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Saturday, 8 November 2008

Visiting Earby

Later today, we have a another duty to perform. We are going to distribute my mother's ashes in the fields behind Earby Youth Hostel. At the moment, my mum is in a plastic bag and a special "scatterring" box next to the TV. But tommorrow, the Knipe clan gathers and finally disposes of a matriarch. The clan will gather from Cumbria, Durham, Edinburgh, Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire in a little town that I am fiercely fond of, but which they've mostly never seen.
Everybody will pass grandma's and great-grandmas birth houses and the place where , out of four families in their houses, only one male returned from the battlefields of Normandy and the one grandad./great grandad, severely injured both physically and mentally..... I remember that he showed me pictures of a devastated town and described how he hid behind the remains of a tree at Ypres but still got hit and said " Don't ever get involved in anything like this, lad...." and mended my bike. and told me how to manage walking long distances, and taught me some dog French with a Normandy/Lancashire accent....... and read the pink paper upside down when he was finally beyond reason... I heard from my mum that he'd actually shed tears when he heard that I'd passed my 11+ and could go to Grammar School. I wish they'd told me that at the time. I wonder why I'm thinking more about my grandad than mum. She was a cotton weaver. they were all cotton weavers. She could tell you what the people in the car behind were talking about because all cotton weavers could lip-read.... even through a mirror... Cotton dust hung in the sunlight in our house... I thought everywhere was like that...
Cotton Mills had the same rythm as "Gimme Some Loving" by the way.
All of this later today... at the top of Red Lion Street behind the YHA.
These are my roots...

3 comments:

Alan Sloman said...

Good luck with today Mike - a lovely piece that captures the generations and what they have experienced so well.

Martin Rye said...

I am sorry to hear the news of your loss. Your writing tells of so much history to your family name. It is very well written and I hope all goes well.

mike knipe said...

Thanks lads - all went well, and we followed it up by a short libation at the Old Stone Trough at Kelbrook - and, later with just my absolute immediate family, at the Cavendish Arms in Embsay. Maggie drove and I had a birthday cake and the odd sniftah.
We've celebrated our recent ancestors for our very lives, and we've now given them all back to the earth. But we don't want to do that again for a while.