Soundtrack to my mum's life
When you lose a parent, flashbacks can come along at funny times but ultimately, make you feel closer to that individual who brought you into the world.
But it is rarely I think of my long-gone mum as the person she must have been as a young woman, pre-motherhood and with her whole life ahead of her - unaware of the cancer that would take her early and still with young children.
My dad’s imminent house move saw me rifling through his cupboards and discovering memory upon memory tucked dustily away.
This included several boxes of vinyl records, particularly one box of 45s which spoke volumes about my mum’s passions as a 60s/70s girl, just discovering purpose and dreams in life.
The colourful singles, well thumbed and carefully marked with my mum’s name in her distinctive, rounded, handwriting, harked back to an era when vinyl records were coveted, expressive and spoke volumes of an era where young people were forging a cultural revolution, flares and all.
Her choices of records, while not particularly unusual for her time, provide a soundtrack for that period of her life before marriage, before I arrived as eldest child and when she dreamed of fighting through the barriers of a traditional family where women only played certain roles.
Not allowed to attend university to become a teacher, she instead ended up at secretarial college and sharing a Manchester flat with her rebellious actor friend Paula Wilcox (later of Man About The House fame).
You can imagine the arguments with her parents, my grandparents, set to the eclectic scratchy records from the music of The Dave Clark Trio, Bobby Vee. Gene Pitney, Joan Baez and of course, The Beatles.
It is fascinating to think how she came about the signed single by the CMJ Trio - I’ve never heard of them but inked on to the record cover their slightly blurred names - Chris, Muff and John.
I imagine a rainy Manchester stage door and mum with arm linked to her friends.
It made me smile.