My review: South Coast Diaries by Duncan MacDonald ►

◄ Project Zebra: Didn't we used to take this for granted?

2024-04-24 📌 In memoriam, LKD 1950-2024

Tags All Personal

I didn't know when I was writing what other people would be saying, but I do know that 'family' will feature, because it was probably the most important thing to Mom. Particularly kids, and grandkids, and other people's kids. It didn't matter if you were related, or she was teaching, or how she knew you, she was the the sort of person who wanted things to be better for the next generation and other people and did things to make that happen.

A big part of that was encouraging and giving people opportunities and taking an interest. I'm sure you've all got your own memories but I remember vividly everyday things like her making a matching PE kit bag for a kid who joined our class partway through a year so that he'd fit in, and striking up conversations with people in Post Office queues. She learnt to program the first computer we got with me, with far more patience than I'll ever have. So many years of games and books and support and it all instilled a love for learning, asking questions, often awkward questions, and a strong streak of bloody-mindedness. That's both parents. And it wasn't just parents and I'm glad that some of those people are here with us.

Something in particular was getting us off school reading schemes before we lost interest, so I was reading fantasy like Dragonlance before secondary school and had an adult library ticket and things like that. Some stories we had in common: one of the things I got from her was a love of detective and crime fiction and mysteries. If she hadn't ended up teaching she might have gone into pathology. But for now I'm going with a quote from Terry Pratchett, and this is from Reaper Man (1991) about things people believe about death and legacies, and looking back. It's become quite well known since he died.

In the Ramtop village where they dance the real Morris dance, for example, they believe that no one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away—until the clock he wound up winds down, until the wine she made has finished its ferment, until the crop they planted is harvested. The span of someone’s life, they say, is only the core of their actual existence.

And Mom made a lot of ripples.


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