The family in 1946 (before Helen was thought of) with Granny Proctor among us

Our Proctor roots

Granny Proctor with Helen and me ~ around 1952

Made a good start on PROCTOR forebears but managed to delete it ~ can't start all over again ~ time to make a pot of tea before Songs of Praise.

Monday 4th : Praise the Lord ~ Sue came and together we changed my sheets ready for laundry collection tomorrow ~ this is going to be the pattern from now on : she will come every Monday ~ one week to hoover stairs etc, the second time to help with bed plus any other job I need doing ~ today she put poppers on the knitted shoulder bag from Ireland that Mary sent me years ago ~ Ellin shortened the strap for me and now it will be my main handbag ~ mind, I go out so rarely these days I scarcely need one ~ once a month to the Eye Clinic in Bridlington is about it.

We don't often have difficult visitors in the yard but there is a noisy family at number 3 ~ children screaming and fighting yesterday morning and tramping over all the gardens ~ Jean Magor over the wall (Annie Parker's daughter) rang me to complain about them, and this morning Sue spotted one of them sneaking across my garden to put rubbish in my blue wheely bin ~ a bit of a nuisance.

Now for the PROCTORS . . .

 To remind myself of the story of Dad's Lincolnshire family, I got out the memoir of his childhood he wrote in 1965, but then got so engrossed in it that there was no time to do any more up here.   He sent us each a copy of the MS but as this was before we all had computers and I suspect before there was a Copy Shop on every High Street he seems to have produced copies for all of us with SEVECARBON COPIES !!   Whatever, the quality of the print is very poor and with my poor eye sight it was not an easy read yet so interesting that I ploughed on through all 96 single spaced A4 sheets _ no, that was before A4 I believe ~ was it foolscap in those days ?

Daddy had written it in 1963 and sent us each a copy shortly afterwards.   I did read it at the time and remember how vividly he described the life of his family in those terraced Lincoln streets ~ respectable working class I think you would have called them ~ and strong Wesleyans.   His father JOE PROCTOR was a dray man for a soft drinks factory,travelling all over the surrounding countryside  with horse and cart delivering to the pubs.  His mother SARAH nee Parke, was a seamstress having served her apprenticeship from leaving school possibly at twelve yearts old.  From what Mother said, their marriage was not happy.  Sarah had hoped to marry another young man but someone once saw him with a glass of beer in his hand and strict Wesleyans that they were, that relationship was blocked.   It seems her parents then chose Joe for her instead ~ but ironically (nay tragically for Sarah) he turned out to be a serious drinker, partly because on his rounds delivering to pubs in the surrounding villages, each landlord would offer him a beer ~ as often as not it was the horse which got him safely home at night, and often in a drunken stupour.   Poor Sarah !   And to think she'd given up the man she loved "because of his drinking."

Years later, Granny Proctor was to tell our Mother grimly : "I never refused him."    Glory be !   Poor Joe !   Poor Sarah !    And in those days no escape !   Joe Proctor was born in Lincoln in 1879, died in Scunthorpe in 1943 ~ Immediately after the War,Sarah his widow, our Grandmother, left Scunthorpe and came to live with us in Bristol ~ she was born in 1877 (so she was older than him) and died in a Bristol care home in 1956.   This was not a happy arrangement ~ she was too young to give up her life in Lincolnshire, her friends, herfellow  Wesleyan s, and indeed she had family up there, her two daughters ~ RUTH and her husband and children, and MAUD with husband and three children.   Until his death Joe and Sarah Proctor had had a shop in DRAGONBY, a few miles from Scunthorpe ~ on her own, Granny took lodgers for company as much as anything but the couple she took in turned out to be nothing but trouble ~ for instance they took to cooking on the small grate in their bedroom ~ sausages, kippers, everything.   Somehow in spite of her two sons-in-law near by,  poor Granny could not turf them out and the solution seemed to be to sell the shop leaving herself homeless ~ she could have found a little house in Scunthorpe but for some reason agreed to up sticks and come down to us in Bristol.

The trouble was that they were from such different backgrounds, our Mother and Granny Proctor that there was always friction between them ~ looking back, I can appreciate how patient and loving Mother was, no easy matter.   Whatever was going on, there was unspoken criticism ~ for instance, NEW SHOES ~ when one of us had to have new shoes it was always because his other pair were falling apart or were no longer big enough.   This meant that the new shoes much to Granny's disapproval, would come into service straight away, at which she would  exclaim in horror that in her day new shoes would be kept for Sunday, for going to Chapel sniff sniff ~ it was useless Mother trying to explain that Mary or William or whichever child it was HAD NO OTHER SHOES ~ Granny would shuffle off to her room muttering "Poor George, poor George . . . "   {marrying this dreadful woman who lumbers him with all these children and then allows them to wear their new shoes to school !}   The very fact that there were so many of us prompted regular outbursts of "Poor George, poor George !"  as if he had nothing whatever to do with it !

As I remember it, Mother was endlessly loving with Granny and tried her best , but it wasn't easy.   They'd given the ground floor playroom over to her, furnished with her own things from Scunthorpe ~ Mum always gave her tea on a tray in the sitting room to spare her a noisy family meal ~ she bought her special treats ~ sometimes a pear (Granny'had a weakness for pears ~ none of the rest of us ever had a pear) a slice of ham for her tea ~ but as often as not this would produce more poor-Georging : "Wasting his hard earned money on such things when I'd be quite happy with bread and dripping !"   She was difficult to love, our Proctor Grandmother and how Mum coped with her all those years, God knows ~ she must have been a saint. 

We still have family in Scunthorpe, Maud's daughter Beth and her offspring ~ when I first moved to Whitby Beth and her husband Ian drove up a couple of times and took me out for a pub lunch, but somehow we lost touch a few years back ~ it was Beth's email "What about the Proctors ?" which prompted me to start thinking about them, Daddy's side of the story, but somehow I've been ranting on about his parents and no mention of him.  I think he deserves a fresh page . . . 422 !!