Mrs Becher's Diary


Granny Rogers

Among our celebrities I must put Granny Rogers. Petticoats and on top of them a once black skirt, a circular cloak, now green and threadbare.

After knocking on the door with the stick she always carried, one would open it to find her standing with her back to it. A gentle reminder that one was ready to speak to her would make her start round exclaiming: ‘Oh dear, but you made me jump!’. Hard of hearing, with her blue eyes with the hurt look in them, would gaze up trustfully out of the dirty face with a childlike lack of understanding – and then she would laugh. She was always laughing when she came to see me, only her laugh was a cackle, I can call it nothing else.

Living alone in a filthy cottage, covered with running sores, her life must have been a misery and it was for old linen she made her periodical calls. It is hardly to be wondered at that she had estranged herself from her children, but her love and delight in her little granddaughter when her old face lit up with joy at the mention of her. Little Myrtle, she would always have it that the child was the image of herself.

Granny would always stand for a long time before she would cross a road. She would gaze in one direction only and then step off quite oblivious that traffic comes from both directions. Her manner of expressing herself was somewhat original, but she surpassed herself one morning by making reference to ‘the Minister’s woman’,

The paying of rates was too much of a difficulty for her and was responsible for her ejection on Armistice Day. She and her belongings were bundled out onto the Common – her feather bed was wrapped in a sheet. I should like it to go down to posterity that Mr & Mrs Henry Wheeler offered her a room in their own house – so shocked was he [were they] that at the very hour in which we were remembering before God her two sons killed in the Great War, their Mother should be turned out of her cottage, homeless and friendless. I was glad in the end that he was not called on to make this sacrifice.