Wednesday, March 06, 2013

To all of you wavers

I noticed a sad but lovely notice in a window in the house on the corner of Musgrove Road and Troutbeck Road in New Cross last week. It read 'Deborah - the lady in the window passed away on Friday 22 February. To all of you wavers, very many thanks it made her day'. Somebody had left some flowers outside too.

For the last five years, maybe more, Deborah had become a feature of the walk home from New Cross Gate station for school kids, commuters and neighbours, sitting in her window watching the world go by - and waving. Regular wavers felt that they knew her, some even called to talk. Her neighbour Stephen Carrick-Davies interviewed her for the Mixer zine in 2011:

'From her window on Musgrove Road, Deborah Tatley gazes out on her world with a smile. To locals she’s “that lovely woman who waves to passers by. ” But behind every smile there’s a story, and this story is nearly 90 years old. Born in January 1922 (she’ll be 90 on January 27th) Deborah grew up in Suffolk. When war came she worked on a farm looking after animals as a Land Girl. As we talk a stray cat comes into the room –“We’ve three cats in this house” she laughs, “ but we’ve just seemed to acquire this new stray.“ The cat arches its back and rubs against the rim of her wheel chair. “During the war we didn’t have much, but looking back we were happy. We just got on with it. It was the real friendliness which kept us going,” she says.

Later she worked for the Sun Alliance Insurance company before she and her husband moved to Telegraph Hill to live with her son in 1979. “London was such a great place to retire to,” she says. “Free bus passes, so much to do, wonderful people, who could ask for more? I’ve lived here for 30 years and love it.” ...There’s a quiet content in Deborah. Though she’s confined to her home she has such an active mind. She knows what’s happening locally and asks me about what’s happening at the New Cross Library. I notice she’s been reading the newspaper. “I’m scared that we are going through another turmoil in Europe,” she says as we start to talk about the world outside her window. “The behaviour of some these days is so hard to understand. We need to show more kindness, more friendliness, more compassion to each other – especially in these uncertain times".'

Despite being housebound, Deborah did her bit to put that into practice. Communities are built up of mutual recognition and respect, and the small everyday gestures of waving, nodding and saying hello are an essential part of weaving that web of social connections.



Waving is good and we like it. Torbay's Waving Wizard gives out good wave!

Deptford Dame said...

That's a lovely story. There's something comforting about waving to people you don't know, it's a brief moment of human connection like a smile or the kindness of a stranger.