My connection to London

Granny and siblings {Northampton, England}

The Back Story

I need to tell you all a story about a young girl in Northampton, England. She was the youngest of four siblings and her name was Grace. Her only brother went away during World War II and when he returned, he found that Grace was the happiest little girl and loved playing with her sisters, cousins, and the American soldiers, so he nicknamed her Gay.

Gay began working in a small restaurant called Wedgwood Cafe when she was 14 years old. With her first paycheck, she bought her mother a set of glass bowls, which were kept in the family, and ultimately returned to Gay just a few years ago.

Granny and Papa {Northampton, England}

During World War II, Gay met a young soldier from America in the restaurant and they were instantly smitten. They began spending a lot of time together and as some teens do, they became very close very fast. The two were married and Gay became pregnant, but the young man had to go back to America soon after, leaving his new bride behind.

Gay gave birth to their beautiful red-headed baby girl in England and then boarded the Queen Mary for a week-long journey to join her groom on his parents’ cotton farm in Texas. The couple were happy together and continued to build a family, eventually having five children and settling in a small house in Fort Worth, Texas. Those five children grew up to give them six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren (with one on the way).

In 2004, the young soldier passed away, leaving his bride to finish her days in America. She was sad and she misses him, but she continues to live her life and enjoy her family and she claims that although she misses her family in England, she loves America and would much rather be here.

That young beautiful lady is my Granny, my dad’s mother, and she is my inspiration for wanting to visit London, at least one more time.


A New Generation

Now, let me tell you another story about a young girl. She was born the middle child of three girls in Irving, Texas. She didn’t have a brother until she was 18 when her dad married her stepmom and her only nickname was Porcupine when she was a baby because her hair stuck up straight.

Her first job (at 16) was a jeans inspector in her mom’s jeans factory, but within days of starting, she also began working as a clerk in a movie rental store. She worked two jobs for the summer and then had to quit the factory when school started up.

This girl has somewhat of a pattern of holding down two jobs. She has always either worked full time and gone to school full time or worked a full time job and a part time job simultaneously.

When she was 18 years old, she saved up her own money and traveled to England with a friend in hopes of connecting with some of her roots. Instead of taking in the sights and learning about the country, she slept, shopped, ate at McDonalds, and ran up a ridiculous overseas phone bill.

The Wedding Day

In May 2007, she was 30 years old and living the single life and she met a man online. They began spending a lot of time together and as some teens thirty-somethings do, they became very close very fast. They were married and the girl gave birth to their first son and now she is working hard to create a fun family and has unrealistic dreams of having five children like her Granny.

Yeah, that’s me I’m talking about up there…

My Granny is a beautiful woman and she has so many wonderful stories to tell about her childhood in Northampton, England. I wish I had the time, and she had the energy, to travel to England again so she could tell me all of her stories. I wish I could write it all down and share it all with you and preserve it all for myself.

Heading back to my roots to kickstart my future

Along with my dreams of fully knowing my roots, visiting England again, and the whole five children thing is another dream to create a future for myself and my family in which I am more present. I want to be home for my boy when he gets off the bus from school. I want to be available for class trips and treats during the day. I want to (gasp!) have dinner for my husband when he gets home from work.

I want to be a Work At Home Mom

There, I said it. It’s on the internet now so it must be true. I want to be a blogger, social media manager, virtual assistant, WRITER, and I’m taking the steps to do that.

You see my posts about shopping and the crafts, donations, gifts, and more and I’ve told you about my love affair with Social Fabric. Because of these opportunities that Collective Bias has given me, I am able to see what a fun family is like. I am able to picture myself writing and blogging full time. I am able to envision myself as a WAHM. And now, I have the opportunity to visit England again and learn about blogging in the UK through Cybher conference in London.

Collective Bias™ is heading to London on June 1 for Cybher and they are sponsoring one blogger to join them! I want to be that one blogger!

Update: I did not win the trip, bummer!

I still want to be a WAHM and still want to go to London. In the meantime, I think I’ll try to learn more stories about my grandmother’s childhood!

Where would you travel to head back to your roots?

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This post is an entry for a chance to win a ticket to Cybher in London through Collective Bias®. #cbias #SocialFabric All stories and opinions are my own.


