A letter from my paternal Grandmother Ada Lightfoot to her eldest daughter Frances, probably written November 1923.
19 Russell Street
We’re very pleased to have your letter on Thursday morning. We have been waiting and watching for the postman every day for ages. It does seem a long time since you wrote. I slept all night till 5 o’clock in the morning for the first time since you went away. You know how I do trouble over things I have not had you out of my thoughts night or day and you may know how I miss your presence at home. Doesn’t a pussy cat even cry if one kitty is lost? Is not a Mammy lonely when the girlie is away so don’t forget try and write once a week home to save worry. If we did not think it was for your own benefit we would not punish ourselves by letting any of the family be from home. Even Willie has waited and waited for a message from you. He was most dissapointed when there was no special letter for him as well as the others.
Our Ada yelled and howled because she did not know how to write a letter to you she did her best so did Vincent and Peter I don’t know how you will manage them. I was going to write this afternoon only I had the ironing to do. I could not leave it after Friday I washed on Tuesday but the drying hinders one so many days. Can you manage the ironing yet?
I don’t suppose there will be much. We are being careful and not making any more washing than we can help but I have washed each Tuesday so as not to get over faced. I tried naphtha dry soap for Willie’s overalls so used it for the lot I am not in a hurry to use it again it made such holes in my fingers. Mona does not come in much now, nor anybody only Jim Fenny calls for Willie. I have only been able to do a bit of shopping twice since you went away. One week Daddy did the work and last week Willie did it. We are not doing too bad with the work only the front has not been done. I can’t see it being done either this weather. The wind is awful, blows the pictures off the wall if the door is opened half an inch. I am glad you have had letters from your companions they will tell you the news of Farnworth and school which both you know I never know only what the children bring in.
Last week when I called at Grandma’s for a minute Auntie Nellie and her mother brought the baby to see her it is a lovely big fat girl very much like Uncle Gill, reminds me much of Aunt Hattie’s Gwen. Our Dorothy is going worse naughty I am think of putting her in trousers and jersey she is more like a boy than a girl. We have hardly any dishes left the way she keeps smashing them. It will soon be Christmas I won’t be sorry when it is over perhaps we will have a bit less rain. Jim Fenny is going to paper Harrison’s parlour and kitchen so he will be getting quite well off. I am just wondering what sort of a mess our Willie will be in when it is done for her is sure to be p??? over the scene. Dolly has only been twice since you were home we don’t give her fuss enough the sooner she get tired the better I say.
Well I will have to get the children ready for bed now so I will have to close, I have a stamp so you will perhaps get this on Saturday if it is posted tonight. Do your pinafores do you for alright and did you get fixed up for nighties alright I have been worrying about them so let me know. I have 29 in the sweep I wonder how I will get on. Ask Freddie when he is coming to Runcorn to that football match, is it before Christmas I ask our Dorothy where nanny is and she says pupper. Every day she says a new word. So no more now with fond love from Mam & Dad & all your loving mum
xxx Ada Lightfoot xx
This long letter must have been a huge effort for a busy housewife and is full of yearning for her eldest daughter who must have been her helper and ally. Ada had six children, but the other two daughters were small at this time. There was Willie, the eldest, who seems to have expected to be looked after as he was working, then Frances, who seems to have been working away from home, then my dad Peter, still at school, his younger brother Vincent, then the two small girls, Dorothy being the baby.
I never knew my grandmother but getting to know her like this I feel very close to her. Given the troubled relationship we had with this side of the family owing to my father later becoming Catholic, this is a very healing experience. She was just a mother doing the best for her children, like all mothers do.