I was 19 when I met you, so you’ve been a part of my life for 32 years and my mother-in-law for 30 years and 9 months. You were in the kitchen baking with an apron on of course. You were quite a bit older than my mother and I thought you looked like a quintessential grandma. I was right. You welcomed me warmly and immediately offered tea, coffee and delicious baked goods.
I used to love your breakfasts of bacon, eggs and tomato, your apple turnovers, your traditional roast dinners with Yorkshire pudding, the hearty soups bubbling away in your slow cooker, and of course – your famous chocolate pudding (recipe shared below)! I had never heard of kumquat until I tasted your delicious kumquat jam, and of course there was your strawberry jam, raspberry jam, marmalade and many more jam variations. It was always a treat to visit your kitchen!
You always kept yourself busy – baking, cooking, knitting, ceramics. We have bags and bags of Christmas decorations made by your hands – knitted Santa’s, quilted snow homes, snow men, fabric elves, Xmas trees and caroling mice. Ceramics of Mr & Mrs Claus and more. Our wardrobes are full of your knitted coat hangers that we love so much.
There was many a time over the years when I was working full time that I would drop a sick child off to spend the day with you. I knew they would be well cared for, fed well and given plenty of fluids. You never hesitated – always welcoming a day spent looking after a sick child when I could not get time off from work.
You gave much of your time to community work – scope, meals on wheels, girl guides, the local tennis club that your husband and boys were very active in .. and more. You would cook up a storm and get your craft on for events or fund-raisers. If you got wind of someone expecting a baby, you were on to it, gathering a basket full of baby goods for the big day – knitted baby coat hangers (including your well known bananas in pyjamas coathangers), knitted baby cardigans, booties etc.
You raised five (5) children! Order of birth: Girl, Boy, Boy, Boy (the tennis player), Girl. The fifth child was a surprise, with you giving birth to her at the age of 47 and your previous child (the tennis player) being 12 years of age at the time. You have 13 grandchildren (7 girls, 6 boys) and so far 4 great-grandchildren (3 girls, 1 boy).
I remember when ‘the tennis player and I were engaged’ you began buying something extra every time you grocery shopped. When we were married and moved into our first rented unit, you presented us with a laundry basket full to overflowing with essential items that were so very much appreciated!
You are everywhere in our home – your china cabinet, your silverware, the Christmas decorations, photographs, knitted coathangers and in the faces of your son and grandchildren.
On New Year’s Eve you would have turned 91. You outlived your husband Alan by 16 years and 9 months. We will still celebrate your 91st birthday on that day and clink glasses and say cheers to Betty! The last few years have not been easy for you and it eases our grief to know that you are now free and at peace. Rest in peace Betty. We will miss you!
Vale Betty – 31 December 1924 to 27 October 2015
- 2 oz (about 3 tblsps) of soft butter
- 1/2 cup castor sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup self-raising flour
- 2 dessertspoons cocoa
- 1/2 cup milk
- Extra 1/2 cup castor sugar
- Extra 2 dessertspoons cocoa
- 1 1/2 cup hot water (boiling)
- Cream butter with sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
- Add egg, beat well.
- Fold in sifted flour and cocoa alternatively with milk.
- Place mixture into greased ovenproof dish.
- Sprinkle with extra sugar and cocoa mixed together.
- Finally, very carefully pour hot water over, very gently.
- Bake in a moderate (170 degrees celcius) oven 35-40 minutes.
- Serves 4-6 depending on serving size!
Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT