I had the same drawer 24 years later! She went to Lawrence Road school but sadly she often had to skip classes in order to help her mum with the ever growing gang of brothers and sisters.

As the eldest of 10, my mum had to help with hand washing and ironing the laundry which included the bedding for 12 rooms in a small hotel run by a rather strict paternal grandmother.

Ivy may not have had a formal education but she was very intelligent and full of wisdom about how to live a good and productive life filled with love, kindness and a gigantic capacity for hard work.
Ivy on the left with siblings Sue and Bobby in backyard of 23 Fordham Street Liverpool on Go Car made my Grandad  Cook, her Father
My mum was very independent and fearless so at the age of 56 she learnt to drive so she could travel to look after my Gran and Granddad every day. She was incredibly loving and her family was everything to her. Our big family of uncles and aunties further enriched my wonderful childhood and my life.

When I married Ruth, my mum took her under her wing as her best friend (after first checking out Ruth's laundry skills were up to scratch!) and when my children Romily and Rea came along then her life was complete. They couldn’t have wished for a better grandmother. Unfortunately Ruth died far too early, after a long illness in which my mum stood by our side. My parents stepped in to help me and then later after dad's death my mum came to live with us. Always feisty, we loved and argued and loved again. She was instrumental in helping me to get both girls through school and university and, in her last months, in turn my daughters cared for her. We are all forever grateful for being loved and looked after so well by her.

I long daily to hear her wonderful loud laugh and feel her touch. I mourn she can’t see her ‘girls’ success and witness the wonderful young women they have become nor meet Anita my second wife, who has brought me back to life, as she would have heartily welcomed her into our family.  We miss her every moment of every day.

Alf, Rea and Romily
Photographed by Gerome's Studio Liverpool. Ivy aged 22 or 23. Carried by Alf throughout WWII
Ivy and Alf on 2nd day of honeymoon, during Dad's leave in 1942 near Llandudno in Bed & Breakfast. That charge for use of the Cruet!
Ivy and young Alf (aged 3)  on first post war holiday. 3 days in the Isle of Man on front on Douglas
Ivy was beautiful and was very sort-after in her teens and early twenties. She was very good at dancing and always had a string of beaus lining up to be her partner! My dad, Alf, fought them off with humour and gentleness which my mum valued more than anything else. They were a wonderful couple: loving, loyal and truly perfect for each other.

During the war, my mum worked long shifts in an ammunition factory and she continued to do so after having me in 1944. Her natural leadership capabilities soon marked her out as a forewoman and she enjoyed great loyalty from the girls who worked with her. So much so that for the rest of her life she was often accosted in the street by someone who had been on her team. Ivy gained fame in a bombing raid for leading 'her girls’ away from a new air raid shelter that had been disguised as a flower bed. “That looks like a grave” she shouted and took them to another. The flower bed shelter she’d avoided sadly took a direct hit so she became a legend amongst the women.

To me, she always was a legend too. As a child I had a major accident to my arm and my parents cared for me and helped me with my physiotherapy every day for seven years. They sought to protect me but gave me the confidence and freedom to be the person I am today.

Money was tight and Ivy often worked at 3 jobs, all menial and hard but she later trained as a beautician and worked in all the Liverpool Department stores as well as Harrods in London. Ivy had beautifully soft skin, an amazing smile and barely a wrinkle, in fact, such was her beauty that even in her 80’s strangers could not believe she wasn’t 60!

Ivy and young Alf taken at great expense again at Gerome's studio Liverpool
Photographed by Gerome's Studio Liverpool. Ivy aged 22 or 23. Carried by Alf throughout WWII
y mum Ivy Cook was born in Fordham Street, Kirkdale, Liverpool, and had the bottom drawer of a chest as a crib.

Ivy Menzies (nee Cook)1918-2001

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