George Stimpson met Doris Fretwell at a dance and they were married at Huthwaite Parish Church on 13 June 1936.
They honeymooned on the Isle of Man, where George had attended a ‘Young Man’s camp’ in previous years. In those days it was ‘the’ place to holiday.
George introduced Doris to the joys of cycling and they bought a tandem. Together with a close circle of friends they joined the Clarion Cycling Club. With the Herods, Radfords and Rileys they toured Britain staying in Youth Hostels. It was a happy carefree time.
George had trained as a joiner with his Uncle Cyril and with the housing boom there was plenty of work living in Birmingham. After 10 hard years in the Simpson,Wright and Lowe hosiery factory, Doris was able to give up work. They also lived at Drigg in the Lake District when George worked on the Nuclear Power station at what was known as Windscale – now Sellafield. Whilst there they had many opportunities of exploring the Lake District on the bikes.
Their daughter Jean (me) was born in 1942 and they had a rented terrace house in Sutton in Ashfield back in Nottinghamshire, so that Doris could have support from her family whilst George was dispatched to North Africa and Italy for the war effort. See blog on ‘George’s Soldiering Days’ and ‘Meet the Fretwells’.
On George’s return in 1946 they continued their family life together and soon in 1947 a son Alan was born.
Many happy holidays were spent on the East coast travelling by train to Bridlington, Fily and Scarborough.
Then Doris decided they weren’t going to live in a terrace house forever. So George worked hard and they saved and borrowed money to build their own bungalow a mile away on the ‘Junction’ estate which was being part of the Duke of Portland’s land.
Their dream was realised in 1959 when the family moved to 4 Harby Ave, naming the house ‘Hardknott’ which is a gruelling pass in the Lake district.
Then once the children had left home they embarked on coach holidays abroad visiting many countries – Switzerland, Norway, Italy and Ireland.Jean and Alan both married they produced 6 grandchildren to the delight of Doris and George.
In retirement they continued to enjoy life until Doris developed dementia aged 75years with George becoming her carer.
My poem in memory of my mother Doris:
IN THE GARDEN
The memory is etched in my mind
That moment in her garden
She stood all forlorn, alone
Her blank vacant look, unseeing.
Her eyes like lasers pierced my skull
Looking at her favoured daughter.
I braced myself, prepared for this moment
A long held fear of rejection.
She smiled at the unknown stranger
We embraced, I was alone but not deserted.
Merely banished to her unconsciousness.
George lived on his own for 6 years until a stroke necessitated him going into a care home for 6 years where he died in 2006 aged 92 years.
Three score and thirty more, where have all the years gone Dad?
Gone to learn a sum or two, to kick a ball against a wall
To court , to dance, to marry.
Gone to fight a war for King and country, wife and child.
Then after time to build those castles in the sand.
Over the hills your pedals whirr, your feet they tramp.
In weathers good and bad, with good companions all.
Years pass, pages turn in books of make belief – castles in the air.
You earn your daily bread with nails and saw and hammer,
Then you dig your garden; vegetables for the table, roses for your lady.
Over the sea you travel afar, Norway, Switzerland and the Emerald Isle.
Now time to take it easy. A well earned rest is needed
After caring and sharing a life with wife and children two,
Grandchildren, great grandchildren and maybe more on the way.
Dad this is how the years have passed.