Living Between the Lines,  Mum is the word

When Inspiration Strikes…

The notebook
The notebook
A trip back to my late mother’s house in Essex, unearthed a real gem recently.

The small, blue, notebook was crammed with recipes, some written on the pages in her neat, cursive hand, others culled from newspapers and bearing stories of mystery and intrigue on the back of a recipe for peanut butter cookies and trifle. These stories are sometimes just a headline, sometimes whole paragraphs…never the whole story. What a feast for the imagination!

My mother started collecting the recipes when she married my father in October 1948, perhaps even before that! Having survived all these years, the pages are yellowed and worn with time but there is a treasure trove within.

One piece of notepaper did not contain a recipe. It contained the detailed routine she was obliged to follow when in the maternity hospital, giving birth to my sister, in 1949. I can only gasp at the rigidity of the rules and the fact that my mother had been obliged to write them down, lest she forget. What a good thing times have moved on! BBC’s “Call the Midwife,” immediately springs to mind.

Maternity hospital routine 1949
Circa 1949 – Maternity Ward routine

The notebook, its recipes and its stories, are fueling the writer in me. So, my year of word starvation is at an end, hooray! I look a little longingly at those books loitering on my bookshelves that I would love to read but, instead, I pick up the metaphorical pen and begin to set ideas down. It’s good to be back!

I am an Author, wife to one, mother to five and grandmother to six. I live in the English countryside in Hampshire, UK, with my husband and two dogs and am a non exec Director for Glow


  • patricia60

    How wonderful to discover such a find from your Mum’s herstory. Wow! We found my mother’s daily journal after her death about 12 volumes – hardbound. Each calendar day for 12 years had the weather for that day, any appointments, and accomplishments such as paid the garbage bill. No commentary whatsoever. We gleaned what we could and thought about the order of my mother’s day and her personality. One of my favorite Mother journaling stories is WHEN WOMEN WERE BIRDS by Terry Tempest Williams. Mormon women were to write a journal everyday of their lives. When William’s mother died she received 54 volumes of her mother’s journey and it turned out to be an amazing surprise – a wealth of information shared. T.T. Williams is one of the top environmentalists in the USA….an archeologist by training. One amazing read. I carry the book with me always on my phone 54 voices just right for waiting my turn somewhere. Glad you are back writing. I so enjoy your stories 🙂

    • Debbie

      Thank you for sharing Patricia, your mother’s journals must be very special. I am sure you can glean much from them, even if there is no sub text to the daily logs. Looking at my own teenage diaries, I find gems such as: “Filled in application form for work as a nursery nurse…I would like to work on board a liner, I hope that’s possible – the information says it is,” Needless to say, I did not become a nursery nurse, nor did I work on a liner (this long ago wish is particularly funny since I hate being on a boat!) LOL!

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