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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 22-Oct-15 12:02:23

All you need is love

Melissa Hill spent a childhood accompanied by the tones of many, many Beatles cassettes, and was horrified to find that her dad had sacrificed his entire collection of vinyls to buy a pram when she was born.

But is there anything a parent wouldn't sacrifice for their child?

Melissa Hill

All you need is love

Posted on: Thu 22-Oct-15 12:02:23


Lead photo

"I deeply understood how much of a sacrifice this must have been for my dad"

Beatles music was the soundtrack to my childhood.

Summer afternoons spent playing in the garden with Here Comes the Sun in the background, birthday parties boogying to All You Need is Love; any Fab Four song or anthem I hear immediately summons a fond childhood memory.

Though I'm not as big a fan as my dad - who at family events is always first on the dance floor to Twist & Shout, and recently celebrated a birthday to When I'm Sixty Four - to me Beatles music is a shortcut for happy family life.

Nearly all the tunes he played for us as kids were on cassette though, and one day when I was about seven years old, something struck me when we were at my grandparents' house, where my dad loved playing my grandfather's old Glen Miller vinyls - why didn't we have any in our house, particularly Beatles records?

When I asked, my mother dropped a bombshell that to this day still has the power to make me deflate; when I was a baby, my dad sold his entire collection - which included a selection of rare first edition Beatles albums - to buy me a pram. Like many Irish families in the seventies, my parents weren't well-off, and when their first child arrived did their best to make ends meet.

"I made a secret promise to myself that one day, that I'd try to track the albums down and get them back for him"

Even at a young age, I deeply understood how much of a sacrifice this must have been for my dad, and was so upset about the realisation that I couldn't listen to the music for years afterwards.

The idea of him putting his entire collection - which I know must have been so carefully curated - up for sale, and parting with not only the vinyls themselves but the accompanying memories, must have been heartbreaking.

Over the years, and despite my dad's protestations that they're long forgotten about, I never stopped thinking about those old first editions; where they might have ended up, the people who'd bought them and whether or not they still had them.

I made a secret promise to myself that one day, that I'd try to track the albums down and get them back for him, though I know he wouldn't expect or hear of it. To say nothing of the fact that there were no identifying marks or initials indicating ownership, and sadly thus no way of knowing if they're the real thing.

But the writer in me remains piqued by the notion of what a fantastic project (though a Long and Winding road) it would be to seek out those vinyls, uncover the stories behind each one, and the adventures they might have had in the meantime.

I know my dad is not the only one who's sacrificed something precious for family and loved ones. Parents do it all the time.

For me personally, giving up a collection of treasured books accumulated over the years would be a difficult one, but for my daughter, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Melissa's book The Hotel on Mulberry Hill is published by Simon and Schuster and is available from Amazon.

By Melissa Hill

Twitter: @melissahillbks

sassy60 Sat 24-Oct-15 11:07:59

We had three children so did not have any money for luxuries of any kind. No holidays, fancy clothing or food etc. as we wanted the best shoes in particular for our children. We always had their feet measured and our daughter and son take their children to the same shop they went to.
I do not look at things as making sacrifices as we were happy to provide the best for our kids, that is not to say they always had the latest toy as I do not believe in spending too much on things like that but they always had good food and days out when possible. I was a stay at home mum and never regretted that. It was so good to be able to attend sports days, concerts etc. although I do understand those that want or need to return to work. Maybe I can be the one to go to plays and sports days for my grandkids now. smile

lindenny Sat 24-Oct-15 11:16:21

It wasn't a sacrifice but a privilege to donate a kidney to my son 20 years ago when he was a 21 year old student. He has gone on to marry and have 3 children and become a teacher making a really valuable contribution to society. So my non- sacrifice has brought me only joy and pride!

annsixty Sat 24-Oct-15 11:23:33

Well done lindenny.

Chris1603 Sat 24-Oct-15 11:39:48

Sacrifice is such an ugly word. Giving with love seems more appropriate to me.

rosesarered Sat 24-Oct-15 12:12:30

Melissa, I think this means more to you, than it probably did for your Father.
You have built it up out of all proportion.We sell things we need to, and the need for a pram was more pressing than some records at the time.

stillhere Sat 24-Oct-15 12:16:06

For most of us there is just a fleeting thought of 'Oh well, it would have been nice', but then we just get on with it and go without.

I find it harder to understand those parents who seem supremely selfish. The ones who want to smoke and drink heavily when they can't afford to feed their children properly. I have had a few ups and downs in my life, I was a single parent on a very low income for a while, and do remember a pang as I sold my lovely clothes to friends and dress agencies, but now I can't even remember what those clothes looked like. What I do remember very clearly is a party dress that I was able to buy DD with some of the proceeds, and her face when she saw it.

rosequartz Sat 24-Oct-15 12:27:23

I sent all my Elvis collection to the first Blue Peter Great Bring and Buy Sale in 1979.
I still think about my collection, but hope that it did someone some good somewhere in the world.

