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Thread: January 1965

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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Default January 1965

    Dead people. Not nice to view. I can still remember when my Nanna died in Liverpool in January 1965 at age 67 -- she was born August 4, 1897 in Gateshead, County Durham. It was around the time of my seventeenth birthday, and I had gone back to live with my grandparents after spending five years in school in the United States... I was homesick. By early '65, I was at Quarry Bank High School for Boys, where John Lennon went around a decade earlier (the Beatles were originally known as the Quarrymen); some of the boys had books with his name in them.

    My Nanna had been diagnosed with angina. She died at Sefton General Hospital on Smithdown Road. She had an enlarged heart from getting rheumatic fever as a girl. The doctors asked my Grandad if they could kindly have the heart for research. Grandad refused. Good for him. I don't know what I would feel about such a request today. Since I work in health care it occurs to me that such a chance to examine the heart might have advanced science. Or not. Mmmm.

    I think today it's a bizarre ritual but my grandfather chose to have the open coffin in the lounge. That was the "posh" room at the front of the house where we entertained guests and my Nanna had her best ornaments on the mantle piece and the windowshelf, in contrast to the dining room at the back of the house looking out on my grandad's rose garden and small greenhouse beyond the back lawn.

    When guests visited us, my grandfather would sit enthroned in the lounge drinking his favorite Teacher's scotch and smoking a Burma cheroot. It was also where we had our small lighted Christmas tree each festive season.

    I refused to go in and see the body when I was asked to do so, but late at night I did sneak in. My Nanna had cotton wool in her nostrils. It made her corpse appear even more other-worldly. I don't think that's something an American funeral home would do, and why they did it in England for Nanna I don't know.

    My Mum flew over from Baltimore for the funeral. It was around the time the aged former prime minister and Second World War leader Sir Winston Churchill died. On the black and white TV, we saw the Union Jack-draped coffin being paraded through the streets of London. He was ultimately buried at Bladon churchyard, Oxfordshire, within sight of Blenheim Palace where he had been born in 1874, a member of the family of the Duke of Marlborough whose ducal seat was Blenheim.

    No Union Jack-decorated coffin for Nanna. A long-time footballing friend of my Grandad's named "Uncle Bruce" had a funeral business. In the cold January air we climbed into shiny black limousines to follow the hearse to the crematorium at Anfield cemetery past leafless trees.

    Nanna has left me:
    the coffin disappears,
    curtains slowly close.


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    Senior Member kevin's Avatar
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    Chris,
    That's bizarre. My Nan died the same year and I had a very similar experience. The only difference was my Nan was 92 and my Grandad had died before I was born.
    She was laid out in the front room of her house in Makin St, Walton. I was expected to kiss her but I was 14 and the thought freaked me out. Years later I kissed my mum after she passed and it seemed the most natural way to say goodbye.
    Kevin

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    Senior Member burkhilly's Avatar
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    My granddad died around the late 60s. I remember going to my nans and everyone was sitting around the living room and under the window was the coffin. I'd never seen anything like it and never forgotten. I do beleive it was the norm at that time.

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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Thank you, Kevin and burkhilly, for sharing your similar experiences.

    Chris
    Christopher T. George
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    perfectly normal, when i grew up in kirkby my best mate's dad jack was a merchant seaman, absolutely adored by all, and i mean that, anyway he died of heart disease in his early fifties

    when i went to the house they had the open coffin in the dining room at the end of the table and the whole family ate their meals there with jack in attendance

    they even joked that last night at dinner they thought jack had nicked a pork pie off the table

    he was such a nice man and so missed there was nothing morbid or sad at his presence, the only problem came when on the day of the funeral the funeral directors men came to take the coffin, they could not bear to part with him, then the tears came

    it was a wonderful experience and a great way to say goodbye

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    Senior Member brian daley's Avatar
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    My four grand parents all died within a 5 year period. Being away from Liverpool ,I could not physically attend their separate funerals.
    As a result ,my memory's of each of them is of a living being.Lives without end. The very first funeral I attended was that of my uncle Bill. It started off as a mournful occassion but,once the funeral rites had been completed ,we retired to a banquetting room and soon the tears began to dry and people turned to each tellig their own tale of the deceased. Laughter started to fill the air and Billy's widow,Sarah,turned to me and said "Billy would have loved this"
    Last edited by brian daley; 09-11-2010 at 10:25 AM. Reason: Spelling

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