Stourbridge and Brierely Hill

Trip Start Aug 03, 2010
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Trip End Aug 31, 2010


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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Thursday, August 5, 2010

After breakfast today Peter and I went to mass at St. Mary in Brierley Hill. The mass was short and sweet and right after the pastor  said hello and then shooed us out of the church as it was the first day of his summer holiday.  Peter and I went for a "cuppa" tea at the market just down the street with three ladies from the church, Olive, Ann and Norma.  Olive is a real character and talked a mile a minute.  She cornered me right after mass as if she had known me all her life and told me someone should know that she would be in Scotland starting Monday.  She didn't want to tell any of the men.  I reckon Olive to be about 80 years old.  She asked me if I had ever been to Scotland and if liked it.  I told I had been and that I thought it was a beautiful place.  That seemed to satisfy her.  Ann was hard of hearing but could hear if you spoke loudly enough.  She was also older, in her seventies or so.  Norma was younger than me and was very easy to talk to.  Peter and I took Ann home.

Shortly after we arrived back home Peter’s daughter Edwinna and her son, Cameron, came to visit.  They live an hour away and come on Thursdays to visit.  Edwinna is expecting another baby around Christmas.  It was fun day being with them.  Cameron was shy at first.  We went to the park just down the hill and fed the ducks, swans and Canada geese.   We went to Sainesbury’s grocery store to get food for lunch.  When we got back we had roasted chicken, crusty tiger bread,  and salad from the garden.  Cameron loved his chicken and yogurt.  When lunch was finished we had a “cuppa” tea and Edwinna and Cameron headed home.

Soon after they left Peter took me to see Auntie Gemma in Stourbridge.  She lives on the same road that Gran lived, and where Peter and his brothers and sisters were raised.  When Mom and Dad moved to England when I was 2, we also lived there.  She looked good but older and more stooped with osteoporosis.   She is getting more and more forgetful of current events, but she remembers her childhood and earlier times with great clarity.  She told stories of Grandad taking the rail workers out on strike and organizing the union.  She talked about how he was the first Labor Party candidate ever elected to the council in Stourbridge.  She talked about uncle Joe in school and how he passed all his exams early at age 9 and again at age 15 but was not allowed to move up because he had not  done all the work.  She talked about how he worked at the rail station and somewhere else because he refused to go back to school.  He was in the Seminary with the White Fathers but was rejected by a vote of the community and came home.  He went somewhere else for short time, I gathered it was a diocesan seminary.  He did not like it because it wasn’t the same as community life in the Order.  Then he served 1-2 years in military service.  When he left the service he became a school teacher and then met Auntie Pat.  She talked about her husband, uncle Tom, who died about 4-5 years ago.  She showed Peter and me the photos of her daughter Madeleine who got married last December at age 46.  She married the brother of her sister-in-law.  It was sad to leave Auntie Gemma and say goodbye, as I will probably never see her again in this life.

On the way back we stopped at Peggy’s to set up the time for our evening meal.  Right after we pulled up Peggy got home chauffeured by her son Steven.  I hadn’t seen Steven since 1971 when he was a boy.  Steven has travelled a lot in the states, even to Columbus.  I told him if he ever comes again to let me know.  Then Steven’s brother, Jonathan, came home and I got to see him too.  He was even younger in 1971.

When we returned to Peter’s Aidan got home from work and I had a chance to talk to him.  He told me the saga about trying to get qualified as a professional photographer.  He has worked very hard and the pictures I’ve seen are all extremely good. 

Peter, Barbara, Peggy, Angela and I went out for supper.  Peter, Peggy and Angela are siblings and my cousins.  I used to write to Angela when I was a girl.  We ate at the Bell which advertised British food.  The Bell is at Bell’s End.  We had two bottles of wine and great meals.  I had  Lamb with mint sauce and it was delicious.  Everyone shared great stories that kept us laughing and we closed the place down.  Peggy and Angela came for coffee after at Peter and Barbara’s.  I didn’t get to start typing this blog until almost midnight.
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