Tag Archives: the Great Depression

Last Visit Last Page

31 Dec

31 last page

I haven’t blogged for a few days. My dear Dadinlaw died earlier this week and I haven’t had the heart to do anything much. I had my sketchbook on me on my last visit to the hospital and found some consolation sketching through the window. I wondered why hospitals always seem to have a large chimney. At the top of the hill in the distance is the local psychiatric hospital, also with a large chimney. My final visit to the hospital coincided with the last page in my purple silk recycled sari sketchbook. It’s packed with scribbles from hospital visits; we lost so many people we loved over this past year.

Dadinlaw died peacefully after a long illness and the nursing and medical staff caring for him were so kind to him and our family and treated him with gentleness and dignity. Sometimes things go wrong in the NHS and we shouldn’t shirk from complaining and making sure that problems are confronted, but when things work as they should, and mostly they do, the care is exemplary and we should be proud of what Dadinlaw’s generation set up, for it was they who created the NHS, pensions, free education, all the things we take for granted. They grew up in the poverty of the Great Depression in the 19320’s and ’30’s and made sure that their children and grandchildren didn’t suffer as they did.

And now we’re in danger of losing their marvellous vision through the idiocy of ignorant, overpriviledged politicians who have no idea of the reality of poverty nor the moral compass to want to do something about it. We can’t afford to be complacent; we owe it to the generation that is now dying out to keep their legacy alive.

Sad Day, Happy Flowers

31 Jul

Yesterday was a sad one, the funeral of my dear aunt who died after a long illness, aged 87. Although we had been expecting it for some time, it’s still a shock and grieving is hard. She’s the last of her generation on that side of my family, which means that my cousins and sibling and I are now the elders. That’s a sobering thought for a bunch of baby boomers who still feel like we’re 25 – well in our heads anyway. She lived through World War Two and before that had suffered terrible poverty during the Great Depression. Her husband of 66 years and childhood sweetheart had gone to school without shoes or socks, whatever the weather. We, thankfully, have no idea of that level of poverty anymore. They created the welfare state after the war, the National Health Service, free universal education, decent housing, social services, pensions, all done for our benefit, to make sure we didn’t suffer the deprivation they had. And now we see selfish millionaire public-schoolboy politicians trying to dismantle what that brave generation worked so hard and so selflessly to achieve. I have no words to describe my contempt.
As we waited in the watery sunshine for the hearse to arrive at the pretty little church in Waunarlwydd, I noticed a small group of pale purple pansies growing out of a crack at the base of the step leading into the church. Nobody had doused them with weedkiller and people stepped over them carefully. I love pansies, they have those daft little faces in the middle of their nodding heads with big ears. It cheered me up to see them surviving in such an unlikely place, so I drew them in my sketchbook.

 

 

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