Mandy Davis - Diva of Deception

The Diva of Deception, Mandy Davis, is a professional close up magician and balloon modeller working for the corporate market as well as banquets, dinners, receptions, weddings, bar/batmitzvahs, private parties etc. As a member of The Magic Circle, she is chairman of the Young Magicians Club and editor of their coveted glossy magic magazine. Mandy is also a member of Equity.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

MY MUM

When my phone sprang to life at 7.10 a.m. on April Fool's Day I didn't answer it. I saw the name on the front telling me who was calling and I switched it off!

Maybe you won't understand - maybe there are some of you who will.... it said that Mum on the label, meaning the home where my mother had lived for the past seven years and two months. She had Alzheimers' Disease - she didn't know where she was, she didn't know me, she could no longer talk, sit up, feed herself... alll she could do, and that was rare now, was smile.

When i saw the name and the time I knew they weren't calling this time to tell me she had a scratch on her face or a Urinary Tract Infection (quite common in either elderly ladies or homes, I was never sure which). IT WAS OVER...


She had gone. Oh, I thought, my poor little mum but she is at peace now. And I turned off the phone and dozed.. for about five minutes and then I listened to the voicemail from the staff nurse telling me to call them as soon as possible.

Yes - that had to be The Call. So I dozed for another ten minutes because i knew that, from the moment I called them, my day would change; my routines would change, my life would probably change too.

And then, at 7.25 I made the call.... I really don't think that fifteen minutes made a difference to anyone apart from me. In those fifteen minutes I came to terms with the news before I heard it and was able to be composed when the staff nurse answered the call and burst into tears which told me exactly what I was expecting to learn.

I was composed because I had lost my 'real' mum two or three years earlier when she stopped being able to walk, to know who I was. I lost her when she began to babble more than talk; when she kept asking me if her dad knew where she was.....

And just who was my mum? I will tell you:

Little Myra – our little mum – she never changed! From the day she was born in Leytonstone in 1926 until the end, she never changed. She was always little and she could always switch on a huge smile that warmed everyone around her.

Her parents, Rosa and Hyman Kossack, spoiled her endlessly – but although their only child was charming with her tumbling bright red curls, she could be a liability too - as all sorts of mishaps happened around her.

Mum’s earliest memory was when the family chauffeur drove into a milk cart and the horse neighed through the open car window, absolutely terrifying her.
Then there was the time she was running ahead of her parents on a beach – and disappeared shoulder deep in quicksand which needed fast reactions from passers-by to save her.

Then there was the cat’s meat – delivered every day and pushed through the letterbox in a paper parcel. Our grandma was very angry at the end of one week when she thought the tradesman had been cheating her on weight… only to find that Little Myra had been eating it in secret!

Mum was an accomplished child ballet dancer – till one night a make up artist tried to strangle her. She was a great ice skater in her teens – until she broke her leg!

But the accomplishment we were all most proud of was the fact that she was a boxing champion too! We still have the certificate that she won – and she would often put up her fists in mock fighting pose to anyone who appeared to challenge her.

When Myra was eleven the family of three moved to Edgware. The original plan was to buy a house in Canons Drive – but at that time Jews were not allowed – isn’t that incredible? So they settled in Purcells Avenue and mum went to North London Collegiate School.

She became a teacher at Parkside School in Green Lane. She was known to all as Miss Myra and, right up until she moved away in 2004, she was often greeted in this way by past pupils or their parents when she wandered through the Broadwalk. In Edgware.

Our little Mum hated the war and always told us of how she would hide, terrified, under the heavy dining room table when the bombs were falling. But the GIs loved the beautiful tiny teenager with the 18-inch waist and long red ringlets and they would try to flirt, calling out ‘ Hi Red’ when she walked down the street.

Myra met Matt on the beach in Cliftonville and this was one holiday romance that lasted forever. When dad passed away 18 years ago, they had been on 42 years of honeymoon, they never called it a marriage.

They built their home in Harrowes Meade and we still have the photos of it from the moment the first bricks were laid.

My brother and I were born - not necessarily in that order - and completed their happiness. We were brought up in a traditional Jewish home, full of love and laughter, and with a great respect for education.

To give us the best start in this, Dad took on a market stall, selling dresses, in St Albans and mum, the most unlikely trader of all, thrilled in matching the customer to the outfit with unnerving accuracy – and took great pride in the fact that theirs was the first stall in the UK to have a changing room!

Mum was secretary to the Market Federation, St Albans branch, using her love of routine and her great admin skills. She was always doing some sort of good deed within the community, - getting people to donate to charity, for instance, far beyond their original intentions… once she had smiled that huge smile.

She learned to drive in her thirties – it only took five attempts at the test! She was a well known sight in Edgware, driving her little white car with yellow duck transfers hiding the dents and our cocker spaniel on the front seat.

Once Dad had passed away, and then Alzheimer’s struck, Mum continued to be fun and friendly, needing constant social activities throughout the regression; she was still able to make friends and chatter away when she finally moved to the Nightingale Home seven years ago.

To begin with she led an enjoyable life with activities three times a day – from keep fit and concerts to films and theatre outings – she just never remembered she had been to any of them afterwards!

I know she was very happy and settled during that time and she made good friends before the deteriorations really worsened. She left us peacefully, aged 84, without physical illness. But that huge smile – it never left….

Goodbye Little Myra, my mum.....

4 Comments:

Blogger Brian Sibley said...

A wonderful portrait and tribute. Your Mum was obviously a very special lady.

Ha'makom yenahem etkhem betokh she'ar avelei Tziyonvi'Yerushalayim.

8:06 am  
Blogger Diva of Deception said...

Thank you.... uhm..... did you get a translation with that quote? I got the last word but.... ! :)

3:02 pm  
Blogger Diva of Deception said...

ohh and the third word too! I am improving1

3:03 pm  
Blogger Brian Sibley said...

I believe it is the traditional Judaic farewell to mourners: May God console you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

12:08 am  

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