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Autobiography - Chapter 2 - The Grey Lady

Updated: Apr 22, 2022

The grey lady would appear at intervals and I can still recall now the smell of mothballs and the grey/white skirt she wore and a knitted shawl around her shoulders.

She would come and sit with me and watch me play. She would smile, but rarely spoke.

Many a day I would happily chat to her about my dolls and toys. Unfortunately, when this woman appeared someone we knew would fall ill, or pass not long after. My mum began to dread me seeing this woman. If the grey lady appeared, mum would frantically ring everyone to make sure they were ok and to forewarn them to take extra care.

My mum always had a magical quality about her. One of the things she often thought strange was, I often, even from being very young, would comment on how nice she smelt. Mum never encouraged my interaction with spirit and yet, she didn't discourage me either. Little did I know that my own mum had her own intuitive gifts and that eventually I would discover what an intuitive family I came from.

If I saw spirit I'ld tell my mum, and mum would always ask me to find out who they were, and why there were here. Mum said 'you have to check them out, they must have a purpose for wanting to talk or visit you', I never really knew what she meant by that, but once I had relayed their message, my mum would tell me to say thank you, and then ask them to leave us. I loved how my mum taught me to remain open to spirit and she never rejected anything I told her. She used to play 'who is it games', so if there was someone at the door, she's asked me who it was before she opened the door. Or if the telephone rang, she's look at me and I would tell her who it was. Sometimes I was right and other times, I didn't have a clue, but it was fun.

She also taught me to read the messages in the clouds. On a summer's day we would lay in our back garden looking up at the sky and as the clouds morphed into an animal or a pretty shape, we'd share what we thought it was meant. As a little girl, it was a magical angel letter just meant for me. Mum would also draw little pictures and ask me what they meant, so for example, a fox, this meant someone who couldn't be trusted, a sneak. A key meant something would appear when the time was right. We would spend hours in the summer holidays drawing things, one of my favourites was a spoon, mum always said it meant someone was stirring up trouble.

Mum taught me at an early age to read and write, so that by the time I went to school I already knew what to do. Because of this, I spent a lot of my early years at school reading on my own or doing arithmetic whilst the other children were still learning how to read and write.

One day I was put with another little girl. I can't remember her name but I could see a funny dark shadow around her. She said she wasn't feeling very well and was waiting for her mum to collect her. At the time I was sat with her, I began to feel ill too. I felt really sick too, I saw the grey lady at the classroom door and then disaster struck. I'll never know why, but I opened my mouth to say something, then I heard myself saying "you're sick because you're going to die soon, but don't worry you'll be fine, because your grandma will look after you and you'll get to play with all the angels'.

Oh boy, was that the start of me learning that you can't just say what you hear or see. The next day at school my mum was met at the door when we arrived and we were asked to go to see the headteacher. I had to sit outside whilst mum chatted with the head of the school. I was then taken back home by my mum. No school for me for a while. It seems I had said something very bad to the little girl and the school were not happy about it.

My mum, bless her heart, wasn't angry with me. She sat me on her knee and held me close and said 'Sweetheart, you cannot just say what you think or see to other people because not everyone can see and hear the things you do, so they don't always understand you."

Now these moments are what I call brick moments. They are those moments where something is said or done, that thuds in your stomach or heart and it really hurts you. Although you continue as though nothing has happened, it is one of those moments that is stuck there, forever. If you're unlucky enough to have tons of those moments, you have a brick wall which is forever there, unless you can learn to break it down.

I was so young, I didn't really understand. I was kept off school for a week. Dad was angry with me. Mum argued with Dad, and Dad argued with mum. I remember sitting upstairs on my bed hearing them argue back and forth about it. Mum was angry with school for making an issue of this, as she said "I was just a child". Dad was just embarrassed and hated confrontation, he didn't want all the commotion that came from this incident.

As usual, things returned to normal. Well, what I thought was normal for a few months, and then things at school began to change.

The girl I had told was going to die, did sadly die. She was diagnosed with Leukaemia, I will never forget it. I spent quite a while believing it was my fault. Many of the other kids didn't want to play with me. They said I was a witch. The teachers were ok with me, but I often caught them looking at me strangely. Add to this the kids and their parents often did their best not to interact with me I felt very much alone and that I didn't belong there. Even at the young age, I began to realise I don't 'fit in'.

