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 Clarice’s short life – 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 with 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 following Friday to bid her farewell.
Although there are always more questions than answers with Clarice – the events of that week do appear to have happened rather quickly and having taken a look through my archives and in the absence of any memorial card, letter of sympathy or an order of service I have discovered some images from a June visit to Woodlands Crematorium in the coastal town of Scarborough.
As Woodlands opened in 1961, Clarice was among one of the first to be cremated here and ever since many of the Tibbett family have now joined her AND as there are many more of the Tibbett clan buried a stone’s throw away in Woodlands Cemetery – my family history research has kept me VERY busy over the years!
As Clarice’s remains were ‘removed’ by the funeral director in the days following – I still have no idea where she finally went to!
Having discovered the burial entries for her parents in Hull Northern Cemetery and convinced that her ashes had been interred with them – alas, after trawling through more records in the Hull History Centre, my hopeful theory was dashed.
Although for many years, I knew nothing of Clarice other than her name and that she had taken her own life, 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 before my persistence was rewarded.
I can still remember the arrival of that large brown envelope with her death certificate enclosed and my thoughts upon reading 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:
Aged 48. Peace perfect peace – 1962
There is no other information available as to the identity of the loved one who commissioned this inscription but I for one am delighted that they took the time to do so and that every year on June 19 – her name endures for posterity.
Before leaving for the day, I took a stroll through the Garden of Remembrance and as I enjoyed an idyllic hour pottering among the tributes, flowers and keepsakes in the afternoon sun – 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 – 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 just fine with me.