Photo © Karren Visser. Mary chose two objects in sharing her memories. The 1930s Westminster chiming clock reminded her of her grandparents, who she was very close to growing up, and a 1970s jewellery box they gave her. In the recording Mary’s intonation is in unison with her fingers scanning Braille as she is transported back to her childhood.
Listen to Mary’s story
My name is Mary Howe. I was born in Nottingham and I’ve been visually impaired all my life. I don’t ever remember being aware of being different. I don’t remember when I became aware of it really.
My story centres around my grandparents, their names were Louis and Ernest Motley, and they were my mother’s parents. Granddad was deafened by the shelling while serving in the Royal Corps of Signals in the First World War. And I would often help him by telling him what people said when they did not speak clearly enough for him to understand them.
My Gran was a little bird-like lady who was always cooking and baking, and passed on her skills to me as well as teaching me how to knit and crochet. She was very tiny. She was shorter than I am and I’m only 5 foot tall and she was always hopping about from one, from one place to another like a little bird.
My object. My first object is a 1930s Westminster chiming clock, which I bought in memory of my grandparents. One of my earliest memories is of being put to sleep on the sofa in the back room of their little rented house in New Basford, Nottingham. I loved listening to the clock chiming, and it would always make me feel secure and comforted. I bought this clock because it chimes every quarter.
My second object is a 1970s jewellery box which is lined with velvet and has a little ballerina on the top. This is a musical box given to me by my grandparents for Christmas when I was 10 years old. I still have the box today and it still plays a tune called ‘Fascination’. I love this because it’s so tactile and also it reminds me of my grandparents, who I was very close to.
© Unseen Memories, produced by Karren Visser and Sandwell Visually Impaired, 2023.