Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Fiona and Mary

The best lesson with Mary and Fiona

Mary is 74 years old and was born in 1934, Fiona was 59 years old and born in 1949. Both Mary and Fiona had really interesting lives and told there stories which so much passion. I think they thought that they was boring us but I think I speak for the whole class when I say they engaged and captured the whole class with their stories and memories.
We went around in a circle and introduced ourselves, I noticed that when I said “hello my name is Flick” they asked “What does that stand for? Felicity?” which I find every elderly person does, they are not familiar with nicknames or arbitrations.

The group asked some question to encourage them to talk. Such as “What was you doing around our age of 20/21?”

Mary worked for Scottish Widow which she stated is now a coffee bar, she recalled that the city at that time was a very interesting place to be, (1952)men wore suits and hats and walked with umbrellas. Mary talked about the old King dieing and there being no TV, so the family gathered around the radio to hear the news about the king. Mary also talked about the Royal exchange, watching the test match, she recall it was like a big cricket switch board which people all gathered around. Her mother had died in west ;London and she lived with her father in Fulham.

Fiona also lived in Fulham, she said had a very boring job and wanted to get away so she went to America (Washington State) with a friend. She said that the American people had never heard English people as they never went there. Fiona said that the Americans never went outside where they lived, they never used public transport such as the bus. Fiona talked about post Vietnam war and northern Ireland, at the end she said it was a holiday of a life time.

We then started to look at the props and costumes that Tina had brought in. Mary picked up the 1950’s dress and talked about petit -coats and how light and pretty they were. Recalling fond me memories of making the dresses, and passing them down to her daughter in her teens. Mary talked about visiting the costume museum and seeing one of her dresses in display cabinet and made her feel old. Mary then talked about how the dresses where free and made her feel like a woman, she lastly said that this memory made her feel very youthful again and brought fond memories back.

Mary then picked up a string vest and talked about how unseen it was that her father used to take his shirt off and reveal his string vest. Then the mood changed and she talked about cancer, talking about how in them days people were unaware of cancer and used to get sun burnt through the tops and skin cancer was evident, people got skin cancer but there was no advice or information about it then. In them days people were unaware that smoking was harmful as well, everyone smoked.

Memorable Events

Fiona at the age of 17 went to a Beetles concert, she paid for it from her first job wages. They played at Hammersmith Odeon which is now Hammersmith Apollo. She recall the traffic was so bad as everyone was going to the concert Fiona told us how she remembers standing on the seat and screaming non-stop throughout the concert that she actually could not even hear them. She made a point that they stood on the seats, which in 1967 was unheard off but everyone did. Fiona talked about her passion for music stating “Music was my thing“. Fiona said that Pink Floyd actually played at St. Mary’s University and she came along to watch them.
Mary then followed on and talked about Glastonbury, and about her daughter coming back home with loads of friends, referring to them as the League of Nations as they were all of difference in ethics. She talked fondly about her toilet, that they thought it was like a place compared to wheat they had been using.

Mary talked about Waterloo Station with such love and passion, for her 70th birthday her son meet her under the clock. The reason she has close memories was due to the time she spent at the station during the war, travelling back and fourth. She said “I could write my life around Waterloo Station.”
Memories of FIRST love

Mary told us that her first love was when she was 14 years old, she used to go and play tennis and there was some boys there who used to joke around with her and her friend, The boy used to carry her racket home for her. They developed a close friendship but he had to go away or the Nation Service, she recalls being heat broken. However in 1957 they married and lived together for a year and decided the could not stand each other and in 1964 divorced. The story was told in a very funny manner and the class found her delivery very funny.

Fiona told us about meeting a man in Piccadilly circus, she danced with a man, he feel over and she helped him up. Her friends up and left her and she recall them saying “he looks trust worthy” and they left. She told us a very funny story about his watch, that he had a really big and new watch that she assumed was for a 18th birthday, as in them days a watch was a traditional 18th birthday present, Fiona was 21 and in those days you went out with people of the same age. Anyway he was 22 years old, at the end of the night he said he would talk her home by car, Fiona recalls walking down Regent Street looking for his car as he forgot where it was parked. They dated for 3 years and married. Fiona celebrated her 33 year anniversary in 2008. Which I thought was a really lovely story.

RE-CREATING Fiona’s Story

We got into group and began to devise, the aim was to re-tell either Mary’s or Fiona’s stories. We decided to re-tell Fiona’s story about meeting her first love. I played Fiona, during the lesson I noticed she kept looking at a black and white dress, so I wore the 1960’s dress. We re-crated the club scene and her friends leaving her and looking for the car. We stuck as closely to the story as we could, even adding dancing around the handbags and false eye lashers. We downloaded the beetles and played it whilst performing.

Fiona a and Mary came back and where seated ready to watch the performances. After all the performances they talked about them. They both said they really enjoyed watching what we got from there stories and that they brought back fond and vivid me memories of the past. Fiona said that she was surprised how much we managed to pick up about her and the memory from just by what she aid.
I really enjoyed this lesson and it has made me re-think my placement, originally I wanted to work with teenagers in a school but this had really made me consider working with the older generation for a community based project.

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