My mum (Elsie Wighton nee Martin) died in 2000 aged just 72. Way, way too young and we still miss her.
Mum had many attributes – a calm and lovely presence, a great sense of humour, which could be deliciously wicked at times, terrific legs, and a magical singing voice to name just a few.
But her beautiful hair! Now that deserves a special mention. It seems the Martins have all been blessed with abundantly thick and wavy hair.
Mum’s hair was a gorgeous strawberry blonde. When, as a child, I looked at photos of her as a twenty-something posing shyly, coquettishly squinting into the sun on Suttons Beach, I thought she looked like a film star. I still do.
And that beautiful golden hair with its soft full curl – she surely was the envy of all her be-permed friends.
The story goes that when the adolescent Elsie Martin sat out in the sunshine on the steps of her Redcliffe home, drying that beautiful hair, boys from all around suddenly found themselves passing by Shields Street. And who could blame them?
Mum passed down her curls to me and I passed them on to my beautiful daughter Katie. Though I struggled to accept my inheritance as a teenager, I now embrace my curls, as does Katie.
One of the pleasures we shared when Mum was dying was when I was able to wash her lovely hair – still beautiful in spite of the ravages of the ruinous cancer that took so much from her.
As I get older people tell me I look more and more like Elsie … and I couldn’t be happier.