I have a pale Scottish complexion. I only realised this about 20 years ago and recognise that this is the reason why I was never able to tan. The things I did to have a tan! I would dig a shallow hole, line it with silver paper and lay in the sun. That only caused me to burn bright red, with lots of pain, only for it to disappear and I’d still be pale. Many a time I went with a girlfriend to the public baths on weekends and would suffer either wind burn or sunburn. I’d walk home very painfully where my friend would put vinegar on burns which would later blister. She was a blonde with lovely olive skin who would just get a deeper tan! It is a wonder I haven’t suffered from skin cancer.
My ancestors on my Maternal side were Irish and my Paternal side were Scottish, hence the pale skin that did not see much sun.
Another trait, from my Mother’s side, is varicose veins and poor circulation in the feet. My Mother’s Mother died of a blood clot after giving birth. My Mother’s sister also died of a blot clot 12 months after giving birth to her son. My Mother brought him up for the first five years and I always thought he was my Brother.
My Mother suffered from thrombosis and wore two pairs of 30 denier stockings to cover her legs. She also suffered from ulcers. Thankfully, I have only had a couple of operations on my veins, but I do suffer from bad circulation, cramps, cold feet and in the past – chilblains. I also have her thick hair and have passed all of these traits onto my daughter.
My Mother was rather a tall woman with a long neck who stood about 5’7”. My Father would say that you saw her head, first as she came around a corner because of her long neck.
I remember a sister of a former boyfriend asking how he managed to catch me. Did he stand on a fence with a butterfly net and catch me as I walked by? I was tall for a girl, but he was not tall for a man at 5’9”. My husband is also that height and I have never been able to wear high heels. I would have loved to have been about 5’6” instead of 5’8-1/2”, although it has come in handy over the years. Both my Grandfathers were over 6’ tall.
My Father died at the age of 57. He didn’t live long enough for me to have an adult conversation with him or to see him with problems, except the enlarged heart he died from. He was only 5’2”. His mother was a little woman so obviously he took after her.
Strength of character
My Mother was a strong woman. I think I have those traits which has stood me in good stead in the past to cope with the deaths of my Father, Sister, Mother and Daughter.
I have also realised on thinking back that another trait is the fact that my parents were quite enterprising, trying several businesses after the War. One was a wood yard where my Father would often give the wood to people and would say to just pay him when they could. They weren’t in that business for long. (does this need an exclamation mark)
Another was going into business, this time with his Colonel from army days, driving a taxi. Unfortunately, that business did not last long as my Father apparently always had the night shift to do. I don’t think that went down too well with my Mother after a certain time. His Colonel was a bachelor.
The other business was a Newsagency at Albert Park. They again partnered with the Colonel (Les Newton), who wanted to run it like the Army. Everyone had to be in bed by a certain time and up at a certain time. It was a busy shop. I think my Mother found it hard to cope with helping to run the shop, cook and clean for the two men and the two children she had at the time. It became too much for her, so that business was sold.
I seemed to inherit an enterprising nature, and in partnership with my husband Peter, ended up buying and running three Newsagencies over 11 years, a Toy shop for 8 years and a Tattslotto shop for 17 years until retirement.