“She never forgave him for dying?”

“So close to their diamond wedding anniversary, you see. She missed out on their message from the queen.”

“She will not be happy now then.” Memory brought life back to the face of the redoubtable dame who had been my great-grandmother. “So close to a hundred.”

Mary Elizabeth Hannah, my great-grandmother in her nineties.

A true story… my great grandfather seriously upset his wife by dying shortly before their sixtieth wedding anniversary. They had married in 1912, they would both be twenty that year. Their courtship had involved great grandad walking across the moors to court the pretty young lass he had fallen in love with. When he died in 1970, Great Grandma was devastated. Not only because she was sort of used to having him around, but because she would no longer qualify for the congratulatory telegram from Her Majesty that was sent out to mark such occasions… and she had been counting down the years.

She was indeed a redoubtable woman and had far more birthdays than was her fair share. The handwritten certificate of her birth gave the date as ‘the 30th, the last day of March.’ As there are thirty-one days in that month and she herself was uncertain which date was correct, she insisted on celebrating her birthday twice.

Great Grandma, in spite of ill health, retained her character and humour and, although they remember very little of their ‘very old grandma’, my sons had their great-great-grandmother in their lives until my youngest son was nearly four.

When it became clear that she was finally about to give up the ghost, she hung on with all the determination she could muster but just failed to reach her centenary by a matter of months. Great Grandma was really not pleased about missing out on both her telegrams from the queen.

For Sacha’s 52 word challenge.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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33 Responses to Telegram

  1. Ritu says:

    Love the back history of the story!


    • Sue Vincent says:

      I was so lucky to have my great-grandparents around for so long 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ritu says:

        You were! I knew one of great grandma from my mums paternal side. She was a true Indian matriarch of her family. Lived until104 but the last few years of her life were hard as she never got over losing her son, my grandfather so early and horrifically (he was shot by intruders at his farm. ) x


        • Sue Vincent says:

          How terrible that must be… I can almost understand that, even though I didn’t quite lose Nick it did look as if I would for a long time.
          I knew several of mine…but this one managed to be there for yet another generation. x

          Liked by 1 person

          • Ritu says:

            You are truly blessed.
            I never knew my paternal grandparents… they passed away. My Pops didn’t ever really know his dad but his mum passed away when he was at university. My mums parents I was blessed to know. But Nanaji passed away as I said when I was 6. He was a great man. Left an amazing g legacy due to his philanthro6in Kenya. My grandma was there until I was 23… though she was in a different country.
            I did get to develop a lovely relationship with both my granny-in-laws after I married and before they passed away.
            I’m just so glad my children have all 4 of their grandparents 😊


  2. What an amazing story, Sue! 60 years married! I hope I last that long 😀


  3. Bernadette says:

    Your grandmother sounds like a strong woman. “Growing old isn’t for sissies.” Bette Davis


  4. Oh, what bad luck for her to miss out on two telegrams from the Queen, especially the centenary one by a few months.
    She sounded a formidable woman, Sue. 🙂


  5. Widdershins says:

    I suspect that when her Majesty reached the afterlife, she and Great Grandma will have an interesting conversation. 😀


  6. I love strong women 😀 You come from very solid stock!


  7. dgkaye says:

    Well done Sue. And what a story! ❤ 🙂


  8. You were indeed fortunate to have great grandparents for so long. I can understand the disappointment of missing two congratulatory messages. Great remembrance, Sue. 🙂 — Suzanne


  9. Sacha Black says:

    What an awesome backstory -although your poor nan she must be cursing up there!


  10. raoulworks says:

    It was amazing . Loved the way you wrote it.


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