Stereotyping – At What Cost?
We don’t suddenly become old. If we have reached that stage in our lives where people consider us old, then we have also been children, teenagers and middle-aged.
We have lived and loved, played and worked. We have been silly and serious and had pleasure and heartbreak.
So, let me introduce you to my maternal Grandparents.
James Denne Batten 1897 – 1985
My Granfer Batten was born into an engineering family and was one of four brothers. Only three of them lived into adulthood.
He was 17 when World War I started and studying for an Engineering Degree. In 1917 he decided he could not continue studying (although exempt from signing up), and he left college to join the Royal Flying Corps (the precursor of the RAF) and train as a Pilot.
After the war, he continued to train as an engineer, and then, with one of his brothers, he set up The Beckenham Motor Company producing racing and sports cars. Some of which still survive and are raced to this day.
During World War II, his business was requisitioned by the war office to make parts, and he served in the Admiralty in London and was an Air Raid Warden at night. He witnessed the bombing of London.
He went on to work as a designer and engineer for some of the first mass car manufacturers in the UK. This eventually brought them to Leicester.
Granfer started playing golf when he was about 11y and continued to play five days a week well into his eighties.
Patience Batten 1900 – 1970
My Gran Batten was also born into a manufacturing family with two brothers. One of whom died from tuberculosis when he was a young man.
Amongst other things, when she was a little girl, her family moved to a remote part of Canada and returned a few years later.
Before she married, she worked for the Admiralty in London. She was a beauty with green eyes and auburn hair and had many admirers. She and Granfer married in the 1920s.
Many people are unaware that there were severe food shortages in the UK during World War I, and rationing had to be introduced. This affected many young women, and the number of men killed during the war led to a drop in fertility.
Gran and Granfer’s first daughter was not born until they were in their thirties and died within a few days of birth (she had severe Spina Bifida). A couple of years later, my Mum, Wendy, was born.
My Gran kept home and worked. She also volunteered for several charities and was well-loved among those she supported.
She died when I was thirteen, and I miss her.
I Try to Remember
Our lives have made us who we are. Our bodies may now be old to look at, but inside, we are all the things we have experienced in life, and we still feel all the same emotions and have the same needs. We also have a long lifetime of memories.