when me, my mum and my dad moved to brentwood, my parents needed to find themselves a child minder. the first one, was actually the lady we had bought our house from. it didn’t work out. the second one, i vaguely remember but i wasn’t there long. it didn’t work out. but the third one, well that was mrs child. mrs child the childminder. an appropriate name if ever you could have one. even now writing this, i couldn’t bring myself to write about her by her first name, 30 years on she is still mrs child, and i’m sure she is too all, that she ever looked after.
she lived at the corner house at the end of a terrace, with a big weeping willow in the front garden. she had six children of her own and they had all flown the nest. she had so much life in her soul, and having children around kept her young and happy.
back then in the day, like i said 30 years back now, she had quite a brood of us to look after everyday, all of varying ages, some brothers, some sisters and we all went to the same school just up the road.
in the morning my mum would drop me off on her way to the station to get into the city for a day at the office. i would have my breakfast and as soon as all the other kids had arrived we would make our way up the road to our school together. in the evening she would come and collect us and we would all trot back down the road to her house. we would all have our tea together and spend the evening playing in the front room, until the steady flow of parents would arrive to pick us up on the way home from their days at work.
the holidays were chaotic fun, with the house full to bursting point of children.
for me, it was a great way to grow up surrounded by children all the time, but being the only child it meant that i could nip off when the going got tough!
the house was always full of children. if it wasn’t all of us, then her own children would come to visit with their own children. i’m not sure if there was ever a moment when there wasn’t a small shouting out “mrs child!”
she was kind, she was tough, she was fair, she was strict and she was a stickler for manors. she loved to talk. boy could she talk. she also loved to laugh, to the point where she would be crossing her legs trying not to pee her pants!
the last time i saw her was in 1999, when she flew all the way out to tenerife to come to see me wed. she moved away, i moved away, i didn’t get to see her again. every now and again we would speak on the phone, for a long long time!
last week, 30 years on, i am still sending her christmas cards.
today, 30 years on, her daughter called to say she had passed away. this is sad.
her service will be held at the church of my primary school, and she will be buried down the road in the village together with her husband.
i never did get to introduce her to ronnie and Mr HPMcQ. this i already regret. i think she would have loved them both, they have the same love for life that she had. i think she would have been proud of me. i’m sorry mrs child. Mr HPMcQ already knows so much about you, i will make sure that ronnie knows how wonderful you were too.
bye mrs child, i was third time lucky. love you x