Our 50th

1970s Xmas in India

We recently celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. A number of messages were read out at the celebration but this one from my eldest daughter would have to take the humor prize. This photo was taken in India in the late 1970’s, much of our children’s childhood recollections here are from that era. Ian

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Happy 50th Anniversary!! You made it this far despite having children! As dad used to always say – “everything bad I learned from my kids”. Having 3 kids of my own I completely understand – children ARE evil! Mom, remember when you got mad and cursed me with a child just like me? Well it worked, how did you do that? Is it like the time in the car when you told me to stop doing that without turning around to see what it was? You just magically knew. I couldn’t figure out how you knew what I was doing until you told me you had eyes in the back of your head! I tried to look through your hair and couldn’t find any but you said they were closed so I believed you. Amazing! Between having a magical mother and teaching my dad everything bad I knew I had the best childhood ever!! I have no identity issues either because my mother clearly defined who I was – remember? “Somebody go with dad and Gina stay with me.” I am Somebody!

My earliest memories are when we lived in Sydney for a while and dad taking me to the corner shop for chocolate mousse. I would follow behind you everywhere unfortunately my head was the same height as your backside… Then there was the time when Gina was born and you took me to the hospital to visit mom. I started crying when I saw her she thought I was missing her only to find out that you hadn’t given me lunch. Last but not least, getting me to go to bed by climbing on top of the car and onto the balcony to tap on my window so I would think it was Wee Willie Winkie making sure I was going to bed.

Memories of India, there are so many. Let’s start with dad… dad always came home with something for us after every trip. I usually got books which I LOVED!! Occasionally he would come home with a monkey and once when I was sick he brought me 2 white mice, which I kept in an old fish tank in my room much to mom’s horror. They immediately had 15 tiny babies which grew quickly and had families of their own and were banished to a large cage outside that was so populated that when you opened the door to put in food some would fly out and you couldn’t even tell because there were so many inside! Gina and I used to smuggle the tiny babies inside and make cities with our blocks for them. Sometimes there would be a couple missing when we gathered them up to take them back. I’m sure we must not have counted correctly but we kept that information private from mom nonetheless. Dad used to have a beard (we later called that phase his terrorist beard phase) when he shaved it off Gina cried and wouldn’t go near him for days. He used to give us scooter rides and let us stand in front and honk the tiny and annoying horn the entire ride. He liked to fix up old cars. Our favorite was one that came with a rust hole in the floor so we could drop things down the hole then look back to see what happened. We used to help him fix cars by sitting and keeping our feet on the brake or gas pedal. Once I thought I should honk the horn for fun while he was busy under the hood. Unfortunately it was an air horn from a truck and it caused him to leap so violently that he bashed his head on the hood and was really mad! Ooops! He got me the greatest Christmas present, a go-kart! It was made by someone locally and was the envy of all the kids on the compound. Being a friendly child I invited everyone to ride. One time I invited everyone at the same time – 3 on the bench, three on the back bar, 2 on the front bar and probably a few clinging to the sides. As we sped down the hill the poor thing gave up and broke in half leaving the majority of us behind and giving the 2 on the front an extra exciting ride. Dad was very kind and had it fixed.

Living in India back in the 60’s and 70’s we had no TV and could not buy things like bikes and toys. Mom and Dad had a Barbie house built for us with an elevator. It was tall enough that we could use the slanted roof as a slide which we did until Gina broke her foot. He also built us a cubby house with built-in shelves and table and benches. We would eat all our meals out there in the summers.

Now on to mom, mom had this terribly annoying way of waking you up for school. She would come in and hold your big toe until you got so annoyed/mad/enraged that you were happy to get out of bed. Then there was her famous curried pea soup that would make me cry whenever she made it because I hated it so much. Now that I look back it actually was probably quite good but the horror still lingers. Mom loved to cook and had a bakery that we would ride our bikes to after school. We agonized over what to have as a snack as we were allowed to pick only ONE thing. To this day I am unable to eat donuts as I overdosed on them as a child. Then there was the time she decided to try making granola and had huge trays of granola all over the dining room drying. We had a new kitten, mom walked in as the kitten was carefully burying its business in one of the trays. Yummy kitty litter! We used to tag along with mom on shopping trips. There were a lot of beggars and she would carry food in the car to hand out. Mom never gave money as a lot of the beggars were “owned” and would have to hand over their money. But there was one beggar that was so pathetic outside a restaurant we used to go to that she broke her rule for him. He was severely contorted and just looked so horrible and abused. One day we came out when he wasn’t expecting us and he was standing there talking to some friends looking perfectly normal. As soon as he saw mom he popped his arms out of their sockets and contorted himself up but it was too late. She was furious!!

