The Heart of the Matter

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Photo copyright:Kelvin M Knight.

Times were hard, food of any sort was difficult to source. It was her daughters first day at school. The pantry held two slices of stale bread. Love was easy to give. Finding food, that was pure hell. She had used all that nature had provided, corn, apples, nuts, nettles all were gone. With the last of the rose hip jelly she filled the heart shaped indentation in one slice of bread. The other slice she returned to the shelf for her daughters evening meal. When Natasha was at school, she would comb the shore for razor clams.

Footnote: Razor Clams are a edible mollusc, they are also known as a Jackknife clam.

St Annes Sand

St Annes Beach

This Post Has 68 Comments

  1. Iain Kelly

    When all else is gone there is still a pot of rosehip jelly! Desperate times, I like that she saved the bread for her daughter and went without herself, the ultimate sacrifice.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Iain, I am glad her sacrifice came over. In our modern world to many still have to make such decisions.

  2. Varad

    Worryingly enough, such times might come upon this world sooner than anticipated. Hopefully, love and sacrifice should still have some values then.

    1. Michael Humphris

      I really hope so, thank you Varad

  3. rochellewisoff

    Dear Michael,

    You’ve captured the hard times and the sacrifices a mother will make for her child. Nicely done.



    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Rochelle.

  4. beautyswot

    Yep we sacrifice for the sake of our kids but we never feel like it is a sacrifice

    1. Michael Humphris

      If only governments would make the same choice.

  5. gahlearner

    A great tale of hardship and sacrifice, Michael. Raising kids and not having the means to feed them must be pure hell.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Sadly a hell which is not unknown off even in wealthy Europe

      1. seekeroftruthweb

        It is also true in USA: 1/6 kids face food insecurity. πŸ™

        1. Michael Humphris

          It is indefensible that this is the case in so called wealthy nations.

    2. Michael Humphris

      If only more governments understood that. Thank you gahlearner

  6. Sheena

    Love was easy to give; finding food was pure hell. Unfortunately I live in a country where this is the truth for far too many people. Breaks my heart every time.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Sadly a hell which is not unknown even in wealthy Europe. We/governments do need to find a answer.

  7. James

    Terrible circumstances, but I must be missing something about St Anne’s Beach since there is no water.

    1. Michael Humphris

      When the tide is out at St Annes, it can be a mile or more to the ocean. A great area for flying kites, or walking, as for cycling there are miles and miles of flat promenade.

  8. Vinay Leo R.

    That’s a mother’s love. Though I wish there were better times for them. Maybe around the corner. Maybe not.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Vinay. This mother will use all her skills to find better times.

  9. Sandra

    It must be a terrible thing to see your child go hungry.

    1. Michael Humphris

      A story like this which is factual for many, feels sad. For as you say it would be terrible not to be able to feed a child.

  10. pennygadd51

    Natasha’s mum sounds resourceful as well as self-sacrificing. I guess she’ll find a way to pull them through. This story has great resonance. The mum sounds as though she may be in a developed country, and yet still on the verge of starvation. How, and why, I ask myself. Well written, Michael.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Your comment is spot on. Even in my family, it is not so long ago that starvation hammered at the families door. And we live in so called wealthy Europe

  11. Moon

    Beautiful story , Michael.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you so much Moon.

  12. Sascha Darlington

    This is beautiful. Good mothers always make sure their children are fed, even in difficult times.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you, Sascha. Writing this story which is factual for to many, has caused me think more about social inequality.

  13. Christine Goodnough

    Very well told and poignant. As to social inequality, it’s tragic to see the Jean Claude Duvaliers of this world gobbling up all the foreign aid funds while the storms sweep over and the people starve.

    We’ve friends in Haiti who set up a maternity clinic up in the mountains about eight years ago. They told us that of the last nine pregnancies in the few months before they arrived not one had produced a living child. Malnutrition coupled with poor hygiene and general ignorance of pre- and post- natal care.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Christine, sadly it seems that many countries have the likes of J C Duvalier. So I thank heaven for the individuals who truly work for equality and to improve the lot of the poorest in humanity.

      1. Christine Goodnough

        I do, too.