Donna1962 Sat 24-Oct-15 21:48:54

My only son and his wife have been trying for a baby for three years. Sadly tests reveal that they both have infertility problems and their only chance to start a family is to have IVF. The procedure is very expensive and they cannot afford it. I decided to help them by borrowing the money myself. So next week they start on this journey. I hope with all my heart it is successful and they get to become parents. If it isn't then at least I know that I helped them to try.

Indinana Sat 24-Oct-15 22:20:38

Oh Donna1962 I can so empathise with you. My daughter's one and only round of IVF resulted in her beautiful little girl, born in June this year. She always knew this would be her only chance and the fact that it worked first time is something for which she never stops being grateful - and amazed!
I wish your son and his wife all the luck in the world, and hope they will have the same good fortune as my daughter. flowers

Maggiemaybe Sat 24-Oct-15 22:46:22

I hope so too, Indinana. Are they not entitled to IVF treatment on the NHS, Donna1962?

Luckygirl Sat 24-Oct-15 22:56:26

Oh - good luck with the IVF - I do so hope it works for them.

I think we will all have had to sell something we liked in order to make ends meet. We had to sell our caravan, in which we had spent memorable holidays, in order to fund a new heating boiler.

janepearce6 Sun 25-Oct-15 11:42:35

Why on earth would you think like that anyway - sacrifice! That's what we all signed up to do. Some regret it when kids disappoint but they didn't ask to be brought into the world so it's always up to parents whether they like it or not!!

trisher Sun 25-Oct-15 11:58:18

I think this blog signifies much of the difference between us older folk and younger generations. For us having "things" was always an extra and not having them, or having to get rid of them, was just the norm. It wasn't a matter of sacrifice just of making ends meet. Younger people view possessions as essentials and can't understand how life can be lived without them. The writer's father still had the music, the vinyl was nice but never really what it was all about. The song says it all.

Judthepud2 Sun 25-Oct-15 14:02:04

Lindenny that was an amazingly brave and loving gift you gave to your son, and your grandchildren must be your thanks.

The posts on here bear out the argument that we are not the 'selfish' generation. DH and I never expected foreign holidays, new TVs, dishwashers etc. We just got on with trying to make ends meet, not easy with 4 children. Our first car cost £40 and you could see the road through the floor. Our washing machine was a second hand Hoover Keymatic purchased to cope with the huge number of terry nappies filled by our twin babies! It died when DS came along so we borrowed from parents to get a new one. I remember the excitement of buying it. A real new automatic. smile

When inflation went up to 24%, we even reduced our food intake so that the children would have enough.

trisher Sun 25-Oct-15 14:59:08

Just realised my post sounds as if I am condemning this generation I didn't mean it to. This generation is after all what we made it. How things got so changed I'm not sure.

lindenny Sun 25-Oct-15 15:58:38

Thank you Judthepud2. You are right, my grandchildren are my thanks. I hope Donna1962 is equally rewarded! smile

Luckygirl Sun 25-Oct-15 17:49:32

My SIL has just cleared our loft - I have thrown away so much on the grounds that the children would simply have to throw it out themselves when OH and I depart this life. I kept the sentimental things - mainly artworks and cards made by my children - an artistic lot!

But what a load of c**p we had up there! - all covered in mouse urine/poo and warfarin - yuk!

adaunas Sun 25-Oct-15 22:00:33

Sacrifice seems a bit strong, but though we love our grandchildren dearly, the biggest 'gift' we are giving is putting our retirement plans on hold so we can do child care 5 days a week even in school holidays. The bonus is that it is frequently fun, but I never planned to be up at 6am once I retired.

dorsetpennt Mon 26-Oct-15 09:09:53

I agree with adaunas the word sacrifice is a bit strong. Parents do what they have to do to care for their children . That could be giving up a valued record collection , lack of holidays, doing without presents etc. It's what we do, for the kids , our reward is grandchildren . These we can spoil because we now have more money . These we don't worry about so much . These we have more time for, because we have more time.

JamJar1 Mon 26-Oct-15 09:29:45

Daughter being a 70's baby we sold all our hardbacks to a book shop, were ripped off too I remember smile to buy her first birthday present, one of those Matchbox I think play boots. But all other parents we knew did this at the time. Records, books etc.

RuthSovoie Mon 26-Oct-15 13:46:50

My man is as the call them - a DJ and I have a slight idea of how precious even a single vinyl could mean for a music lover. Not sure if you could find first editions, but nowadays it's way easier to find those albums in digital (not the same of course) but it's still something. I think that even though it's not vinyl, it will still melt his heart. smile

Elizabeth1 Tue 27-Oct-15 06:00:09

Awe lindenny how beautiful you must be. I just loved your story it was so moving and in my experience so full of love in an age of fairly early pioneering work towards your dear son.