JOURNAL OF A LIFE – Another This And That #3
Successful people form the habits of doing things that those who fail won’t – Tom Safford wisdom 🙂
JOURNAL OF A LIFE
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As a great mentor of mine – Joe Schroeder – never tired of saying “A Life Worth Living is a Life Worth Recording”
so today I am here to share another episode in the life’s journey of one of the great people whose life I am privileged to have shared a part of – my mother AnneKaete Pocklington.
The War Is Over – Another This And That #3
Imagine, if you will, you are regularly visited by a “Band Of Gypsies”
What would your reaction be?
Imagine my wise Granddfather, my Opa, Anne-Kaete’s father.
How do you think he reacted?
Another This And That #3
I must just write another one of these as so many things come into my mind, even after I have written a few pages about certain chapters. So here are a few more thoughts or various matters which might be of interest.
When we were still the happy Schepers children in our own little Paradise with the large Factory to play in, there were some summers when the Gypsies used to come. They came in their covered wagons and parked them not very far from us on some waste land. And for some reason or another my parents always, but always, treated them with much kindness. My lovely Mum would give them all the water they needed and the odd bit of bread and food if need be. And, what is more important, they found them some work.
These people would zinc over any metal items you might have in the house which looked shabby. And I well remember my Mum hunting around for things to be coated with this shiny zinc. There would then be the odd soup ladle, or large cooking spoon, or a zinc bath which was looking a bit shabby, or the odd tray or bowl, made of metal, which could be coated. The Gypsy himself would tell her what would be good for coating and what not.
And then we children would be for hours outside their wagons watching them at work. They had colourful but dirty clothes on and always lovely earrings, and the older women would smoke a long clay pipe. And they spoke a strange language amongst themselves, and the children always had very black hair, often curly, or at least curly looking in its unkempt state. I was always fascinated when the Gypsies came to stay.
And another casual group of visitors would always be treated with much respect by my parents. And always found some work to do, some food, and a shelter to sleep at night. And these were the ‘Zimmerman’, who were journeymen joiners, who traveled the country, working here and there, when they had come out of their apprenticeship, traveling all the time.
And they had a wonderful way of dressing. They always wore one earring in one ear. And they had trousers on, which were very fitting around the body but had very wide swinging-out trouser bottoms. And they were made of ”Manchester Velvet” – which is “Corduroy”. Most likelier called Manchester because it was all made around Hebden Bridge, where we now lived, and shipped from here along the Manchester-Liverpool ship canal to the harbour in Manchester, from where it was shipped to the Continent. This is a historical fact which I learned much later, of course. But Manchester Velvet was such a well known cloth in my childhood. Anyway, those were the trousers. A very short Jacket, fitted, with very large shiny mother of pearl buttons, was made of the same material. With this they wore very white shirts, which were washed by Mum, or themselves while they stayed the night. And they carried their few belongings in a large red handkerchief on a stick over their shoulders. And a canvas bag for their tools.
They always did some joinery work which Dad could always find in the works. I still remember clearly how he explained to me that these were very honourable members of a proud profession, and one should always treat them with kindness, as theirs was such a special profession, of all the trades there were, this was the one. I never knew why but then it did not matter, if Dad said so, that was right anyway,. They were always kind to us children and sang for us, or played their instruments which they quite often had, and told endless tales of places far away, and as they always spoke with an accent different from ours this fascinated me very much. And I learned my talent of being able to speak any dialect I wanted, later on.
These were fascinating people, all later to disappear from the Roads, like the Gypsies – some so tragically- as we later learned.
And as we did not live all that far from the harbour, where a lot of bars were, we always saw Bar Ladies go to work. Walking of course, cars were something very special in those days. And they would be dressed in flowering chiffon dresses, and they would be painted on their faces with make-up (have you ever seen such a thing?) and they would smoke in long cigarette holders as they walked along in their high heels. Sometimes supporting a sailor who was slightly under the weather with drink. We children would follow them at a distance, very fascinated by it all and mimicking their behaviour.
And in the winter all the little waterways criss-crossing the meadows very near by, belonging to a farm not far away, would be frozen over, and we would play from morning ’till night on these frozen trenches gliding, with or without skates. Wonderful frozen world.
And when it was windy we used to go onto these meadows. With our Kites and flew then for hours and hours. What fun we had then.
If life is the best teacher, doesn’t it make sense to learn from the lives of others?
So what did I learn from today’s episode?
I learned not to trust the “common wisdom” that Gypsies are somehow not to be trusted,
I learned that, according to Opa, theirs was a “noble profession” carried out by hard-workers who happened to be travelers, and
I learned that the Nazi vendetta did not only apply to their attempted eradication of the Jewish race.
So Now it’s YOUR turn, dear Reader. What did YOU learn?
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Published: September 17, 2014, 22:09 | 4 Comments on JOURNAL OF A LIFE – Another This And That #3
Category: Real People Helping Real People, The Story Of A Life