Stubborness of a Generation


Tuesday 10 June, 2014 by Uncle Spike

We often hear about the ills of ‘the youth of today’, compared to those from just a couple of generations ago. Well, I agree that whilst there are many exceptions to any generalisation, that hardy bunch of folk who grew up in the 1930s to 1950s would probably beat modern youth hands down when it came to sheer tenacity.

One such example was my Aunty Doris. This grand old duchess was a fighter, and as stubborn as a mule if ever there was one worthy of such a claim. She was not a healthy lady by any stretch of the imagination, having had all sorts of ailments seriously affect her health; she had more bits removed and sewn up than I care to mention. But complain, err, nope, that just wasn’t on the cards.

Here she is with yes… Baby Spike. I was a happy little tiger by the looks of things too. And my ears were even big then by the looks of it 🙂


Spike 04_blog


Anyway, said aunty was given a few months to live due to the state of her health. At the time, my elder brother was a toddler and when told the news, she looked at that small boy and said point blank that she would “see the lad at university”.

She did succumb to her illnesses all right. The doctors were not wrong on that score. However, she stubbornly hung on, keeping generally fit and mobile, living on her own another 15 or 16 years until my brother had indeed entered university, and then, content at this fact, she sat back, and passed away.

It just goes to show that sheer determination and bloody single-mindedness obviously pays off. I have seen this more recently too with my late wife’s mother, who was known as The Phoenix by the doctors at her loal hospital, where she basically had a ‘season ticket’; after years of acute asthma, a couple of heart attacks, partial renal failure, broken bones etc….. but she refused to ‘go’, and lived another 20 odd years. Again, as stubborn as a truck without wheels.

When we were young, I admit it, we often looked at these ‘old folk’ and considered them unworthy of praise and admiration. But, on the contrary, not only do we owe our freedom and lives to many of that generation, I believe we should also take a leaf or two out of their book.

I am a stubborn, slightly pig-headed, fighter, I know that… I refuse to grow old (or grow up even), and today, as I battle with my Ab Challenge this month, I just look at the photo above, and ask myself, “Would she have whinged or given up?” – yeah right, as if.


23 thoughts on “Stubborness of a Generation

  1. lbeth1950 says:

    It ain’t over till it’s over. I love Aunty Doris!


  2. Rudy Owens says:

    My great grandma lived to be 93. Born in the 1880s. Tough as nails. Far as I know, a good soul. You learn grit from experience, and those with grit have mastered essential life skills. You can’t teach everything, and perhaps not this? Good post. I would agree.


  3. I really admire the tenacity and indefatigability of the bulldog spirit which many people from this era had and still had. My 100-year-old MiL is still going strong, and will be 101 in August. An amazing woman. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. dayphoto says:

    I loved this post! And I love the look of determination in her face…there is one more that I want to see grow up, it seems to say.

    Well, done!



  5. FLYNN says:

    Reblogged this on The Daily Pause and commented:
    Thanks Uncle Spike for sharing your precious/historical photo of you and your Aunt. I personally feel that I could barely keep up with the hardy generations of the past and their stubbornness to keep living through all the struggles WITHOUT today’s modern conveniences. Your/this post inspired me to have that same stubborn/fighting spirit to live and of course to get healthy, too.


  6. NikiMarie says:

    I love this. Wonderful post 🙂


  7. Moving post in honor of someone who was an important person in your life. And also to a whole generation of men and women who suck it up and went on despite the hardship of their lives.
    Did Auntie find your missing sock? Wherever babies grow up, there is always a picture of a baby wearing only one sock, which I love because it shows that we are all much more similar than different. Lovely post to read before starting my day. Thank you.


  8. potholesahead says:

    Stubborness runs in my sister’s and my blood too.
    My sister was diagnosed with a brain tumour, 14 years ago. The doctors’ prognosis was grim and gave her two years, at most. Well she blew that out of the water and defied all the odds. Five years after that, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and the docotors thought that with this combined with the brain tumour, she was for sure a goner. She blew the doctors minds when she recovered from the breast cancer and still going strong. Last fall, her brain tumour became active again and worse than her first diagnosis. She did the surgery again, combination of aggressive radiation and chemo everyday, for 12 weeks, immediately after the surgery. Now, she does chemo, one week a month to keep on top of it. She has had complications in the last four months with blod clots in the lungs and pneumonia, but she seems to come out strong in the end. The doctors will no longer give her a prognosis because she keeps exceeding their bounds and leaps.
    In my own life, I have been plagued with health problems all my life. Almost died from pneumonia at age, nine. Followed by unexplained, frequent and violent seizures from 17, until I was pregnant with my first child, at 26. Diagnosed with MS when I was 33. Fortunately, I was able to keep it mostly under control with healthy diet, exercise and treatment. Six years ago, I was diagnosed with cervical, uterus, ovarian and bladder cancer. Beat that. My bladder cancer returned the following year, as well as cancer in my left kidney. Beat that and has not returned. *knock on wood* In the last 3-4 years my latest hurdle is polycystic liver disease. I will not go on about all the details and complications of that. I am happy to say that I am now on a wait list for liver transpalnt. I am very optimistic and look forward to what I can accomplish, post-transplant.
    Many people cannot believe how much my sister and I have been through and still going through. They have said we are amazing, go on how strong and inspirational we are. Personally, I do think we are strong, but not special or amazing. People do not realize how strong they are or can be when faced with adversity. We are simply doing what we can to survive and making the best with what we have been dealt with. That is life. You can simply give up, I suppose. However, that is just not in my sister’s and my nature. We want to make the most of our lives, be with the people we love for as long as possible and we will go down fighting right to the end. 🙂


  9. joannesisco says:

    The generation before us were definitely survivors. They were not going to pass peacefully into the night but got dragged kicking and screaming. I hope I have some of my mom’s tenaciity when (if?) I reach my 80s!


  10. Shana Rae says:

    My Grandma was like that, in her later years she battled cancer and all manner of ailments, the last few years on her own after my Grandad passed on, but she was in her 90’s when she had a fatal heart attack. Give in, lie down and die was not part of her agenda, thankfully I’ve inherited that tenacity, though I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the next 50 years of my life!!


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