Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Long and Winding Road.

Nana and Granddad on their wedding day, March 1957

Granddad and Auntie Ruth, my mother's younger sister.

Nana and Granddad. With Ruth, left, my mother Hazel, middle, and Sandra, right. Blackpool beach, circa 1964.

Granddad Bill with Sandra, left, and my mother, right, 1962. Outside the old telephone exchange in Ashton, Manchester. That wasteland is now a dual carriage way and roundabout.

Granddad on the right, with a friend.

Anything I write seems to come out wrong, like I really shouldn't be saying anything, instead of trying to formulate my tangled thoughts into a coherent paragraph.

There are few things that come along to make you drop everything and put your life on hold. Few things make you call work and tell them not to expect you in for a few weeks, get an extension on your dissertation from university and travel across the country to get back home while having only packed 1 set of underwear and no phone charger. You should be more organised than this.

But when someone you love dies, not much matters, apart from going home to be with your family and come to terms with your grief. My granddad had been suffering for a number of years, and we all maintain the belief that the only reason he lasted so long was out of sheer determination to give us all as much grief for as long as possible.

My granddad Bill was the last of his generation of my family. The eldest now is my mother's older sister. It's sad to see this generation disappearing. But in coping with our grief, registering his death, organising his funeral and his estate, numerous stories have come to light that illuminate my granddad's life like never before.

While at the registrar's office to register his death, we had to produce his birth certificate, which was a fairly recent copy. I asked my aunt why it was a reproduction, she told me it was because when my granddad and my nana had an argument once, my nana threw it on the fire. We think she was trying for their marriage certificate, but not wearing her glasses she threw his birth certificate on instead.

The house my mother grew up in was contracted for demolition, to make way for a road system that would mean the whole neighbourhood would be demolished. My mother's family were the last family to move out of their home, because my granddad wanted the largest payout. My mother said there were rats running around the deserted streets, but my granddad was determined to stay until they gave him what he deemed an 'adequate' sum to move out of the family home.

My granddad lived his whole life in Ashton, Manchester. He worked as a builder and gained a large group of friends through his loyalty, wit and drinking habits. Although he suffered towards the end, I will always remember him as a caring granddad through my own memoies, and as a hell-raiser young man through the memories of others.

Bill Garside, 1930 - 2011.

Miss you, Granddad.