I opened it as soon as I got into my car and it was indeed from Rob. He had sent a short letter along with an enclosed tribute to Mum's old and dear friend, Trudy Cluderay, I have written about her now and again on this blog and always made a point of visiting her when I was in Alvechurch. Rob told me that she had died recently at the age of a hundred and one, when we last spoke on the phone, and said that he had saved the tribute that was published in the church of St. Laurence's newsletter: The Grapevine, which is delivered to all the villagers monthly.
Rob signed off his letter by saying that he really must do better than a letter every thirty years or so!
To read the tribute to Trudy, you can find the May edition of The Grapevine online here on page 13.Since she was born in 1914, the story of her life is a fascinating snapshot of a life lived faithfully and well, over a century of change. She was born in the era of Downton Abbey after all!
And here is an excerpt from a blog post in which I wrote about her in 2011, called All on a Summer's Sunday. She would have been 97 at the time.
Today from afar, I honour her memory and thank God for her life, spent quietly in a small village but sending a ripple around the world.
I walked to Snake Lane, to visit our friend Trudy. I hadn't wanted to knock on the door before, in case she couldn't come to open it, but at church Anne told me to just go in through the door and call out, "Is anybody home?" so that is what I did.
I found Trudy in the kitchen, struggling with the cap of a medication container. She is losing her sight and could not read the instructions that said to line up the raised arrow on the top and bottom of the opening. The pills got sorted out and Trudy came and sat down. At the church I had been told that the rule was to keep visits to ten minutes so as not to tire Trudy out, but she had so much to tell me that I know we went way over that limit. It was good to see this wonderful, faithful friend and hear all about her recent adventures.
This photo is of her late husband. I took it years ago at Alvechurch Baptist Church, as he played the piano during the coffee time after church. Trudy treasured the photo as she didn't have any recent ones of him. She keeps it on top of the piano.
Approximately 45 years ago Mr. Cluderay was Mum's piano teacher. She strove to practice faithfully after work, but although she played the accordian beautifully by ear, she didn't keep up her piano lessons for very long.
Trudy was thrilled to show me the photos below, of her granddaughter in New Zeeland, with her two children. For years this granddaughter was prayed for as she had a serious medical condition.
Eventually she had a bone marrow transplant and recovered, but was told she would never be able to have children due to the effects of heavy duty medications she had taken.
A young man fell in love with her and wanted to marry her in spite of the fact that she couldn't have children. God had other plans and, as Trudy put it, "Here are the children who were not supposed to be."
Before I left I asked if I could pray with her. Trudy eagerly said yes, and we clasped hands. I thanked God for her friendship, prayed for recovery from her ailments and thanked him for the light that she is in Alvechurch. She is a great example of faithfulness to God and of what
Friedrich Nietzsche wrote:
"The essential thing 'in heaven and earth' is...that there should be long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living."