When my mum died back in April 2003, it was the end of an era for me. As my dad had died 17 years earlier, our cozy little house in Ballymoney, N. Ireland was finally empty of their presence.
They had lived there together for 36 years and then mum had lived there on her own to make up an incredible 53 years in the same house.
As the executor of her will, it was my very sad duty to clear the house as, although it had been a council house for most of it's existence, it had been bought by a money grabbing cousin of mine a few years earlier. You may detect a lack of family 'lurve' there and you'd be right.
So in the 2 weeks from a mad dash from America where I'd been on holiday, I had watched her die, arranged her funeral, sorted out her estate (such as it was) and finally emptied the house of every single item to leave it a shell for the next occupants.
A busy 2 weeks for sure and I couldn't have done it without the help and support of my bestest friend, Debby, who had insisted on flying over with me so I'd not have to go through it all on my own. I can never thank her enough for that and I hope she knows how much she helped me.
Anyway, as you can imagine, I had no option but to put up for auction those items of furniture that were of any value and had to arrange for everything else to be taken to the local dump. The auction was a farce really as everyone knew the items HAD to be sold as they came from a house clearance and decent furniture went for a pittance. The total amount raised was £50 in fact. Not much of a price for the items that made our house a home.
Mum had known for some time that her leaving the house was coming soon, either in a coffin or by having to go into a home as she was a very small, frail woman who was finding it harder and harder to look after herself. In fact she had gone into a residential home a few weeks before she died and ironically loved it so much there that she told me she'd wished she'd gone years earlier !
So for a year or so she had been downsizing the house contents in readiness for leaving - one way or the other. I'd taken a lot of the family photo albums back to my home here in England as, after all, they were the main memories I felt needed to be preserved. Everything else held few memories for me as I'd not lived there for 35 years.
A few days ago I finally started looking at those albums and also the contents of a package I'd posted to myself in Leeds from Ballymoney that contained more photos from the walls of the house and other little personal items I wanted to keep.
I'm sure over the next few months I'll put up occasional sets of photos from these albums but for today, I just wanted to post the one that had been framed on our living room wall for more years than I care to remember.
I've not got my scanner connected to this new laptop yet so I just took a photo of the photo and as a result, it's not high quality but will do for this blog post.
It shows my older brother and myself advertising cod liver oil. I'm the one on the left and the cute one on the right is -well you can guess. I was still growing into my body and in fact, I still am !!
Don't ask me any more about it as I've no idea now. I've also no idea if it ever appeared in a paper or magazine and so for all I know, this is the only copy.
I think taking cod liver oil was all the rage back then and needless to say, I've been addicted to the bloody stuff ever since and have been attending a CLAP clinic for over 50 years.
That's Cod Liver Anonymous Patients by the way. Oh come on, what else did you think it was ?
So although the actual photograph subject may not bring back any memories for me now, the slightly worn but remarkably well preserved piece of paper does.
This was something that hung on my home wall from the date it was taken in 1953 until I finally took it down in 2003. Yes, 50 years exactly.
And if that isn't a memory, I don't know what is.
It's now been digitized and put up on the internet so who knows how long it will last.
For someone who hoarded photos and personal items from her two sons all her life, I think mum would be happy about that.