After our time in India we moved to Singapore where I had attended boarding school. I still appreciate how dad stuck up for me with Mr. “Rubber-butt” the principal of the school there. Dad used to get quite cross with me because I would say things that he couldn’t forget (like Mr. Rubber-butt) which would make him want to laugh in serious moments. Having just moved to Singapore it was time for me to start college. I had picked a school in Northern California but decided the day before that I wasn’t going to go after all. Dad FORCED me to pack and frog marched me to the airport (luckily he had planned on taking me). I cried the entire way to Hong Kong to make him feel bad and then sulked all the way to San Francisco. Guess what dad? – I survived, I had a great time and I still like you.

Mom involved herself in the school my sister attended in Singapore. She was very popular with the kids as she was in charge of the cafeteria and would make them all kinds of special desserts. She was most famous for being in the supermarket the day the Singapore government banned chewing gum from the country. They were busy shoveling it onto the floor and sweeping it away when she found out she filled a basket or two with gum and kept the school kids supplied with contraband. We got a puppy when we moved. He had some issues at the beginning after eating too much candy so Gina and I named him Poopsie. Mom refused to go around calling for a dog called Poopsie, so she called him Pooch. The poor dog must have been very confused having two names.

There are so many more memories I could share. But the gist of it is that you two have given me the best childhood ever!! I have had so many opportunities because of you. I’m not sure everyone can say this but I have had a great life and I owe it all to you and the sacrifices you have made. Happy 50th! I’m sorry I can’t be there with you to celebrate.

Love, Helen

“© Copyright Ian Grice 2014 All rights reserved”

29 Comments Add yours

  1. Happy anniversary!

    Wow, a few choice stories in there. Your daughter should start a blog. 😉 Can’t imagine overdosing on donuts, for example, doesn’t seem possible.

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    1. Believe me it’s possible! We ran a number of industries in that college, now a university for the purpose of employing students so they could earn money for their education. This confectionary industry was started with a personal loan from us and commenced in our house. It smelt like cake through the whole house and after multiple samples none of us wanted to eat any cake anywhere again. lol. That industry grew and grew until it not only employed students but pumped a substantial part of its profits into the school toward overall administration. Did a lot of development in our time. Take a look at 800 Thomson Road when you are going that way next time and see what partnership with our Hong Kong friends produced.

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  2. Jane Thorne says:

    Happy 50th Anniversary Ian for you and yoru wife and I loved Helen’s recollections. So much love in her words. Love to you both and your family and congratulations. X

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    1. Thanks Jane. Our girls possess much humour and love.

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      1. Jane Thorne says:

        They learned that from you both Ian. x

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  3. jstansfeld says:

    Happy 50th. Helen couldn’t have written a better piece – what a treasure., Her description of Georgine with her comment about future grandchildren and the one about the eyes in the back of her head sound like my mother in the 1950’s I could hear her voice as I read. You are blessed indeed Ian

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    1. Indeed I am. I just loved my daughters tributes. Helen’s was the funniest.

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  4. gpcox says:

    Congrats on the 50th, Ian – all my best to you two!!

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    1. Thank you. We had a great time at the celebration.

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  5. LOL Hold the big toe? How precious she was so involved as to become so popular in school. Awesome post, Ian. Happy anniv!

    Xx
    Diana

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    1. During her BA studies at college in Napa Valley CA Helen was Editor of their publications, and won an award for the best publication in private schools in the US for one of the years of her editorship. She did communications at college. She lives in Connecticut and is partner in a business called Mind Your Manor and has been event manager for some high powered clubs. Her husband has worked in top administration for various multinationals since his MBA graduation. They have lived in Hong Kong and Brussels before returning to the US. Both Helen and her husband Stephen are part Hungarian.

