Chapter 3 Grandmother’s death
Since leaving the Plymouth Brethren, the family often went to see Grandmother Ann and her husband, Mr Dolphin, in Doddington. Jack loved going there because he loved the countryside. It was such a relaxing change after being in smokey, dirty Liverpool. He enjoyed walking up to the top of Clee Hill, which linked the Midland plains in the East to the Welsh mountains in the West. The view to the East was spectacular — a green sea of rambling countryside.
Grandmother was always to be seen serving customers in their grocer’s shop. Mr Dolphin looked after the supplies and took groceries around to those who couldn’t get about. Jack sometimes accompanied him to help carry orders, while his sisters would help serve in the shop.
It was a shock for the family when the telegram from Mr Dolphin arrived with the message that Grandmother had passed away on 28th February. They decided to all go to the funeral. The journey took them the best part of the day, the train from Lime Street Station to Crewe, another train to Ludlow, passing Shrewsbury on the way. A carriage took them on to Doddington, where Mr Dolphin showed them the way to a friend’s house for the night.
That evening Jack’s father recalled memories of his mother.
“My Mother came from a farming family and she knew what hard work that was, both for the men and the women. She wanted me to have a better life and, as a single mother, she had to work to pay for my education. I grew up with Grandma Stinton while my Mother worked as a cook in Chesterton. I only saw her twice a year while I lived with Grandma. But when she came to see us, she was loving and I knew she wanted the best for me.”
“We lived together in Shrewsbury when I did my apprenticeship there. That’s when I got to know her better. She was a wonderful cook, friendly but not easy on people when it came to working standards. She told me she hadn’t married because she didn’t like my father, and she wanted to be independent. Both she and her mother did a lot for me, and I’m thankful to them both.”
Jack’s sister, Annie, added, “I always thought of her as a determined person. She knew what she wanted and didn’t beat around the bush.”
Jack recalled, “I liked the way Grandmother showed an interest in what we’re doing. That was encouraging.”
“She’s done well to reach seventy-two,” Father said with a sigh. “Let’s pray to God for her soul.”
The funeral took place in St John’s Church, next to the shop.