My mother, Marian, was born on this day in 1921.
She was born at home, during the day, in an upstairs bedroom in Army Road, Clapham, according to Uncle Eddie, who took me for a walk around Clapham in about the year 2000. I think the road has been renamed but the house is still there. Later on they moved around the corner to the house my Mum remembered.
Auntie Mary is still alive and fabulous in South Africa. In 2001 she told me about how she met my mother. This is the story:
The midwife came in and turned the dining table upside down on the carpet. She put Mary (who was three and a half) and Eddie (who was about 18 months old) on the table top with some slices of bread and butter and told them "This carpet is the sea and this table is a boat. If you get off the boat you'll fall into the sea and drown, so stay where you are." Then she went upstairs.
It worked. Mary and Eddie stayed on their boat floating in their imaginary sea, eating their bread and butter rations, while upstairs the baby was coming into the world. Later on, their big sister Gladys, aged 8, came home from school and looked after them until they were allowed upstairs to see their new sister.
My family has always been susceptible to the power of stories.