Greetings from my ‘long lost mother’

John Ward
John Ward
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WARD’S WORLD: By madcap inventor John Ward

The internet has changed so much in its brief, all things considered, existence in the last few years that now people’s lives are seemingly controlled by it in assorted forms as in what they should be eating, drinking, their breathing pattern plus what to wear or be thinking about. Alleged ‘offers’ abound: the occasional tempting offer about ‘precious enlargement’ is tempting but I’m not sure which photo I consider as being that precious that I need it enlarging but, oddly, they seem to spell ‘precious’ differently most of the time. There is another side of course to all this that is quite entertaining if taken in short doses and that is the other assorted online (amazing or amusing) messages, assorted ‘offers’ (legal or not so) and scams, but one that tickled me a few years ago was the following.

I read it twice and I think I had worked it out. It claimed to be from my ‘long lost mother, Mary’ who wanted to get in contact with me, which was quite surprising as I knew Mum, the one I know about, was only going to nip into her local Co-op that morning to get her shopping and I would be popping over to pick her up, so I assumed the numerous offers were more than she first thought as, perhaps, there was more on offer than the oven-ready Bison Burgers, and throw the hooves in for the dog to chew over, that she knew about. She usually rang when she was ready to be picked up, but now she had now gone ‘up-market’ and was using the electronic highway – next I could see she would be looking into replacing the wooden rollers in her mangle (early crude form of spin dryer as I may have pointed out before but feel free to look it up online, the electronic one and not the washing one) for the oak, long life ones as used on Admiral Lord Nelson’s HMS Victory in his day and they don’t shatter buttons if too much pressure is exerted in the winding process.

Shortly later, she did ring and I never mentioned anything about ‘her email’ and popped over as normal and loaded the shopping up and away we went. Getting home she put the kettle on to make the tea and we sat down and I asked her if, just if, she had any knowledge about ‘my long lost mother, Mary’ who had been in touch.

Her eyebrows shot up and she gazed into her tea and she asked if I was being serious (oh dear, oh dear) and I said I was asking her a straight question and she thought about it, then moved closer to me and looking around us to see if there was anybody else there (my ‘other’ mother perhaps?) as she leaned over and uttered those wonderful words: ‘Do you think you are twins at all?’ You will be thrilled or even elated to know I kept my composure – it’s amazing what you can keep in those plastic air tight little boxes and how did we manage before without them? – and I parried her reply with: ‘Well, you should know as to the amount of washing you used to do when I was living here, as was it more than you expected from just one’ to which she replied it could explain the missing cup and saucer she had somehow mislaid years before as it was part of a full set: four cups, five saucers, two tea plates plus milk jug.

I gently broke it to her that this was a scam and she said they had it during the last war (the John Mills/Dickie Attenborough one) as meat was on ration then but they still sell it today as it’s not just a wartime thing anymore but I pointed out she was getting mixed up as that was Spam, although its now morphed onto the internet as well but you can’t eat this version although you can suffer through it

I explained that ‘my long lost mother, Mary’ (other lengths are available of course and perhaps a shorter one would be cheaper to run – who knows?) was basically asking for money (now there’s a novelty..) so she could ‘come to see me’ (?!) as she lived in Waddayoumecallit or wherever and had hit hard times – it’s like cricket but with a different shaped bat I believe – and although she ‘thought a lot of me’ (gosh..) and I thought unless the mirror is playing up, there is a lot of me to think about.

It would have been interesting to see how far this might have gone but after a week or so, I replied I was my twin brother replying on my behalf as ‘I’ had died of neglect as our cruel wicked mother, Mary, had cleared off earlier in our lives and left us to fend for ourselves plus they were still running raffles down at the local “Armpit and Cufflink” boozer to help pay the funeral costs as we had lost that nice Michael Parkinson’s phone number in order to join his funeral club.

Oddly I/we did not get a reply or anything towards the above costs which shows what a caring mother she wasn’t.

Another aspect is the internet dating sites, which seem to work for some and not others. Pauline and I as kids went to the same infant and junior schools. She has been married and divorced three times, two straightforward jobs and the last one on a points system similar to flipping a coin, she said, but she had got custody of the upright piano, which she later found out had woodworm, but unsure how the pigeon dropping got inside. I saw her a few years ago and she told me ‘she deserved better’ and I asked if Better was going to do the decent thing and the possible sound of iced fruit cake being cut again?.

She told me the pitfalls of being a little too optimistic in finding her P P - Perfect Partner - and the main attribute was a sense of humour (her mum was still alive and did the final selection process in that creative section) followed by wanting ‘somebody in uniform’ and it seems she had been made to believe or lead to, that one applicant for the Mr Perfect-Partner position was a Lowtenant or Mayjaw in the army, which army or side was not mentioned, but when they finally met up he did indeed wear a uniform in the ‘day job’ as he was a car park attendant in Manchester.

Another high hope was she thought she was conversing with an hospital surgeon who told her ‘he was a key mover and everybody relied on him and his fellow colleagues in the operating theatre’ where he performed and after umpteen messages and the inevitable meeting, he turned out to be a medical orderly and pushed patients around on trolleys before and after operations so he wasn’t lying, it’s called conniving normally.

So as I write, there has been no invite to meet her latest capture or next fruit cake cutting session although she may still be meeting a few via the electronic highway.