Mother was born in Hampshire, England May 16, 1904. Her name was Dorothy May Merritt, the only daughter of Bob and Ada Merritt. Bob and Ada brought Percy, Dorothy’s brother and Dorothy, a baby just a few months old, across the Atlantic by ship in the fall of 1904. Percy sat on the trunk and Dorothy was held in her parents’ arms.
My mother, Patricia Primrose Lazell, was born in Grays, Essex, England, on January 16, 1924. She was the daughter of Harry and Ethel, and the youngest of three children. Harry was a longshoreman at the Tilbury docks, and was a handsome 6’1” to Ethel’s 4’11”. Ethel had had polio as a child and wore a special boot. I remember my mother saying something about how her mother was bitterly self-conscious about her pronounced limp.
Elizabeth Howison – “Betty”, was born in Deadwater, England on October 17, 1927. Born a twin, she had a brother, Donald George, who died at the age of six weeks. On his death certificate it claimed “failure to thrive”. I think my mother always felt guilty for being the strong one.
JANE DIXON-WARREN: def: power tool wielding feminist laced with irrationality, tempered with practicality, sprinkled with theatricality but no sentimentality. Diana Madeline Jane Bushby (aka Jane) was born in London, UK on JANUARY 25 1935, the 2nd child Stanley and Ruth (aka “B”) Bushby.
How do I know my mother’s life? From memory? Perhaps from anecdotes she relayed during our long walks to and from the grocery store. Still other parts feel sewn into me, as if she deposited them into my imagination for safe keeping. My mother, Hilda Margaret Hardie (née Salter) was born May 24, 1914, in Manchester, England. She was the first born of Maggie and Alfred Salter. Maggie was a housewife and Alfred a leather artisan who specialized in violin cases. She grew up in a row house on Milton Street, in the area of Manchester captured by the long running soap opera, Coronation Street.
People who knew and loved my mother in later life remember her as a compassionate, no-nonsense kind of woman who cooked marvelous dinners. Only I, as her only child, was privileged to know that beneath this gentle exterior, she was an adventure-loving pioneer with a tiger inside her.
My mother’s life divides neatly into chapters, but it’s far from an open book. I never know which details of her stories are richly embroidered and which are more or less told as they happened. An actress by nature and profession, she is a born storyteller. Any oral history inevitably reshapes truth as fiction, so when she said to me, “you don’t know anything about my life,” I assume she meant I understand only what she intends me to.
When I was a teenager, alone with my boyfriend in the drawing room, we would suddenly hear Mother singing the Christian hymn “Rock of Ages” in her glorious contralto voice—a warning that we had to behave ourselves before she entered the room.
My grandmother’s firstborn died at birth. To be expected Grandma's broken heart was inconsolable. Baby furniture, clothes, nappies, etc were removed from the house only to be replaced by a determination never to have another child. Fortunately, a year later Grandma did have another child. Convinced her new baby would also be taken away Grandma treated the arrival as if it were only temporary. My mum Phyllis Mary Wright born 1929 in Kings Norton, England slept for the first few weeks of her life on a worn out towel inside a laundry basket.