On January 5th 2018, it is twenty five years to the day that my mum died. She died twenty years and two days after my nain died.
The Reso was inspired by her and carried on her legacy of keeping the strands of family and local history in place. She was a spider knitting the web of our family history together, linking the south and mid Wales branches of the family together. She did this in generous ways, both with visits, and hospitality at home to anyone who considered themselves family or friends of the family, as well as regular epistles to the further flung members of the family. These took the form of almost weekly letters to the Rhondda Valley and less regular flimsy, blue, tightly written letters to the family in the United States.
If only computers had been available then and Crid could have averted her distrust of things technological, what a wonderful archive the family might have had – fifty years of family “hanes” dealing with the sublime, the mundane and the ridiculous in vivid detail.
My mum had a wondrous generosity of spirit. I think this more than anything else defined her.
I was often the victim of it. She would often reallocate my toys or clothes to others in greater need of them than I. My prize anorak with badges of all the towns and regions we visited on holiday in the Low Countries stitched on the sleeves, went to one cousin. Later a prize jacket went to another cousin in South Wales. My Airfix models disappeared on a regular basis, indeed faster than I could build them to the less fortunate.
Getting rather weary of the benevolence of St Crid at my expense, I hid her costume jewellery once and told her that I had distributed it amongst the poor in the community. I thought she would explode and I could rejoin with “Now you know how I feel when you give my clothes and toys away!” She didn’t, she pondered a little and said “OK” as if she was a little miffed not to have thought of it before.
Apart from a brief flurry in the mid sixties when, as Mr MacMillan had said “We’d never had it so good!”, money was always tight in our family. There was always food on the table and the bills were paid promptly and we never bought anything on tick. We were happy to make do with broken Malted Milk biscuits sold loose at Woolworths and to lower our sights on more expensive items. When I had my first bike it was second-hand. but it had been prepared and re-painted by my dad, which more than made up for that.
Most of all, my mum made sure we had a happy childhood, shielded from many unpleasant realities, and full of laughter and fun.
I’m just sorry that the Reso was published after her death, as no-one would have rejoiced in reading it more than her.