Saturday, 31 December 2011

Ring out the old, Ring in the New!

How appropriate that this New Year begins on a Sunday, for over on From High in the Sky, it is Storytelling Sunday. I was so pleased Sian decided to continue this monthly opportunity for storytelling. It is a great incentive to write down something that you wish to remember, no matter whether large or small in detail, and the sharing aspect of the story is truly a delight. Just pop on over there and read some of the stories; you will be amazed how interesting and uplifting they are.


As we celebrate the arrival of 2012, my thoughts turn to my mother and 1912, the year in which she was born. Had she been alive this year on her hundredth birthday, she would have received a telegram from the Queen. She would have loved that! 


A much treasured photograph of mum


Mum was never a great lover of Christmas but she loved New Year. Looking back, I now realise that she probably found Christmas a great strain. It is an expensive time and money was always tight in our household. She would have worked really hard to provide presents from Santa, especially the year I asked for a desk. It had to have a lift up lid and a bench attached... but I digress!


One stand-out New Year for her happened when I was a small child and we were living in Manchester. On New Year's Eve, my brother and I were allowed to stay up until midnight. My mum always insisted on having a groaning table of food and would send my father outside just before midnight with a lump of coal, a silver coin, and a piece of bread to await the midnight chime. These traditions, if upheld, would mean we always had plenty of those things throughout the coming year. This particular year, the midnight bell rang out and we waited, and waited, but my father did not re-enter the house. After what seemed like fifteen minutes (but was probably only about five!) we all heard footsteps in the hallway and the largest man of African origin you have ever seen, entered our sitting room. We all screamed, including the man! It is hard to imagine now, as our world is so integrated, but back then there were no people of different ethnic backgrounds living in our locality. Recovering from the shock, we quickly discovered that the man was lost and in the dark, had seen our open front door and hoped he could be re-directed. However, mum had other ideas. This man had 'let in' our New Year and therefore had to be invited to stay and participate in our party. The fact that he was of African origin only added to the occasion, as my mother believed that it was very lucky to have a 'tall, dark, handsome man' to usher in the New Year. When my father eventually returned, having been distracted himself by a drink with a neighbour, he found us all at the dining table being entertained by this amusing dark stranger. We never saw him again but he was never forgotten. Every year on New Year's Eve, mum would ask 'Do you remember the tall, dark, handsome stranger?'. 


I wish you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. May it be filled with all that you desire for 2012.





26 comments:

Ladkyis said...

What an excellent story, thank you for sharing

Mary B said...

What a simply wonderful story I wonder if the tall dark stranger remembers it too

Scattychick said...

What a fantastic tale it makes you wonder what would happen these days if that were to happen though.

lruk said...

What a super story - I can just picture everyone faces as the stranger walked in. I am delighted to say he would have been just as welcome at our house for the same reasons. Thank you for sharing.

Alana said...

Oh what a wonderful story. It reminds me of when I was at home with my parents and one New Years eve invitied a stranger from the street to share a drink....happy times.

Sian said...

There's always room for a handsome stranger at a New Years party! What a lovely conjuring up of a celebration from times gone past. Thank you so much for joining in and a Happy New Year to you and yours!

Miss Smith said...

Ooh, it's lovely that you welcomed a handsome stranger in to start the year. Just what New Year should be about.

Happy New Year!

debs14 said...

What a fantastic story! I hope that his arrival really did bring you all good luck that year!

K said...

Fantastic story, & how lovely of your mother to be so welcoming. Its a beautiful photo, I love that style, and I can see the similarity between the two of you from your profile picture.

beccaf1970 said...

What a lovely story! Happy New Year!

Jennie Hart said...

What a fantastic photo and what a super story to go with. Sadly, no dark, handsome stranger here, he would have been welcome :)

Happy New Year.

Missus Wookie said...

I too wonder if the tall dark handsome man remembers this event too. Great retelling, I'm glad Sian is continuing on with Storytelling Sunday and the fact that the first was the 1st tickled me too :)

Missus Wookie said...

I too wonder if your tall, handsome stranger also remembers this event. The serendipity of the 1st Storytelling Sunday being the first tickled me too. Lovely photo of your Mum too.

Ruth said...

Fantastic story, perfect social commentary of the times.

Gail said...

What a wonderful story - definitely a perfect first footin.

Beverly said...

I love this story, you mom sounds wonderful and I am sure that the gentlemen never forgot the year he helped a family usher in the new year.

Jane said...

Nice to know that tall, dark, handsome stranger is still remembered. Happy New Year x

Miriam said...

I really love your story and do you know, I remember a similar thing happening to our family, he wasn't tall dark and handsome but he was there. Oooh I am going to think harder about this. Thank you for your lovely comment and for the memory jog. Isn't the brain wonderful?

S said...

Oh what a wonderful look back on at the first of this new year. Thanks for sharing your story - and your mom was lovely.

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

What a great story! And a lovely photo of your mom. :o)

furrypig said...

I love the idea of a handsome stranger arriving on New Year's Eve what a surprise for everyone! I think you are very like your mother. Happy New Year xxx

Cheri said...

Your Mom sounds like a really cool lady!

Louise said...

A wonderful Story and a lovely photo of your mum. Happy New Year.

Angelfish said...

What a great memory to have and I love the photo of your Mum. Beautiful.
Fiona xx

Chipper said...

I bet that story caused quite a stir in the community at the time! LOL Your mom sounds wonderful.

Amy said...

Such a shame she didn't get her telegram but what a legacy your mother has left :) Happy New Year! xXx