  1. What a sweet love story! Hopefully you will get there soon.

  2. Cecile says:

    What a wonderful story! I love England and have roots there too but my ancestors came over in the 1500s. I love hearing family history stories.

  3. laura says:

    Great story! I’m sorry you didn’t win, but hope you get to return there soon!

  4. Stacey @ Newlywed Survival says:

    Such a great post, Janet! My grandparents lived in England for a few years when my mother was in college (and just married my dad). I also have a cousin who lives just outside of London with her family. I have been there a couple of times and enjoyed it so much!

    I hope you can get back there to connect with the past!

  5. This is SO cool, Janet!! So excited for you!! And I love the transparency in this post. I know you are going to get your heart’s desire and then I can’t WAIT to see your posts then :).

    • janet says:

      Awww, thanks Fawn. I didn’t win the trip, but maybe I’ll still go to London someday. 😉

      • That’s okay because this process has brought you much clarity about what you want to do during this season in your life and that’s worth even more than a trip to London (I think :)).

  6. My Grandmother was an amazing self sufficient woman who lived in rural Vermont and could literally make anything she needed. While I did not grow up enjoying that way of life, I admire it a lot as an adult and she is part of my inspiration today.

  7. I had this silly blog post all written about London and Doctor Who and making bobbies smile, but before I went to submit it, I decided to check out “the competition”. You, my dear, have won the trip in my book. Nothing I could write would ever come close to your story, and your reasons for wanting to go, so I thrown in the towel, and I hope you win, because you truly deserve it!

    • janet says:

      Jules, you are amazing for saying this, but I totally think you should still write your post! btw…did you find any other posts because I couldn’t! 😉

    • Jules being a Brit I would love to see what you were going to write about London, Dr Who (with the actor who comes from Northampton by the way) and making Bobbies smile. I love to hear what people from overseas think. 🙂

  8. Yes it’s a holiday! lol

    You are both welcome whenever you want to come. Likewise with the rest of your siblings (and your Dad which goes without saying!_ x

  9. Aunt Linda says:

    Wow! What a great post and a great tribute to your Granny. It has been such a pleasure to live with her the last 8 years and to hear story after story about her life in England. And…to travel with her there as recent at 2011…she is still a strong and adventurous woman at age 88! I asked her on her 80th birthday what her most memorable birthday was. She quickly said, “15th.” That is because it was the only time Northampton was bombed…the Germans shelled the local cemetery because that is where small towns stored the ammunition. She was waiting at the bus stop with her sister who was returning home after the birthday party. The air raid marshals came up to them and told them to take cover. They ran home and went to the cellar. Everyone carried gas masks in specially designed hand bags. Imagine…your Granny’s entire teenage years from 15 to 20 were surrounded by World War II! Good luck, I hope you get to return to London!

    • janet says:

      Linda, I love that you have so many stories from Granny and you share them with me so often. Someday, you should write them all down in a memoire for her. 🙂

  10. I’ve just joined Social Fabric in the UK – it’s very new here 🙂 I hope you get chance to visit us!

    • janet says:

      Thank you! I have a family friend in England who has a reading and travel blog and I would love to learn more about how blogging is done in the UK!!

      • Oh, cool, what’s her blog? Reading and travel (and reading-while-travelling) are major hobbies of mine 🙂

      • Hi Janet (and Rachel )

        Thank you for the plug for my blog.

        …… I loved reading about Aunty Gaye. I always call her Aunty even though she is not officially my Aunty, but that’s another story. For some reason too, I have always added an E to her name and it’s always stuck. I adore her as much as if she was my real Aunty, and love hers (your) family like they were my own, and I’m always treated like family. I’ve loved catching up with her stories over the years, and have more tales that I couldn’t possibly repeat. Ask her about the phrase “but there was a war on!”

        You’re like family to me and you are welcome to stay with me in England anytime. No hotels needed. Train to London only takes an hour, and I know my way around it very well, so can show you the sights. There is much more to the UK than London though and I’d be happy to share it with you and your family.

        Keep doing what you’re doing as you’re making your family (and adopted family) proud!

        Love ya xx

        • janet says:

          Aww…thanks, Lisa!! I am happy to “plug” your blog whenever I can. I wish that I could get my husband to fly with me, but he will not. Maybe Benjamin and I need to plan a vacation there…or a holiday, I guess it would be called. 😉

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