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Posts Tagged ‘YorksHire’

image from http://www.toutlecine.com –  From humble beginnings.

One of my favourite films has always been “My Fair Lady” with Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. It appealed to me on many levels. Most of all because my mother had told me from when I was small that “I could be anything I wanted to be”. Of course that meant I had to want it enough to work hard to attain it, just as Eliza did in “My Fair Lady”.  There was something so deeply satisfying when she had managed to shed her  “common London accent” and not only speak like a lady but truly act like one, to the extent that she really was a lady. That, for me at least,  epitomised not just the possibility of attaining your dream, but the reality that anything could be achieved.

From such small beginnings did my dreams and desires become formed. I used the tools of the “Law of Attraction” before I had even heard of it and built up my picture of how I desired my life to be. The inspiration from books and films gave me the scope to build dreams to reach any heights I wished. “Mary Poppins” was another favourite, for a mere Governess she had impeccable diction, far better than her employers. Then, we all knew that she was special in more ways than one.

image from rottentomatoes.com

One of the defining factors in my life was the divisions I saw around me as I was growing up. It was based on how one spoke, dressed and acted, but also on ones perceived place in the community. In England the class system was still in full swing. In a country where a few miles could show a change in dialect, a difference in the way people behaved and the ‘allegiances’ one had, it was  important to learn, if not how to be ‘a lady’, at least how to blend in as much as possible. Things may be different today, I doubt it, but back then it was how the lines were drawn. The Yorkshire dialect is one of the most interesting as you can hear, here.

That may sound like a simple thing to do but in a country where those idiosyncrasies in speech were cast iron identifiers, it was no simple feat. I was a voracious reader and was encouraged by my mother to read anything which interested me. The only codicil, to discuss anything I didn’t understand with her first!  I started copying the speech patterns of the characters in the books. The more I practiced however, the wider the divide became between myself and the children in my neighborhood. It was difficult. Then I won a grant to attend an all girls college on the other side of town. Still safe to travel in those days, it simply meant long days, the travel added to the school day and hours and additional homework to be fitted in. I was one of those unusual people  who enjoyed school luckily. My mother said my first word was ” why” and it never changed.

image from mysteriesandmanners.wordpress.com   Crushed by language and station.

The college I attended had girls from many of the surrounding districts, each with their own unique way of speaking. There was definite group segregation established. This made co-operation in class very difficult to say the least. My English teacher,  one of my favorites decided the “class divisions” would not be tolerated in her class. I need to point out that English was divided into two subjects, English Language and Literature. It all went to feed my love of English, poetry, prose and novels.  Her solution was simple. During her classes all the material being studied would be read aloud. From snide comments and snickers over the peculiar way each group spoke we were all taught to speak with no emphasis on the consonants and vowels, if not perfectly, then with as little emphasis as possible.

It made for quite a unique group within the school since we no longer fitted into any ‘group’ now. For me it was one step closer to throwing off the markers which locked me into a class system and gave me an advantage for the future. The only downside at this time was that it completely ostracised me from the children in my neighborhood. It was a lonely time and my sole consolation was my mother’s admonition that “I could be anything I wanted to be”.

I owe a great deal, both to my mother and Mrs Keighthly since they did make my life much easier several years later.

image from imdb.com   Beautiful, serene, mysterious and an exquisite lady.

After  my grandmother had passed away the family emigrated to Australia, the land of opportunity. It was an enormous culture shock, but I had one huge advantage. When we, my brothers and I, went to school, no-one realised that I was “a Pom”.  You wouldn’t think such a simple label could cause so much angst. With my ‘non accent’ I escaped totally unscathed, but not so my brothers. The ridicule for speaking “funny” was unbelievable. Perhaps most horrifying was the singular mockery from a Kiwi teacher my brother had to endure. Everything from the way he spoke, wrote his essays to his refusal to be cowed by this bullying was a target for this man.

His error? He learned I was at the school also, in a higher grade, and had the unmitigated gall to ask me, in front of my classmates in a loud voice,”How come a girl like you ended up with a brother like him?”  He was referring, of course, to my lack of a Yorkshire accent.

Unfortunately for both the teacher and the school principal they had to deal with my mother the following day. Sometimes justice does prevail. Apologies to my brother, mother and myself were followed by his transfer from the school. I only hope he never taught anywhere else after that.

I was told the other day I sounded like an Australian, which made my husband laugh. I’ve managed to ‘fit in’ so that my background is not immediately apparent, but the idiosyncrasies are plain for all to hear. There is always my love of unusual words, a difference in diction which sets me apart. It’s not that I desire to be different, it’s simply who  I am. I love the richness of the tapestry English language gives me and I unconsciously use it all the time. My brothers have “acclimatised” but retain some of their “Yorkshire ‘isms.’

image from http://www.collectingbooksandmagazines.com  Accents one al all.

The truth is not so strange really.  I’m neither typically Aussie nor typically English. I have, perversely, retained an unyielding dislike for putting ‘tags’ on people, so being a Pom or an Aussie is not welcomed. This is my home, the country I would defend should the need arise, but I don’t require a label to do so. I firmly believe that my choice to live here means embracing all that Australia is, and leaving my past behind. The divisions which exist here, or in any country, due to race, colour or creed are brought about because people fail to understand one simple truth. If you wish to move to another country, for a better life, then you must be willing to accept all that country is.

