Letters to those who have made my life

My mother

Gordie Jackson
2 min readMay 6, 2024
Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

Dear ‘my ma’

I know you don't particularly like being called ‘ma’ although if said with a posh accent it sounds like ‘Ma ma’.

Every so often I have an idea about what I want to write about and you are the first in an idea to write to those who have made my life. You are an obvious first choice as in your words “I carried you for 9 months”.

You alone have that accolade that you carried me in your womb from which I was born into this world. But I wasn’t just born into the world I was born into your world. That was the world of Corcrain, Portadown, County Armagh, Northern Ireland.

‘The fields’ come to mind and the Corcrain River. It was great to have nature just out ‘the front’. Your world already consisted of two others whom I would call sisters. It also consisted of your husband and ‘my da’. There was also a dog the first I recall was Sandy.

You kept a tidy home and yard, and you still do.

A tradition of yours was that at Christmas you would light the fire in the parlour. The parlour was a place seldom used hence it made it all the more memorable when it came alive with a fire.

If I were to describe your way of being it would be ‘A cleaner’. Yes, I know you earned money as a cleaner but cleaning was and is a way of life for you. It didn't just start when you ‘clocked in’ it started once you awoke. Dare I say it you probably were cleaning in your dreams.

I realised some years ago that cleaning for you brought things to order that may have felt disordered. When things get to a certain state I hear your voice saying “This needs to be cleaned”.

I am grateful you encouraged me to join the Boys’ Brigade (BB) and asked Tommy, the lemonade man to give me a job. I was a member of the BB from the age of 4 to 12. It provided me with activities particularly the annual camp which took me to places I was unlikely to go. Tommy provided me with some pocket money to look after my dog and perhaps do things I would not have been able to do like buy a new top from Gino’s.

Your mother, my grandmother was also part of my world; her home provided another place to be when I needed to be looked after.

What is not so obvious is what you absorb just by being with someone from infancy. I see something about understanding what it was to be a woman particularly you the woman who was and is my mother.




Gordie Jackson

Speaks with a Northern Irish accent, lives in Hertfordshire, England.