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A Toast on our last Easter at 63 MVP

On our last Easter together, I wrote out a toast which I did not give because it was a happy but sad time and I chose not to make the toast. But below is what I would have said!



Is our last Easter in Winchester a sad day? I think it’s a day to count our blessings and I’ll tell you why!

Some years ago in a hotel bar before the memorial service for my mother, my Uncle Eddie said, “I am the last of the happy band that met at Trinder Road”.

My mother’s brother was remembering the times before the bomb struck, when the Binks family celebrated at my grandparent’s house in North London; where they would meet and sing and eat and drink and joke and tell stories and go home happy.

The German bomb blew that home apart and killed my grandmother. Now Uncle Eddie is gone too, but that evening in the bar he may not have realized that he gave me a glimpse of my Binks family before I was born and made me think of the chain of families and gathering places through the ages from our human beginnings down to this last Easter lunch at Mystic Valley Parkway and then moving forward.

We come into the world knowing nothing; older brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts and others celebrate our arrival. If we are lucky we are born into a family that is able to gather together from time to time for birthdays, Easter, Christmas, Thanksgivings, etc. The new child appears in a mother’s arms, graduates to a high chair and before long is talking and laughing. That child does not know this has been going on through the generations back to our beginnings as humans.

We have been lucky to gather here for 38 years. Annika met the Shawcross side of the family here 20 years or so ago and as the family grew the number of chairs around the table increased. There have been happy times like birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, marriages and the arrival of grandchildren. I won’t talk about the sad times but those have happened here too.

Winchester has been our gathering place and we are leaving this house. But we are lucky. We have other places to meet. A bomb has not fallen! Moving homes shows that life is moving on too; a new generation will form new families, life goes on and that is wonderful!

I can name the gathering places in my family back for a couple of generations but then it becomes guesswork. There are times of war and displacement in all family histories. But we in this generation are the lucky ones. We have had a long stable period. Let’s hope it continues. Let’s give thanks for the years we have met here and look forward to the future with confidence.

Let’s drink a toast to the future of our families.

To the future of our families

John Shawcross
Winchester, March 27, 2016

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