It does not mean losing your identity, nor your religion, but you must assimilate into your new society and community. Such refusal to become part of your new country is a rejection of the reason you came here. If you cannot accommodate the ways of your new country, in this case Australia, then you shouldn’t be here, you should be back where your way of life fits in.

Perhaps that is harsh, but then life can be harsh. If you want to be saved from the tyranny of your own land then, by default, you should not bring those very elements of your old life to this country and try to foist them on your new country, thereby causing divisiveness here also.  Australia is an English-speaking country and at the least it should be mandatory that all people be able to speak and understand the language of the country. I wouldn’t emigrate to or seek refuge in a foreign speaking country and expect them to change for my sake.

Then, this is simply my opinion, and fortunately we still retain the semblance of freedom of speech. Just to finish my opinions, I reject the implication that we, or any Australians, should be forced to change or subjugate our religious beliefs because new Australians feel they can and will impose their beliefs on the country which accepted them.

image from izquotes.com     The Secret to Freedom Everywhere.

These are my ideas and my experiences. What holds true for me may not for you, but I hope they give you something to think about.

What would you say?

Ciao, Susan

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image from el3mentsofwellness.com

The mind is a strange and wonderful thing, it can fill you with delight and excitement and it can also eclipse you in shadows and tears.  It’s the quintessential offering between dark and light, depending on how you approach things. Memories are the living reminders of the past, where friendly apparitions walk through our minds and hearts, helping us to recall the fun, the frivolity, the serious and the sad events of our life. Our highest of highs and lowest of lows.

Yesterday, January 2nd was my time to take a ramble through the laneways of my mind, my memories, as I recalled what that day means for me and where my rambling took me. On January 2nd 1998, at 12.15am, my father William Lister passed away as I sat by his hospital bedside. His two year battle with his illness was finally over and as I held his hand, (I have to admit) I was relieved that his pain was finally over. He had crossed over to join the rest of our family who were in spirit and the next stage of his existence had begun.

It was a cruel irony that the last two years of his life were spent in a mammoth struggle to “soldier on”, typical for a man who spent his National Service in Egypt and Switzerland, in an attempt to save his family from as much distress as possible. Such is the nature of the man, and the atypical “stiff upper lip” and non complaining attitude of the Yorkshire man he was, that no-one ever heard him complain.

William Lister (Dad) 1954, shortly before his deployMent to  Egypt.

William Lister (Dad) 1954, shortly    before his deployment to Egypt.

In life he was an irreverent rogue, filled with fun and frivolity, an irrepressible funster with an ever-present smile or cheeky grin, whom everyone loved as everyone I can recall fell under his spell.  He was a genuine gentleman and everyone respected that.  He was definitely someone who was in touch with his “inner child” and gloried in playing with him – especially where his children were concerned, and when they came along, his grandchildren.  Everyone knew his greatest passion in his life was his wife, Patricia, (Mum), and with very little difference was the joy he had in and with his children, and  later his grandchildren, he surrounded us with unconditional love. His “inner child” had plenty of opportunity to come out and play. Children simply loved him.  His family was the centre of his universe and he was a truly contented man. He told me during our long wait that he had wanted for nothing more from life than he had been given.

So yesterday was spent acknowledging the sadness of loss but tempered with the knowledge of the love, the fun and games, the satisfaction he had in and for his life and the great joy he brought to so many, both in the family and to his friends outside the family. The great happiness and joy he brought to my life. At the “end of the day” we can all only ask for this much and if we have achieved it then we have served the Universe and Spirit well.

Patricia Lister (Mum) 1995

Patricia Lister (Mum) 1995

We, those left behind, always wish for more, especially more time. Yet love knows no boundaries of the flesh. As I write this I know he is here with me now. I sense his presence, I smell his scent and I know he is here as he was with me yesterday. It is a comfort and support, and what more can I ultimately ask for?  His presence prompts me to remember all the good times and although it takes a long time, and there are occasions when I slip, I grieve a little and then remember the fun and happiness and go on again. Whilst the memories may be bittersweet, they are still sweet, never gone, never forgotten and ready to reach out and comfort if we need it.

In my meditation last night I blessed and gave thanks for the wonders of the silken chains of love, of family, of friends which we forge. During life and beyond they remain, ready still to love, to comfort and to teach. I am grateful for the wonderful times I had and which I can remember always.

I am grateful for the lessons I have learned, that the spirits of our loved ones still remain, that we are all spirits in a physical incarnation. There is a sense of peace in knowing this and in feeling this, so that even on my walk down “Memory Lane”  I am mindful of the knowledge that he is with me still, acceptance of our souls growth through life and beyond, and that we have each chosen our life lessons even if we often have a difficult time understanding them.

William Lister (Dad) 1995

William Lister (Dad) 1995

In the heat of the cemetery yesterday standing with my husband Ray at my side, a breeze blowing zephyr like through the trees, the birdsong from the nearby bush a chorus in the background to soothe us, a young hare suddenly darted out of the gardens, charging up the edge of the grass verge before bounding across the road and into the bush on the other side.  To say it was a pleasant surprise would be an understatement. It most certainly lightened the sadness.

I looked up the mystical meaning of seeing a hare, and considering where I saw it I think it was particularly  relevant.

The Romany (Gypsies) believe a hare is a lucky omen.

Some Native Americans see hare as a messenger telling you to put fear behind you and get on with your life.

Since our ancestry is both Celtic (Irish) and  Romany, I couldn’t think of a better sign from Dad that he was definately there with us.

I Love you Dad.

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