Born on a Tuesday,
Baptised on a Tuesday,
Married on a Tuesday,
Took ill one Saturday,
Died that Tuesday,
Inquest held on the Thursday,
Cremated on the Friday,
That was the end,
Of Clarice Tibbett.
In case you haven’t recognised it, I have corrupted the ballad of poor old Solomon Grundy written by James Orchard Halliwell in 1842 and even though ‘Tuesday’ would be the most prophetic day during the short life of Clarice Tibbett – I have been musing on the fact that in less than a week after she died on June 19 1962, her inquest had been opened, a verdict rendered and on a cloudy afternoon the day following – her funeral had taken place.
It seems incredible that in less than 156 hours since that fateful Saturday lunchtime in which she had appeared ‘normal and cheerful’ to her husband John that her loved ones would gather the Friday following at Woodlands Crematorium in Scarboro to bid her ‘adieu’
Maybe I’m over-thinking this but the events of that week appear to have happened rather quickly and with Clarice there are always more questions than answers, however, as her funeral was held 56 years ago on this very day in 1962, I have taken a look through my archives and in the absence of any Memorial Card, a Letter of Sympathy or an Order of Service – I have discovered some images from my last June visit to Woodlands Crematorium.
The journey to the crematorium is along the leafy Woodlands Drive and having travelled this road on more than one occasion, I have often imagined that the tranquil view as one approaches the long sweeping drive to the entrance must be a reassuring sight to those on their own voyage of sadness.
As Woodlands opened in 1961, Clarice was among one of the first to be cremated here and since 1962, many of the Tibbett family have now joined her and I should add that as many more from the Tibbett clan are buried a stone’s throw away in Woodlands Cemetery; my family history research here has kept me very busy over the years!
As Clarice’s remains were ‘removed’ by the funeral director, I still have no idea of the place where she finally ended up!
Even after I discovered the burial entries for her parents last year in the City of Hull and managed to convince myself that her ashes had been interred with them, but alas, after trawling through more records in the Hull History Centre – another theory had been dashed although I still live in hope!
And, yes, I have asked (or nagged depending on who you ask!) if they have any idea where Clarice is and despite some wild and crazy ideas, I remain determined for being able to locate the final resting place of the individual associated with my research endeavours has always been important to me and when my search is unsuccessful, I usually feel a sense of disappointment as if the final piece of the jigsaw is missing.
I revealed in an earlier post on my ‘Clarice Blog’ that I knew nothing of her for many years other than her name and that she had taken her own life and it would take several more to discover the actual year that she died and with my clan reluctant to tell or feigning poor memory; it took hours of scrawling through the on-line records of one of the first BMD websites and before the discovery of user friendly name searches before my persistence was rewarded.
I can still remember the arrival of that large brown envelope with her death certificate inside and my thoughts when I read the words:
Deceased killed herself whilst the balance of her mind was disturbed…
However, that story is for another post!
And despite the absence of knowing her final resting place, there is a memorial to her in the Book of Remembrance at Woodlands Crematorium with a two line tribute which reads:
Aged 48. Peace perfect peace – 1962
There is no other information available as to the identity of the loved one who commissioned this inscription for Clarice but I for one am delighted that they did and that every year on June 19 – her name endures for posterity.
On this visit before it was time for me to leave, I took a stroll through the Garden of Remembrance which is vast space and with the sun shining as I enjoyed an idyllic hour pottering among the tributes, flowers and keepsakes that had been left with affection; the second verse from the magnificent 1914 Rupert Brooke poem The Soldier came to mind…
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
For despite my frustration over the whereabouts of Clarice’s remains, here at least in the grounds of Woodlands Crematorium, there really is ‘some corner of a foreign field’ that will be forever associated with her memory and that’s fine with me.