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  6. Mags Corner says:

    First of all sweet Ian…Happy 50thAnniversary to you and sweet Georgine! Congratulations on that wonderful milestone. I loved, loved, loved what Helen wrote for your anniversary. Like I have said before your girls are so blessed to have had a dad and mom like you and Georgine. The love and humor those girls grew up with…what a gift. Hugs!

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    1. Thank you. Our girls were a precious trust and we miss them terribly now that a vast ocean separates us, but through the marvels of the internet we can at least watch our grandkids grow up.

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  7. Craig" n Judy" says:

    Well done Ian & Georgine!!.what an achievement, I have not yet been alive that long.Blessings.Craig & Judyxx

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    1. Haha! Yes we have reached the age now where we match the things they are finding in an archaeologist dig.

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  8. Madhu says:

    Helen’s love shines through in her endearing tribute 🙂 Happy anniversary to you and your wife dear Ian!

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    1. Helen was born in Jehangir Nursing Home, Pune so her memories going back to childhood largely centre around those years in Bharat Mata and she cherishes them, as we do in spite of Kushwant Singh’s description of domiciled Europeans. lol

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ahahahha!! I don’t know you guys, but I love your family already! I can imagine the humour, love and good natured mischief that your kids grew up with, and I hope it continues and spreads unbound. My mom also does that magic trick of getting to know things happening behind her back (literally)… she says she “just knows” which made me think she must be clairvoyant, but now I find out she’s simply been cheating with those two eyes at the back of her head!

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    1. Oh, and happy 50th! Wish you many, many more with such hilariously awesome memories to chuckle over. 🙂

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    2. Yes it was a trick a minute in our family. The kids played tricks on us and we retaliated. I’m not sure who won when you tally up the score. Now we are retired we take it out on each other. rotfl

      Liked by 1 person

  10. billgncs says:

    Happy 50th, what a fine accomplishment. I laughed out loud several times reading your daughter’s note. Sounds like you raised a family with love and a sense of humor – well done.

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    1. Thank you. I read this piece often for the laughs and the happy memories. Our house was full of humour, still is, and this has been passed along to our girls and their families in turn. I remember growing up in a home where life, though sometimes difficult, was full of good natured humour.

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  11. Eric Alagan says:

    Happy 50th Anniversary, Ian

    Busy as I am, I simply can’t stay away from this. What a ride it must have been. You and your wife are a beacon for all who continue to believe in the sanctity of marriage vows.

    Reading your daughter’s letter – every paragraph gave me a chuckle – what great times.

    I am so very happy for you, my dear friend.

    May the Good Lord always keep you and yours in His bosom.

    Your friend from Singapore,
    Eric

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    1. Thank you so much Eric. You are a true friend and it has been such a happy experience to make your acquaintance. I realize you have had a lot of work lately and am complemented you would take the time to visit my page. I had so much fun with my children as they were growing up. Most of our memories are filled with the humour of each stage of their growing up experience and we pause to chuckle quite often at those moments. Don’t work too hard there. Find some time to relax.

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  12. Barbara Lake says:

    Wonderful memories and a great tribute with much love to obviously wonderful parents. Which boarding school did you daughter attend? I realize that there is a large time gap but I too lived in Singapore in the early ’50s and then again the late 50s into the 60s. In the late 50s I went firstly to Changi Junior and then Changi Grammar School and then, 1959 – 1960, Alexandra Grammar School. The latter had a boarding school for the children of families living at that time, ‘up country’ ie. Malaya. I believe it was either Bournes or Kinloss.

    Many congratulations to you and your wife on a milestone! Long may it continue!

    (PS I did not know you were on Wordress!!)

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    1. Hi Barbara. It’s nice to see you on my site. Both girls attended Far Eastern Academy at 800 Thomson Road. That school closed soon after both of our girls departed to further their college education in California. It was also a boarding academy.

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  13. Yoshiko says:

    Enjoy your 50th anniversary

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    1. Thank you so much Yoshiko. You are so kind.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yoshiko says:

        You are most welcome, Ian 😊 Just a small gesture.

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