My Mum would have loved this… 12 Silk Handkerchiefs, Reg Meuross

International Women’s Day in Hull and we are about to perform my song cycle ’12 Silk Handkerchiefs’, based on Brian W Lavery’s book ‘The Headscarf Revolutionaries’, for the third time. Once again the gorgeous
Hull Minster is packed out and additional chairs are being put in place. My attention is caught by three impressive women in the front row, big hair, faux leopard skin and fur and their fragrance is almost visible. I go over and introduce myself. Jill offers a firm handshake and tells me she is the widow of one of the fishermen on The Finbarr in Brian’s second book about Trawling disasters, ‘The Luckiest Thirteen’. She was a young woman then but she carried the memory close to the surface of her handsome face. Although I felt she was eager to emphasise that her widowhood didn’t define her there was a sense of pride in her ownership of that memory. Behind her sat another woman, the daughter of her equally resplendent friend, a different generation and yet dressed in the same proper going out clothes.
As with all the people I spoke to in that warm and appreciative audience that night, there was a
powerful sense of community and respect for the story we were telling. And a strong feeling that every person in that grand and elaborate place treasured their connection to that story. The venue itself, as elegant and lofty as it was, could easily have been a simple village hall, (although we wouldn’t have had the added treat of
Rachel’s gorgeous photos). It was right that those poor souls should be remembered in such a grand and reverent setting but the true honour was in the hearts of those who generously gave their time to share the event with us.
Looking out at the end on Jill’s soulful face and feeling the warmth and camaraderie of the audience I thought ‘My Mum would have loved this’
’12 Silk Handkerchiefs’. Remembering Lillian Bilocca, the ‘Headscarf Revolutionaries’ and those lost at sea in the Triple Trawler Disaster of 1968.
Hull Minster March 2019
– with Brian W Lavery, Sam Martyn and Mick McGarry 

Reg Meuross Singer Songwriter Storyteller