes silence was unbroken, apart from a few babies crying,and  a dog barking.    When it was over, everything became hustle and bustle, the marchers were off and on their way to the church.



A few years ago there used to be any number of ex service men attending.


These days  most of the parade is made up of assorted cadets, scouts, guides, brownies, town officials, police service, fire service, etc.       I was unable to get a photograph, but it was good to see that three horses had been brought to the Cenotaph, to represent all those horses who also served.

Tonight church bells will ring out across the country, not sure whether we will hear them here, but I will certainly be outside listening.



21 comments:

  1. A lovely, lovely post Elaine... thank you. Our lived-in faces, the grey hair, the offer of so much largesse for the over sixty fives of today.. I don’t doubt each one killed in battle would give everything to be where we are right now, warts, wrinkles, aches and pains and all. The fulfilment of our lives are just what they gave their lives for.

    LXX

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    1. Exactly! Thanks, Lettice.

      Let me know when I can uncross my fingers and toes!! I hope all is going splendidly for you.

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  2. Today is your Day of Remembrance. Today is our Veterans Day. Our Memorial Day, being separate. All, paying tribute to those who served. Some gave some. Some gave all.

    So wonderful that you remember and honor.

    And lovely that you have these family photos, to pass on, to the next generation.

    And as to age my Dear, -smile- How young, 65 sounds, to someone, who is 81. -smile-

    Hugs...

    ✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨

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    1. It was good to see how seriously everyone took it, especially good to see so many young children and their parents.
      You come across as much younger, young at heart, I guess!
      x

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  3. I felt so proud as I watched the processions on television, and sad that I could not join in. My prayers are silent ones these days. Don't worry about age, I am due a birthday that turns me into an 85 year old youngster.

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    1. It has all been very emotional, hasn't it, Valerie? (I found myself having to blank my mind so that tears wouldn't fall in public.)
      Sounds like you have a lot to celebrate, 85 years is something special!

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  4. I went to the one in our village today, could not tell you who from our family was in that war though I do have aphoto of my grandfather in Irish Guards Uniform taken around then. I remembered my old next door neighbour who was in the second war and thought of those who died in the first.

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    1. Did you hear the church bells ringing out last night, Bill? I stepped outside - the wind was blowing, geese were making a racket as they took off from the pond and a noisy vehicle went down the lane - as it got to 7pm the wind suddenly dropped, and the bells rang out. I could hear at least two sets of bells.

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  5. A lovely, thoughtful post, Elaine, and a poignant reminder about how lucky we are to have the opportunity to grow old because those killed in WW1 and WW2 gave up their chance to do that for us. We must never forget. It's so nice that you have your pictures of relatives, with their names and dates that you can show your grandchildren.

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    1. Thank you, Jacqui. My grandchildren were very interested in everything, especially the stories of their courageous ancestors. My grandson joined me outside as I listened for the bells yesterday evening. I hope it will live long in his memory along with the reasons for them being rung.

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  6. How many have come out for your Remembrance Day. That is as great to me as the ceremony. May we never forget inhumanity.

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    1. It was really marvellous to see so many, Joanne. We must never forget the reason we mark the day.

      It is great that you are 'free' again, I hope you go from strength to strength, no more accidents.x

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  7. My church is the home church of the 48th Highlanders and they were in attendance at today's service. Their brass band played up the choir loft and a lone piper played the lament from the walkway above the alter - the church was packed (and we are a large building) and it was very moving and also gratifying to see how many young people were there. Afterwards the regiment formed up and the pipers led the parade back to the armoury. Tonight church bells rang all across the city at sundown - 100 rings for 100 years.

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    1. Margie, just reading that, brings "goose bumps"! How wonderful, and how moving, that must have been.

      And the church bells at sundown. Really, I can feel the hairs on my head and arms, raise.... Just thinking about it.

      Wonderful... Wonderful... Wonderful...

      ✨✨✨✨

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    2. Hello Margie, as wow says - that was definitely a 'goose bump experience' and a rather wonderful way to honour them. I hope you heard the church bells - I heard the ones around here. It was quite something to think that they were being rung at that moment, up and down the country.

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  8. Oh Elaine, this is a wonderful post...one I needed to read. I am feeling the aches and pains of old age now too, and like you said, in my head I'm twenty years younger. How fortunate we are to be here to grow old. Thank you. Sad to look at those old pictures. They died so young, and how sad that those three brothers all died together.

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    1. Hello Henny, You have been suffering, and I am so sorry. It can be very difficult to be faced with all the information which is available these days, doesn't make for easy decisions!
      I can't begin to imagine how their families dealt with all that loss all at the same time. Unbearably sad. They were just three fishermen who signed up to do their duty - like so many others.x

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  9. We have a lot to be thankful for that's for sure. How young they all were that gave up their lives for use.

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    1. Such dreadful times for all concerned, Lorraine. I can only bear to think about it in small chunks, I don't have their courage. Somewhere I have some paperwork connected with another relative who died up in Stornoway harbour, round about a century ago. I must find them up and get the story straight before I post it.x

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  10. It is so good to see such a large turnout - it's so important not to forget the sacrifices of everyone who has insured our freedoms. I had to laugh at your "free" invitations. When I turned 65, I got no end of mailings to help me out in my feeble old age. Honestly, if I squint in dim light, I can certainly pass for 60! :)

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    1. Hello Susan, It really was good to see so much interest across the generations.
      I cannot believe that you have turned 65, you have the energy of a MUCH younger woman. You achieve in a day what most do in a week - truly. What is your secret?

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Lovely to hear from you!