What follows is a short story from Rosemary’s past. After talking with her, I have taken our discussion and turned it into a series of small stories highlighting the incredible life that she has led. Direct quotes from our discussion are highlighted in quotation marks. All else is a retelling written by yours truly.
The time in Britain was a lean one for Rosemary and Bill. By choice, of course. Rosemary knew what she was getting into when she and Bill chose to put their children through private school. They knew it would mean tightening up around the house, making things last.
But Rosemary was a farm girl. She grew up during the war and knew what it was to live simply.
The real interesting times were the holidays. They didn’t have the money – nor particularly the desire – to go to the fancy hotels in exotic locations. Instead they used what they had, which was a lovely big house and lots of friends. It was never difficult to find friends in Purley to house swap for a week or so. When the holidays came around they would just trade places with another family from their old neck of the woods and spend the week visiting all their old friends (except the ones who they swapped houses with of course).
The real treat though was when they got to holiday up north. Friends of theirs had moved back to Australia and kept their house in Scotland. It meant when it wasn’t being used Rosemary and the family could all hop in the car, crammed with all their stuff and the food they would eat during the week – no restaurant meals, thank you very much –, and disappear into the highlands. Their friend’s house was out in the countryside and Rosemary preferred it that way, always making sure to stay as far away from towns as possible during their visit. This was a retreat. Nature for those used to being near the big city of London.
But how do you keep six children happy on holiday? Well, Rosemary and Bill figured out that if you give each of them a day to choose what they wanted, you could keep the chaos down to a minimum. Of course, that did mean a strange combination of things like hiking, shopping, museum visits, castle visits, lazing on the beach, horseback riding (which was expensive so the horses had to be shared), and once even water skiing (which is even more expensive which meant only the one who chose that got to do it. The rest just got to watch).
Overall it worked out well for Rosemary and Bill because it was likely that at least a few of the activities were ones that they were interested. The trips were always so fun, and so necessary for a family of eight to disappear and relax for a week, away from the craziness of life and school and work.
Stay tuned for more stories from the life of Rosemary. Please note: these stories will not necessarily hold any chronological grounding. They are designed as snippets of understanding into the life of Rosemary and while some will hold chronology, others may not.