Births, Deaths and Marriages with Vera Lynn.

More reflection upon the anniversary of the death of both my father and father-in-law. Passing is a more acceptable term, with connotations of soft music and a gentle transition. Neither of these hard, old men departed softly or with gentleness, determined to kick and holler all the way, just as they had lived. Same date, different year. I like to think that wherever they may be they are enjoying a cold ale together and having a good gripe about the state of Australian cricket.

Funny enough, this is the first time I’ve taken any interest in cricket. Always found it as interesting as watching paint dry. What about you?

Sorry, that’s a fib. I do remember back in the mid 60’s watching Garfield Sobers on the Tele hitting lots of sixes. Must have been that special father-daughter time, like watching Cassius Clay boxing, or Sunday nights with Hoss and Little Joe at The Ponderosa.

When my Dad relocated to a new home on the beautiful south coast where he would spend his days fishing, bowling and home brewing, I gifted him a colour television. Boy, did this make watching cricket that more palatable – you could finally see the ball. As a child I don’t think I even realised that the game of tennis was even about hitting a ball : never saw anything round shaped on the old black and white, and was quite clueless as to the point of it all. Yeah, not much has changed…….

He retired at 52 having outlived both the war bride and the love of his life, and having survived Bomber Command. His proudest achievement was 28 years of life in the slow lane in his quaint little village by the sea.

The father-in-law, a Scouse with an accent as thick as treacle, was an old Sea dog.

Put the two together and things became interesting, especially towards the later hours in the night. The Scouse, an old story teller from way back would pull out yarns of questionable content, whilst my Dad, who used to sing in English pubs for extra beer money when not flying, would break into song……or harmonica.

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So, for both these tough old buggers I have just read wartime entertainer Vera Lynn’s autobiography.

Some Sunny Day follows Vera’s musical career which started before she was a teenager, singing alongside her father in English working clubs. In the 1930’s she worked in radio though it wasn’t until World War 2 that she became an iconic figure amongst service personnel, with her songs of hearth and home.

We join Vera on her travels around the world performing for the troops, where her spirit, along with her ability to connect with the men fighting for their country and those left behind praying for their loved ones, made her the ‘Forces Sweetheart.”

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Her career after the war flourished, with hits in the US and the UK, but Vera was never able to leave behind her wartime role and was deeply affected by what she had seen. She details the hardships of rationing and living with bombs falling overhead, as well as the joy of performing with talented musicians and the fun of singing in dance halls.

Dame Vera Lynn turned 101 on the 20th of March.

This is an interesting book, though one written by a gentle woman from another time. There is no gossip, no sex, no surprises. What you see is what you get. Her later years were of little excitement unless you count popping in for a regular Devonshire Tea with the Queen Mum a thrill. It is a reminder of ordinary people living in extraordinary times.

My Dad always held Vera Lynn right up there.

So Cheers to all three of you. I know “we’ll meet again”.

Now, any more cricketers been sent home yet?

 

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