Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Saturday, 14 December 2013

In Loving Memory


The sweet-faced little artist in the picture above is my late Sister-in law Gillian, in about 1942. She actually developed into a very talented artist and teacher as an adult. This post is in loving memory as  a year ago we received the news of Gill’s sudden death at the age of 73. It was the day before my Dad’s funeral, and we were back in England with my own family, when John was told by his brother that Gill had died the day before. She had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease in her later years and slowly the accompanying dementia was robbing us of this lovely, vivacious, witty and warm-hearted woman. The news was a terrible shock and made us very sad, but we all were relieved in a way that she had gone so quickly and painlessly.

My memories of Gill (or Jilly) are all happy ones, but of course I can only speak for myself.  I knew her for the last forty years or so, and didn’t witness the many facets of the personality she shared with her family and friends. We only saw the picture above for the first time this week as her daughters have ensured that all her albums have been scanned and made available to us. She will of course feature in future posts but I’m linking this one with Sepia Saturday, which is all about old pictures and memories.

She was John’s big sister, older than him by ten years; protective and caring. We still have a birthday card in which she had written that she loved him very much, and he for his part, told me when we first met that he ‘adored’ her.

The care and love Gill is showing young John in this picture, was mirrored in many family snapshots of her with children over the years.





Gill was expert at throwing babies into the air and making them laugh with delight. Both these sets of photos are some thirty-five years apart, showing her first with a daughter, and then a granddaughter.




She was a kind and affectionate aunty to my own two children, and there are many happy memories of Christmases past, when she ensured that there would be little treats and surprises, and not forgetting her famous treasure-hunts. Here’s Gill (above left), with her own daughters, and my two offspring in 1979, and in the second picture, taken in 2000, she is in her element with her three granddaughters.


Gill had two lovely husbands, both of whom pre-deceased her, but of whose extended families she was very much a part. I took this picture of her and her second husband in 2000, when she was still very active. She was a very creative lady and she filled her house with beautiful tapestries, pictures and quilts of her own making.  On a chair in this house she had dolls she had made and cleverly embroidered features and added clothes so that they resembled her girls.







There is so much more to tell about Gillian, but some of the stories need to be added to by others and this is just one small chapter; an abridged version. Here she is one of my favourite pictures of her with John, taken about twenty-five years ago. It’s how I always think of her and how I best like to remember her.


Sepians will be pleased to know that Gill was a lover of old photos too.

I started this post of young Gillian being creative and that’s how I’m going to end it. Here she is sorting old sepia and black and white photos into her albums. Sadly Gill was not into computers or I’m sure she would have been a regular visitor to Sepia Saturday.  

Join us there this week to see what other contributors have come up with as they surface from delving into their own albums and shoeboxes of old photos

18 comments:

  1. I think you have done an excellent job of capturing the spirit of my lovely big sister.

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  2. A lovely memorial of Gillian, it is so nice to be remembered in this way especially when a condition does indeed rob us of our loved ones' minds.....My wish is for a cure for such diseases.

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  3. A fine tribute to Gillian, I look forward to reading more about her.

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  4. The first picture is especially adorable.

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  5. What an affectionate and loving tribute to Gillian. The picture of her and John is heart warming. The "little artist" photo is just wonderful.

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  6. I like the B&W photo where she holds the baby in the air; the light is beautiful. And the 60s background is striking, I remember such a heater from my grandparents house in The Hague.

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  7. Lovely stories you have Marilyn, and that is indeed a wonderful shot of her sitting with John.

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  8. Great photos, a great tribute.
    I too love that first photo.

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  9. The first photo does stand out, but your words give us a lovely portrait of someone I'm sure we all would have enjoyed knowing.

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  10. A beautiful and moving tribute to you sister.

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  11. A lovely thing to read, and sweet photographs to look at on a quiet Sunday night. Beautifully done.

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  12. A most wonderful tribute to a fine woman and dear loved one. I do remember you mentioning her passing and at an already heartbreaking time for you.

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  13. A loving tribute. I don't know about you but the older I get the more I appreciate my family and friends

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  14. I love the way you've told Gillian's story. Nicely done, especially linking the first and last photos.

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  15. The first photo is my favorite too but the whole post goes together to give us a little glimpse of her.

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  16. She looks to have been a really lovely person, the type everyone would like in their family. I'm glad you have been able to pay her this tribute. She looks remarkably young in all the photos - and although there was obviously sadness in her life it is clear that she had a loving and constructive existence.Funny - I do feel that I like her ... even though I didn't know her!

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  17. Beautiful, touching tribute and a wonderful read.
    Lovely how you've mirrored some of the photos xx

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  18. A wonderful tribute to your sister in law together with fabulous old photos. I must get back to Sepia Saturday one day.

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