“he was always smiling”

Jimmy Mizen

In 2013, Margaret Mizen and writer Justin Butcher published Jimmy: A Legacy of Peace. Over the next few months, we’ll be publishing short edited excerpts from the book.

Jimmy was conceived when we were on holiday in Norfolk and born on Cup Final Day, Saturday 9 May 1992. He was a week late, and then, on the Friday, Joanne was helping me out at home. She gave me a cup of raspberry leaf tea, which is supposed to induce labour, but nothing happened. The next morning, she gave me another cup. My dad phoned at noon and asked, “Anything happened yet, Marn?” “No, dad, nothing yet.”

The next thing I knew, by one o’clock, I was phoning Barry to come home from work. We got to the hospital at two, and by half past two, Jimmy was born! It was as quick as that, and Barry got home for the second half of the Cup Final. We’ve always laughed about that. Jimmy was the most beautiful baby, 10 pounds 4 ounces, the easiest birth, and I brought him home the next day. James was away that weekend, so when he came back home, there was a new baby waiting for him, and he asked if he could name him Jimmy. There was a lot of excitement and delight in the house that weekend.

Right from the start, everything about Jimmy was different. Even when he was just a few weeks old, I remember worrying and going to the doctor’s, because he was so easy! He was an unusually good baby, and grew quickly into a lovely little boy. He was always smiling. He had a beautiful smile. There was an innocence and a boldness about him, and an uncomplicated love of life.

Nothing ever got Jimmy down. I don’t remember him ever being upset about anything and I don’t remember telling him off. The worst I remember is maybe telling him to put his washing in the dirty basket. All my children were calm and laid back, but Barry and I would often say, “There’s something different about Jimmy.” I think it was his happy, carefree nature, not worrying about things, wanting to join in with everything that was going on. He never minded staying away from home. He’d be down at my mum’s and sister’s quite a lot, and he’d help them, at a young age. Even when he was tiny, he used to go over to my friend Eileen’s house, just opposite us, every Saturday, and he’d watch Casualty with her and have fish for his tea.

You can buy a copy of Jimmy: A Legacy of Peace from publisher Lion Hudson here.

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