Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Loved by all

When starting to write this account of Iris, I found myself in a quandary. Where do I begin? How can I explain why she was so very special? What did she possess that nobody else I had ever known have? Why was she so popular with all my friends and family? Why did they love her?
I have asked several people who are still around who knew her for their views.

To answer all these questions, I must start right at the beginning of our relationship when I first got to know Iris. At that time, she was just another girl whom one would pass in the street without so much as a second glance. She was a quiet mouse-like creature who hardly ever went out and for many years stayed at home looking after her idle semi-invalid mother who never worked in her entire life! However, for some reason I was instantly attracted to her; maybe it was because of her eyes. They were the most beautiful grey eyes I’d ever seen. I was mesmerized by them and from then on, I was smitten!
Iris wasn’t a dummy however. She was hard-working and held a responsible position as a shorthand typist with a commercial company in the city. She had studied shorthand at night-school after first joining the firm she worked for and soon became most proficient.
However, her social life was virtually non-existent before we met. I have explained this before in early posts in my blog, so regular readers will remember how it was.

At the time of our early relationship, the only people who knew about us were our very close friends; friends from work and social friends. Neither of our families was involved at this stage and it was over a year before they found out. Iris’s family were virtually non-existent and rarely contacted her. By that time, we were in a deep and lasting relationship.
I think the greatest quality of Iris was that she could readily adapt to any situation. This was a throwback from her childhood while in care. She realised from an early age that as a socially labelled ‘Deprived child’, she had to perform just that little bit better in her school work than the rest of her classmates. Fortunately for her, she was naturally intelligent and her school days were very happy even though she had been separated from her family. (see blog dated
Feb. 06th 2006, The early years)
When I first met Iris she was very withdrawn and not a good mixer. Apart from an unhappy on-off relationship that had lasted for around a year and fizzled out long before I met her, she never had a regular boyfriend. I remember the first few times we went out together; she was decidedly uncomfortable inasmuch that she wasn’t used to the attention she was being given. However, it wasn’t long before Iris blossomed out into an entirely different person who became instantly popular with my friends and acquaintances. A classic example was when my younger daughter first met Iris. She was immediately captivated by her even though it was long before she realised just how important she was in my life.

My mother, a stickler for family values also became very fond of her and accepted the fact that we were lovers despite her great affection for my wife. It was largely due to my mother that Iris became fashion-conscious. She had never really bothered about make-up and dressy clothes, as before we met, she never went out anywhere. After we became an ‘item’, she was mixing with my friends from work and with others and she gradually emerged from her shell. By the time mother and Iris met, (see blog May 20th 2006) she was taking great pride in her appearance and later, with mother’s help, she was encouraged to develop her social status; something she would never have dreamed of doing earlier. My mother wasn’t a snob in any way but she took Iris under her wing and introduced her to the ‘Coffee morning’ clique just as she had done with my wife several years earlier. I remember my mother taking her to be fitted for a smart costume. Iris had never worn anything like this before and she took to her new image like a duck to water! Mother was immensely proud of her ‘creation’ and they became firm friends until the day she died.
When eventually, my wife found out about Iris, it wasn’t long before she invited her to dinner and to join her in shopping expeditions. I once asked Barbara about how she felt towards Iris and she replied, “I can’t hate her or be jealous; she’s so very nice!” This was an opinion echoed by most of my friends who knew her.
Looking back, I realise I was so very lucky to have the three most important people in my life, my mother, wife and Iris in close harmony with each other.

Very soon after our relationship was cemented, every time I was invited out, it was always the same… “Will you be bringing Iris?” or if I went anywhere on my own, it was a case of “Where’s Iris?” We were accepted as a couple almost right from the start by all our friends
Iris was the first to help anyone in trouble. I suppose that this was due to her having had such a rough childhood herself. She was always there to lend an ear or to comfort. She was more than just a loving partner to me, more than just a good friend to others; she was a bloody saint!
Her funeral was attended by almost a hundred people; six from her family and all the rest were our close friends and work colleagues. This showed just how much she was loved.
Now, twenty-seven years after her death, she still lives on in my heart. I have a constant reminder of her in the form of a small photograph sitting on my desktop that I gaze at several times each day and I love her just as much now as I did all those years ago.

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