It was at that point, I fully understood what my mum had tried to get me to understand, I could not share what spirit shared with me. What I once thought was normal, began to make me feel abnormal. As I went through my early years at school, that one incident was never forgotten by the other kids.

At that young age I began to hate school, but the grey lady would often appear and nod to me, who to avoid, or if what I was being told was true or not. She helped me to know who I could trust and who I couldn't trust. I managed to have two friends the whole time I was at that school. One girl was called Debbie and the kids didn't like her because she was fat. In those days, we didn't have political correctness, so she was taunted from arriving at school to going home. Then there was Shirley, she was an extremely timid child. She came from a very poor family and so she was often ridiculed for the way she looked and her hand-me-down clothes.

I could never understand why the other kids were so cruel. At the age of 10, everything came to a head where I decided I just didn't want to be at school. My mum had managed to get a job so she was out of the house very early. My sister was in the senior 6th form and therefore, it was left to my dad to walk me to school before walking onto work. As the kids laughed at the fact Dad still walked me to school at the ripe old age of 10, I managed to persuade him I was big enough to go on my own. So dad would walk me as far as the shops, and then he would allow me to continue onto school on my own.

I had hatched a plan to not go to school ever again. So I realised that if I left my bedroom window just off the latch, I could climb onto the bin, onto the kitchen flat room and then into my bedroom. Just past the shops was a genal (A passage way between two house) which lead back onto the estate we lived on. This meant I could sneak back to the house without anyone noticing.

I spent quite some time playing hooky from school, what I loved was, that at that time there was a tv programme on called White Horses. That was my first soap drama lol. Well being only 10, sadly, we're not worldly wise and in those days, god I sound old, but yes, in those days, there were school bobbies (school policemen). If you skipped school, the truant policeman would pay you a visit.

Well, this particular day, I was watching the tv and saw a figure coming up the drive. I quickly turned off the TV and hid behind the sofa. There was a firm rat-a-tat-tat on the door which I ignored. I heard the footsteps going away and as I peered from behind my mum's net curtains I saw the figure go next door.

I didn't know who it was and was about to put the TV back on when the grey lady appeared. "You've done it now lass'. she said and with that she was gone. Done what? I thought. I tuned back into the TV but had a sickly feeling in my stomach, which now I know was intuitive fear, but back then, I just felt sickly. I watched the clock until it was time I should be out from school and then took my skipping rope and went to play.

Our neighbour Mrs Amps a lovely little old lady came out and leant over the garden fence, she asked me if my parents were home, to which I replied 'no sorry, do you want me to tell them to call you, when they do get home'. Mrs Amps glared at me and said, "yes, you'd better seeing that you've not being going to school and I've had a visit from the school bobby".

Oh boy, my stomach sunk to my feet. In those days, if you did something bad, you got a good hiding from your parents. I know in the modern world we live in today, this is frowned up, but at that time, a slipper on the butt, or a hard slap with a hand was quite the norm for most kids. My dad went beserk, he went to grab me by the scruff of my neck and ended up hitting me in the face. My nose bled profusely and whilst I was getting a smacked backside for not going to school, I just remember thinking over and over again, 'But you haven't asked me WHY I wasn't going to school'. (Dad never did ask, it wasn't until he was dying, did he begin to apologise for not being a very good dad. I loved my dad to bits. Still do. My dad did the best he could for us, with what he knew. When he was dying, we did talk about that day, as this was something that haunted me even in my adulthood. When I told him, he cried and said he was so sorry. I am so grateful that I got to have that conversation with him in a calm and loving way before he died.)

Mum was still at work when dad found out I'd been skipping school, I got sent to bed by dad with no apologies for the bloodied nose and I wasn't allowed to see my mum or sister that night. I was sentenced to a week's solitary in my bedroom with no tv or anything after I'd been to school. I had to eat in my room and wasn't permitted to leave except to go to the bathroom. Every morning Dad would take me to school, as I had completely and irrevocably broken his trust. Mum was told by Dad to not mention it again, so she often looked at me with sadness in her eyes. She'd sneak a little hug or loving ruffle of my hair when Dad wasn't looking. She also sneaked in some biscuits hidden under the tea towel with my dinner on it.