  14. plaridel

    it’s a real tragedy she doesn’t go to a school that offers free lunch to every student.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Even in the wealthier countries like England, getting descent food into the school environment, is being made difficult. As usual the poorest in society suffer the most from this.

  15. Lynn Love

    Grim times for Mum there. Only just being able to feed your child – too awful to think about. Nicely told Michael

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Lynn, it is really sad to see this happening, when money is being poured in armaments

      1. seekeroftruthweb

        That is something former American President Dwight D. Eisenhower observed, that basically spending on war steals food from the hungry, and “In preparation for war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

        It is sad that my own country, USA, spends more on defense than the next 48 countries combined, and has people living in a level of poverty associated with developing countries.

        1. Michael Humphris

          Having adequate wholesome food is basic to any nations security. As Britain found out in 1940 to 1945. Eisenhower was right.

      2. Lynn Love

        Happens everywhere all the time, though there seem to be more homeless folk sleeping rough in Bristol these days. A tragic sight

        1. Michael Humphris

          It is sad to see young people sleeping on the streets, it reflects how fragmented human society really is.

          1. Lynn Love

            I suppose it’s always been so. It’s just there seem to be more and more every year. Something has gone wrong somewhere

          2. Michael Humphris

            That is for sure, I think that some of the causes change, but the effect stays the same.

  16. draliman

    Hard times, and a loving sacrifice made for the daughter.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you draliman. Around the world too many mothers and fathers make this sacrifice. I value charities like Oxfam for the work they do tackling such situations.

  17. Dahlia

    Sad yet heartwarming to see a mother put her daughter first πŸ™‚

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Dahlia, it is sad and perhaps even evil, that in our so called modern world any mother is placed in this situation.

      1. Dahlia

        Countless such mothers all over the world, some desperate enough to sell their children. But no doubt distressing and untenable

  18. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover

    I loved the line “Love is easy to give.” For me it sums us your story beautifully. Touching take on the prompt.

    1. Michael Humphris

      I was so pleased to get your views on this story. Thank you

  19. seekeroftruthweb

    What I find appalling is that the earth produces enough food to feed everyone multiple times over but children starve to death.

    1. Michael Humphris

      I agree – when I see good food being thrown away it hurts. I still have my ration card from when I was a young child. Whilst only five generation back some of my ancestors fled from starvation in Ireland

  20. Alicia Jamtaas

    Oh! I love the jelly in the heart shaped hole. The thought made me sight a little. Well done.

    1. Michael Humphris

      So pleased to read that. As a child I remember when food was thin on the ground, there was always a little jam to add life to otherwise plain fare. For some that was / is not the case

  21. Natasha

    A very sorry plight and that of many unfortunately in this world. What a resourceful mother. But you know what Michael, this is also a very hopeful story at the same time. The clouds with the silver lining stand out πŸ™‚

    1. Michael Humphris

      I am glad that the ray of silver came across, thank you so much for the feedback.

  22. neeltheauthor

    This one wrenched at my heart. Very saddening tale of a mother;’s sacrifice. Ably written, too.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Neel. Sometimes when one writes about a subject close to ones heart it helps.

  23. Fluid Phrase

    The unmatched mother’s love. Beautiful story well told.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thats so kind, thank you.

  24. justjoyfulness

    Loved the characterisation of the mother. I’m sure she and her child will survive.

    1. Michael Humphris

      I was pleased to read how you saw the mother. The mother is resourceful making me positive about their future

  25. Dale

    A parent will sacrifice whatever they must for their child. Such a horrid way to live and I so hope their circumstances change…

    1. Michael Humphris

      The mother is very resourceful, leading me to be positive about their future.

      1. Dale


  26. joseph elon lillie

    A sacrificial act from a mother’s heart…Nettles? They are desperate.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Desperate indeed, thank you, joseph

  27. shwetadave09

    This may be a reality given the carelessness of using resources on Earth…nice story!

    1. Michael Humphris

      Careless indeed, thank you,

  28. lingeringvisions by Dawn

    A nice take of mothers love. (Check your first sentence. I think you meant to say were not where.)

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Dawn. Where and were, they have always tormented me.

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