Here’s a little bit about the project
Memory: collected and collection
For this project I invited members of the public to take part by sharing their ‘memories of themselves and their relationships’ in the form of anecdotes, sounds and images. I have now collected memories from participants all over the world and have a huge variety of stories to tell.
The material gathered will inspire a series of new work to be shown at the Ropewalk, Barton upon Humber, 14 September to 20 October 2019.
I am planning to create a digital archive of the re-tellings of other people’s ‘memories of self and relationships’ during 2020.
A Memory from Beryl Gwinnett
I was born in the 1950s and I have happy memories of my Gran who lived in a ‘2 up 2 down’ back to back street in Liverpool. I have a black and white photo of her with some other ladies in the street – they are poor but are so happy. I remember that everyone knew everyone else and helped each other out despite having little materials . The ‘good old days?’ I moved on and ‘up’ but have
only rarely experienced the security and friendship that I know my Gran and her friends had.
A Memory from Randi Winters
I was 5 years old in 1960 and had just had surgery on my eye for a cyst. I took Mr. Bunny to keep me company in hospital. When they took me for surgery I had to leave my bunny behind and on my return my bunny was nowhere to be found. I cried and cried.
My mother searched until she found my bunny. He was in the hospital laundry basket and in a terrible state! The next day they called my Grandma who was an excellent seamstress and she said she would make Mr. Bunny as good as new. I watched in horror as she took her scissors and started ripping the bunny apart.
I yelled out, “Stop! You are killing my bunny!” Grandma explained she was making him brand new pyjamas to wear while he stayed in the hospital with me and soon he was an all new Mr. Bunny. We were both on the “mend” and would be going home soon from the hospital.
It meant a lot to me that my Grandma took the time to mend Mr. Bunny. Nowadays mending and fixing things seem to be a lost art. I think that taking time to mend something precious is important and helps to preserve the special character that only time and wear can give.
A Memory from Tilleke Schwarz
My mother’s family had a clothes store. So she never made anything herself and but felt obliged to buy everything at our family store. Close to our house lived a family with six daughters. On Sunday all girls wore the same hand knitted dresses. All dresses were a strange magenta colour (reminiscent of cooked red cabbage). Every year the dresses needed to be adjusted. The whole family worked very hard to unravel, wash and stretch the yarn in order to reknit the dresses. I was very happy that my mother never knitted dresses.
A Memory from Ina Olohan
I live in Kells, Co. Meath Ireland and my mother Dora Daly, trained as a nurse in Grimsby, along with her sisters Carmel and Betty. Dora and Carmel returned to Ireland, and Betty married and had 3 children in the UK.
I recently found a tiny notebook belonging to my grandmother in which she kept lots of details of bills paid and family comings and goings.
She wrote the following in 1938:
“Dora started for Grimsby 11 May, on duty 13th. Had P.C. (postcard) from Carmel 14th saying Dora arrived safely”
My aunt Carmel had already been in Grimsby for a year.
A later entry reads:
“Got word C. passed exam S.R.N. Dec 7th – 1940
Dora passed exam S.R.N. Got word 1st Dec 1941″
My mother had very happy memories of living in the nursing home at Grimsby. She told us how, during the war when there was rationing in England, her mother would send over rashers of bacon and they would cook these on a mentholated spirit stove in the bedroom. The spell of frying bacon would waft through the nursing home.