School never bothered to ask me WHY I wasn't going to school either. The teachers really didn't care one way or another, they didn't encourage me to want to be there and I was aware that they didn't care whether I did well or not. The only two people who seemed to understand my plight was Debbie and Sheila. Sheila admired that I was brave enough to do what I did and Debbie thought is was pretty cool that I was going against our elders.

At the time of returning to school there were two girls who normally made a beeline to bully me. For some reason just after my return to school they began being rather nice. The grey lady again appeared and shook her head, but as I didn't really have much faith in adults at that point, and I was quite miffed she didn't save me from my dad, I ignored her. The two girls lured me to the girls bathroom and said they had something for me. In a small plastic bag they handed me some sweets. They said they wanted us to be friends and this was there way of apologising.

Luckily for me, Debbie came flying through the bathroom door and said "Don't eat that", she knocked the sweets out of my hand. She then went on to tell me that the girls had been to the toilet, dipped the sweets in the toilet and then wrapped them back up. Needless to say, Debbie got a smack and a thump from the two girls, but she didn't care. That was another brick moment for me. I couldn't understand why they would be so mean. My time at junior school was awful. Boys would thump me hard when the teachers weren't looking to make the 'popular' girls giggle. The girls would sneakily rub chewing gum in my long hair or bump into me to try to knock me over. I was small for my age but I refused to let them see me cry, that was reserved from bedtime when no one else would know, not even my mum.

By the time I moved to senior school at the age of 12, I had learnt to keep what I was told by spirit to myself. I also realised I didn't like other kids, not surprising really with my first school encounter full of them. Spirit also didn't seem to be around me as much, was it me? Was I changing? Perhaps I had upset them, I thought.

I was lucky that since the age of 3 I had been going to dancing school and as I had shown signs of being a promising ballet dancer, I was invited by the Principals Miss Thompson and Miss Leadbeater to become a full-time student at Minnie Thompson's Ballet School in the centre of Rotherham.

This meant I had to attend nearly all of the classes, most of them which began at 4:30pm. As I could not get from Brinsworth to Rotherham in that time because school back then finished at 4pm, it was decided by the dance school and my parents to move me to South Grove Comprehensive School in the centre of Rotherham.

I was excited, this meant I could get to dance class in time and better yet, no one knew about me and my ability to see and hear spirit. I had a completely new opportunity, a clean slate with which to begin my senior school years. So Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday I would dance from 4:30pm to 9pm. Saturday mornings I would take the bus into town and attend class again from 9am til 1pm.

I loved to dance, it was the one place where I felt free and I could escape many of the harsh realities I was beginning to come to learn about in life. Thanks to my parents support I gained honours on all bar one of my exams with the British Ballet Organisation. The only exam I was awarded Highly Commended was because I had flu and didn't have the energy to dance as well as I could do

My senior school years was when I began to notice more and more the absence of spirit. Perhaps I didn't need them, or perhaps I closed my awareness down due to being made to feel a freak most of the time at junior school. I suppose a whole class of kids pointing at you and calling you a witch whilst waiting for a teacher to come through the door will do that to you.

Although I didn't see spirit as much, I began to notice a different type of awareness within me growing. At the age of 14, the gift, or curse if you prefer, of premonition entered my life and also my first encounter with a spirit guide. Oh great, just what you need when you're trying your best to 'fit in'!

To be continued...

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106 views9 comments



A great read Jill. Spirit will always put us through difficult times because the lessons have to sink in and these are what have given you your character. As spirit have said to me 'you can't have roses which smell beautifully fragrant without the thorns which come with them'. It's all about the balance in your life.

I can't wait to read the rest of your blog..xx

Jill Harrison
Jill Harrison

Hi Pete, lovely to hear from you. Yes, I agree with what you say, well said!



this is better than Basil Brush story time 😊 more encouragement heaped your way to keep writing. love love.

Jill Harrison
Jill Harrison

Boom Boom 😂 🤣


Lynette Mitchell
Lynette Mitchell

Oh Jill you poor wee thing being bullied at School like that.. and not just from the pupils! Hearing about your gift or curse as you call it from a young age is fascinating and puts another perspective on how it was/ is growing up with spiritual gifts.. it’s not all bows and bells like some people think. Your mum sounds like she was an amazing person.. just like yourself💕 … and your poor father just did not know what to do about it… so glad you both made your peace 🙏. Skipping school this made me laugh and shows how feisty and determined a person you are… I can’t wait to read your story😘