Adele and Great-Grandma Tate
The object I inherited was a 1930s dressing table and I inherited it from my Great-Grandma. The reason why I’ve chosen this object is because I’ve admired it since I was a little girl and I always knew, and my Grandma always knew, that I would be gettin’ that when she passed. So, when she actually died everybody was like, "Oh well you know who’s got the dressing table, Adele’s got her name on that." So that was really special
that like everybody knew how important it was to me as well, not just my Grandma.
I didn’t really think of my Great-Grandma as my Great-Grandma because we saw as much as we saw my Grandma, so she was always just Grandma rather than Great-Grandma Tate.
And it came with a pair of wardrobes: a Lady’s and a Gentleman’s, and I used to often play on it when I was little. So to own it when I was older was like really, really special. I love my dressing table. Like, the style of it is very in keeping with the kind of vintage style that I really, really like and one of the favourite things I like about it is that my Great-Grandma’s Dad, so my Great-Great-Granddad, erm used to work in the
furniture shop that she’d got the furniture from. So it was like really, really, really old and special and it just felt, always felt looked really old but she kept it really nice. So even when I got it, it was in like really good nick. I use my object every single day. Everyday I sit at my dressing table. It’s got all my very modern things like hair straighteners and hair dryers and stuff in the drawers, but I use it all the time. It’s got a three way mirror which is like really interestin’ as well cos it’s not a usual feature of an old fashioned dressing table set. So everyday I kind of look at myself in that I suppose, which is okay I suppose.
I value it because it reminds me everyday of my Grandma. So I suppose it’s like her memory’s kind of like locked in the drawers and in the mirrors and stuff.
Everytime I sit at it, it kind of like brings a memory of her in her flat, and of me there with her, to mind. But when I first got it, everything had just been packed away; when we were preparing for the funeral, we had to clear her flat. So my Grandma and my Aunt and me Mam had put like bits of everything everywhere, just in drawers to get it out, cos they needed the flat cleared. And when we got the furniture home, I looked inside the drawers of the dessing table and inside was the hat that she’d worn at my Mam’s weddin’ and two scarves. One was like a Christmasy scarf and one had like a nautical pattern on it. And she was quite a stylish woman, my Grandma, and she did enjoy very much a good neck scarf . . . and, they just smelt of her. They just smelt of my Grandma’s house. In those first few weeks and months after she died, that was lush . . . havin’ that. And when I was missin’ her, being able to pick up the scarf and just smell my Grandma was really nice, really lovely. And they don’t smell of her anymore, which is a real shame. Cos there’s some times when I just think, oh I just wish I could smell those again. Just smell it, cos it was just dead special. So I really like that about it. And there was also a small bible with a wooden cover and back. And in the front of the bible she’d written all of the children’s birthdays. And there was like old erm, like ticket stubs from cinemas that she’d been to and like receipts from things that she’d bought, and little thank you cards she’d received off people. She’d kept them all in these different pages of this bible. So it was like when I inherited the dressing table, I inherited everything that she kept in there as well, which was really nice cos nobody in my family knew anything about the bible. That must have been in there all the time when she was using it.
Describing this person in four words would be really, really hard because . . . she’s . . . God it would be just so hard to try and knuckle it down to four words. I suppose the main thing was that she was a listener. So you could talk to her about anything and she would really listen and give great advice. Completely impartial advice as well, cos she had a lot of Grandchildren and a lot of children herself. Erm . . . that she was a Northerner. A true, true Northerner. She grew up in the heart of Gateshead and she had very much Gateshead values built into her. Erm . . . that she was kind like, beyond, beyond words. She just would do anything for anyone. I mean she was 96 when she died she was still prepared to do anything she possibly could for anyone. And that she was lovin’. You know so, so generous with her love. She shared it out so equally and well between all of her family. She was just like an amazin’ Grandma to have. I feel very lucky and fortunate that I had my Grandma in my life for like 26 years. I felt very, very erm . . . privileged.
The first thing I think of is pinnies, which is a really silly thing to say erm but, she always used to wear this little pinny with like a little frill around it erm and every time I used to go up, which normally would be around dinner time, she’d have this on because she’d be doing her cookin’ in the kitchen. Erm and I also think of Rington’s. Rington’s tea, which is like a Northern tea brand. Because she only ever drank Rington’s tea. She got me hooked on Rington’s tea from a very early age. And she used to get the Rington’s man come to her door and she just kind of instilled that in our family. So those are the kinda two things I think about.
A happy memory . . . there are so many. I used to go up like every Saturday, so every Saturday was a great day to be honest. I suppose a lot of the really, really fab memories I have, have been just at those normal days when I was with my Grandma. Nothin’ particularly special or, it wasn’t a special occasion or stand out you know, event, but just being there every Saturday for as long as I was, was amazin’ in itself so . . . that’s pretty much that.
I do have a faith, I suppose, erm I would say that I’m Christian, but I don’t practice. I believe in God, and that definitely did help me when I was grieving because I used to pray a lot when she first died. Like, so I could still talk to her. So I wasn’t actually prayin’ to God I was like prayin’ to Grandma, which I know sounds really stupid, but it kind of was like a channel for me to speak to her after she’d gone. And because as well, I
was worried about like how other members of the family were copin’ with her death. Cos at 96 she was the glue that held our whole family together, and when somebody who’s that . . . sticky, in that sense, dies, often like things can then start to fall apart. And I was, I was really worried about that, especially the toll it would take on my Grandma, like her daughter. Erm so bein’ able to like kinda speak to her in that way was really, really important. Erm and I still do that now, I still go to the cemetery and speak to her when she’s there. And when I got married I left my bouquet on her head stone. And I had like her earrings, erm a pair of her earrings, and a brooch that had been inherited by another family member (my Grandma I think), I had them woven into my bouquet. So it was like she was with me on my wedding day as well, cos she wasn’t, she wasn’t there obviously, which was really nice.
Erm if I could say one more thing . . . it would be thank you. Because she helped me so much. I had some major decisions to make in my life at that point. Erm when she was in hospital, Jamie and I were just on the verge of movin’ to London, and I didn’t know whether I was gonna apply for this job, or whether I was going to move. And I know it was really upsettin’ like my Mam and Dad cos we were gonna move so far away. And my Grandma was so ill . . . and I went to see her and my Mam had told me maybes I shouldn’t go because she was so, so ill. Erm and I went to see her anyway and she was quite like upbeat, she’d had quite a good day. And she was asking us how I was feelin’ about applyin’ for the job and stuff, and I asked her advice that day and she just said that I should just go for it because I wouldn’t know what would happen until I went for
it and if it wasn’t right, I could always move back home. And I got the job and we moved and it was, you know, one of the best two years of my entire life. And I probably wouldn’t have gone if it wasn’t for Grandma. So, I definitely wanna say thank you.
Erm . . . and that’s all.