A Christmas card from Pat

A Christmas card from Pat

Does she live in a house
Does she rent a flat
Does she own a dog
Does she keep a cat
Does she wear a scarf
Or a fancy hat
Oh who on earth
Is the woman called Pat?

Is she elegantly thin
Or fabulously fat
Is she painfully shy
Does she love to chat
Is she a spy
Or a diplomat
This woman who sends us
A card signed ‘Pat’

Is she a clown
Or an acrobat
Is she handy with
A cricket bat
Do her feet feel good
On a judo mat?
Please give us a clue
Next year, dear Pat

You could be a bloke
We realise that
A chap in a cap
Or a sporty cravat
Pulling up in a Porsche
Or a clapped out Passat…
Whoever you are
Happy Christmas, Pat

© Heather Wastie
December 2019

Each year we receive two cards signed ‘Pat’. We know the identity of one of them. Maybe the mysterious Pat will read my poem and identify herself (yes, we think it’s a she judging by the kisses). Or maybe hundreds of people called Pat will now send us cards and confuse us even more. This is the beauty of the internet.

 

Memories of Jerzy Szauman-Szumski born Poland 1922

Today I received a message about someone I met in 2013 through my Weaving Yarns oral history project. Jerzy Szauman-Szumski was born in Poland in 1922. He told me how he came to work in the carpet industry in Kidderminster. His warm, generous personality made an impression on me straight away, and there is a page in my book (Weaving Yarns, Black Pear Press) dedicated to him. I’m sad to know that he died a few weeks ago at the age of 97. I have fond memories of our conversation and can still hear his beautiful voice.

Anna, who took the trouble to contact me, said this about him:

A wonderful gentleman whom I had known all my life. I’m glad you have “immortalised” him in your book.

To honour his memory, here are his words:

I lost my country, lost everything I had. I had to start from nothing. We lost everything generations had worked for – houses, horses, cows… They just came, arrested you and you go. So instead of being a wealthy man, you are beggar. They close you down.

I had good schooling in Poland. I love agriculture, I love country, I love animals. So when I first went to Carpet Trades I remember I was horrified because I never saw factory, never mind work in factory! I was impressed. It was very good, all automatic, chik-chik! I thought, what can I do here? I couldn’t understand anything about it!

I love Tomkinsons family; they’ve been fantastic people, very good to the workers, and I had a good pension, so I can’t grumble. I don’t know whether I deserve it or not!