Pattie Mae Tanner

August 21, 2006

Was my grandmother and a diarist in UK between 1946 and 1962. She raised seven children Ernest, Fred, Dorothy, Brian, Maurice, Phyllis and Dennis. The first four listed have now passed on and the remaining three are fast reaching the end of their lives. My interest in writing comes ostensibly from the experience of watching my grandmother, unscrew her Parker pen fill it with ink and launch into her diary( the diary is now in my possession). Her diarying habit may have come from an unusual five year span diary given to her by her son and daughter in law Maurice and Peggy back in 1946 some months after the end of the war and a couple of months before I was born. I was an indulged child, the first male child in the family Parthenon since my grandmother’s having given birth to her youngest son Dennis. I was born in a nursing home, St. Chad’s. A nursing home seems to have been a facility where expectant mothers went to be delivered of their babies. I have no idea if I was delivered by a midwife or a doctor though my mother will remember. I do know that I was returned to my grandparents home at 21, Ellacombe Church Road, Torquay, Devon. The one spiritual and loving home that I have always treasured and memorialised. I recall it now with the rose tinted lenses of childhood. A two storey terraced house with four bedrooms over looking a disused quarry. After the mining of slate, clay or what ever was mined there , had ceased, more terraced houses were constructed in a crescent shape on the floor of the quarry. Our home along with the others in the first block of Ellacombe Church Road overlooked this quarry in a magisterial way and residents in our block tended to look down on those forced to reside below us in the quarry and all the other terraced homes situated along the sharply descending hill named Mount Pleasant leading from Ellacombe Church Road. At the bottom of Mount Pleasant was the bowling green. The neighborhood in which my grandparents lived was called Ellacombe. Ellacombe was the parish of which Ellacombe Church was the granite built religious center raised on an elongated strip of land at the angle of Hoxton and Ellacombe Church Road. My Uncle Brian was a sacristan at the Church and we all attended Church at various times for weddings, funerals and christenings. My attendance at church was intermittant but my particip[ation in games and activities at the bowling green was frequent. The Green was where I came to share the energy of my youth with others of my generation and inclination. Pick up games of soccer were the primary reason for my regular pilgrimage from my grandparents’ home to the red soiled lawns and grassy knolls of the the green’s parks and concreted swing park. It was around the swings and roundabouts that I first became aware of the tendency of boys to feel more particularly intense about one girl over another. There was an especially attractive brunette girl who I shall call Marilyn. A boy called Bob in the course of an afternoons swinging, joking and acting the fool, eventually was able to confess his attraction (“love” would have been the common currency used in our conversation)for Marilyn a strikingly tall and mature looking girl who became suddenly elated at the sharing of this information, and rouged with delight while screaming with apparent excitment…My response was equally self conscious. The mere subject of attraction, sexuality and gender awareness was a source of intense shyness to me. Yet Marilyn was  the most superb example of female perfection to me.  My summer holidays were spent in my Grand parents home on Ellacombe Church Road. I made daily visits to Dean’s Post Office at the bottom of Mount Pleasant and at the intersection of Belgrave road a half block from the Empire Cinema. Mr Dean was amused by my repeated returns for penny lollies.