I’ve recently written about a series of books I’ve read by Debbie Johnson called the Comfort Food Cafe. The owner of the cafe and matriarch of Budbury is called Cherie Moon.
I don’t know about you but when I’m reading I can often identify certain character traits with people I know in real life. My real life Cherie Moon was called Joan and I last saw her about 10 maybe even 15 years ago. Joan was one of life’s natural born carers, someone who would wrap you up and make you feel safe and looked after.
Joan lived around the corner from my parents so I had vaguely been aware of her from a young age but didn’t get to know her until I was in my 20s. She’d had a tough life, lost her husband early and single handedly brought up her disabled daughter and cared for her aged mother who was in ill health too. But she never felt hard done by, she was always happy, always giving and always putting others first.
I got to know her as she offered a reflexology service from home, charging just a few paltry pounds for a treatment. She just wanted to help people and the small payment would top up her pension as by then she was in her late 60s.
To look at her you’d think she was much younger. Like Cherie Moon she was of stout build with encompassing bosoms. Kind of like a softer Kim Woodburn (from Kim and Aggie duo). Always immaculately turned out even though all her clothes were from charity shops or handmade. Her hair was always in an updo. She cut and styled it herself although you’d think she’d just stepped out of a high end London boutique salon.
Somehow I ended up going to see her during my depressive years. I believe she had a sixth sense and somehow drew you in. She was incredibly spiritual, not in a ‘shove religion down your throat’ way, but a nurturing, healing way. Not only did I get reflexology, but a lovely visualisation journey, a bit of shoulder massage and a realignment of my aura. She was like a counsellor too, never offering advice but listening and asking questions in a way that would lead you to come to your own resolutions.
I’d spend a couple of hours at Joan’s every fortnight and loved to hear her stories of how she’d taught English to children in foreign lands when she was younger. And how she was at that time a governor and helper at the local Infant school. Of course, all the children loved her and she’d tell me about the funny things they’d say. She went out every week to concerts or dancing with friends, I think she could be quite the party animal when she didn’t have her teacher head on!
I kept visiting Joan for several years and she continued to ‘work’ into her mid even late 70s when she decided to move to Portsmouth to live near her sisters. A big loss for us locally but I’m glad that she was finally going to make more time for herself.
I don’t know if Joan is still with us. I’m sure she will live to a ripe old age and carry on living life to the full to the very last breath. I’ve been thinking of her a lot lately so thought I’d share ‘our story’. She is someone who made a big impression on me and aided my recovery greatly. I’d love to have the opportunity to tell her just what an impact she made on me and no doubt many others during her life. I’ve no way of tracking her down but I have a feeling that she’s out there somewhere and will just know.
Have you ever had a ‘Joan’ or ‘Cherie Moon’ in your life? Do you wish you could tell someone what impact they had on your own life but feel too embarrassed to do that? It’s such a British thing isn’t it, leaving it til it’s too late! Feel free to share in the comments below.