Am I a Brummie Born?

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Sandra Peachey is a writer, coach and part time Brummie.  Here she ponders her mixed up Birmingham heritage, and the ensuing identity crisis of being 'a bit' Brummie...

Since this is my first feature for Birmingham Favourites, let’s begin at the beginning… I am a brummie born, if not raised, so I’m having identity issues… 

Here’s the story: my mother moved from Scotland to Birmingham, with her parents, aged 18, and married my father 10 years later (in a church in Sparkbrook).  My dad was from Cambridgeshire.  He took his bride to Coventry, where they lived out the rest of their lives.  So why would I label myself as a confused Brummie then?!

Well, I was born in a Brummie hospital - Marston Green Maternity.  That’s where mum’s Doctor was, so that is who she went back to and trusted to bring me into, or is that out into the world?

Someone told me years later, that this same gynaecologist - Dr Steve Lester, delivered 10% of Birmingham’s population at that same hospital.  He must have been a busy man! 

When the news reached my Nanna (mother’s mother), she hopped on to the bus from her flat, on the Stratford Road, to Marston Green Hospital to see her new grand-daughter for the first time.  And from then on, I was taken to visit her in her dark little attic abode, on Sunday afternoons.  I remember chomping on Bournville Chocolate and trying not to knock off the anti-macassars perched on her worn out sofa.  So, I was a Brummie born, living in Coventry, taken to Birmingham to see a Scottish expatriate…  Does that make me a weekend / part-time / one part Brummie, or none of the above???

Grappling with my mongrel identity has continued throughout my life… My nanna died when I was 6, and still there were reasons to come back… The lure of the city centre on shopping trips mainly, and occasionally we would visit the scattering of Brummie based friends that my parents kept in touch with… So being a bit Brummie was always there, somehow drawing me back, weaving in and out of my consciousness...

There was the journey into Brum on the train…  The one that stopped everywhere you could possibly think of between Coventry and Birmingham centres, including Marston Green, where I was born.  I could never pass by without waving and thinking that ‘X marks the spot’.

And so life changes and my nanna passed on, then my father and mother, so my connection to Birmingham narrowed down to the hospital…

I was quietly surprised when I heard that Marston Green Hospital had been knocked down, and is now covered with a housing estate.  Where is ‘X marks the spot’ now?

Since then I’ve dated a Brummie bloke and worked in Brummie companies, so somehow it’s still part of the shifting thing that is my identity - the sense of who I am, where I came from and where I’m going…

So maybe there are distinct definitions of what a Brummie actually is, but for today, when I’m in nostalgic mode - please, just allow me to be all, part, labelled or started as one...

You can find more of Sandra's writing on her blog.  She is also author of 2 published works - Peachey Letters, Love Letters to Life (a moving and entertaining exploration of life and the lost art of writing letters) and The F-Factor, (a blueprint for entrepreneurial women who want success without stress) both in paperback and Kindle, available on Amazon and in all good book stores...!