I have spoken to a number of people about Mrs la Lahodynska, who everyone knew as Mrs “L”. The most frequent comments are that she was a very caring person, someone who possessed a vast range of knowledge, had brilliant sewing skills and loved her family.
On a personal level I remember her as someone who went along to village jumble-sales where she would bargain for bric-a-brac items and sometimes buy clothing. I have learnt that she had the most amazing collection of bric-a-brac. I’ve also discovered that the clothing she bought was always something that could be altered into something that she could wear. How wonderfully practical and from someone who doesn’t sew, so (forgive the pun) clever!
There is so much to tell about Mrs L’s interesting life. Below are the recollections of just one person who knew her well and there’s more to follow, not least about her time at Hall Orchard Primary School.
Reﬂections on Mrs “L”, Mrs Ia Lahodynska
Many people will remember Mrs “L” from their time at Hall Orchard School where she worked as a teaching assistant for many years. Others will recall her “holding court” at Peppercorns Cafe in the High Street with her many friends, putting the world to rights.
My own recollections go back 50 odd years as I was a friend of her third son, Alex. He was in my class at Hall Orchard School, where we learnt the basics of life: reading, writing and arithmetic and where we first really noticed that girls were different to boys!
When the 11 Plus exam came along, only 3 of us out of our class passed - Alex, a boy called David Pick and myself. David Pick went off to Loughborough Grammar School, Alex and I went to Humphrey Perkins. With all the current debate about grammar schools did it really make a difference? Yes! A place in the Top Sets. The A stream might have given you kudos but overall probably not. Alex left Humphreys at age 16 and joined the army. Later he emmigrated to Canada and joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police although he was always a ‘city cop’ living and working in Toronto. Now he’s retired and enjoys ‘Snow-birding’, living mostly in Toronto but spending the winters in Arizona. I met up with him at his mum’s funeral along with his brothers, Walter and Lou. Mrs L’s daughter, Ola, predeceased her some years ago.
Amongst the many things the boys told me about their mother I particularly remember that she held offices within the Ukrainian Scouting movement and was buried in her scout’s uniform. The funeral was Ukrainian Orthodox with much singing, incense burning and bell tinkling and lasted approximately one hour. All donations in Mrs L’s memory were in aid of the Ukrainian Scouting Association.
I have listed below some of the things I knew of Mrs L’s life and how she ended up amongst us:
- She was born in the Ukraine
- Left the Ukraine as a teenager to avoid repression by the Russians
- Emigrated to Germany • Met and married her husband
- Sought asylum in Great Britain post war, came to live in Barrow, her husband obtained work at John Ellis and Son, Concrete Manufacturers
- Had 4 children, 3 sons and a daughter
- Was predeceased by her husband and daughter
- She was an all-round “good egg” and a village character who will be missed.