Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – #Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! ‘Dad’ by Sue Wickstead

I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

Today teacher and children’s author Sue Wickstead who shares her thoughts about her dad and her family.

I wish I knew then what I know now! ‘Dad’ by Sue Wickstead

I wish I knew then, that you would die so young dad.

I never thought that you would be gone so early in our lives.

I thought you would be there to meet your grandchildren.

I thought you would play and laugh and enjoy their lives.

I thought you would have enjoyed holidays and playtime in their company and they in yours.

But you didn’t live and you didn’t see them.

I know they would have known the love you could have given if you had been given the time to live.

Your legacy was love.

The love you gave us we passed on to our children. With nine grandchildren and even more great grandchildren – the numbers are growing.

But they will always know you because we remember you.

When your son was born how proud you were.

Not just because he would carry on your name but he was a kindred spirit, ‘a boy’ amongst your family of girls.

How your son changed the lives of us girls and we loved him too.

But if you had ever worried about carrying on your legacy and carrying on your family name you should never have worried.

We loved you and when you were gone and the grandchildren arrived, they were all given your family name as a middle name in homage of how much we valued and loved you.

Maybe the name will be lost in time and maybe the name will disappear but never the love.

I wish we had realised and enjoyed the little time we had together.

Mum and 5 children

P.S. My married name is Mrs Susan Riddick. My father’s name was Thomas Wickstead and my mother, Elizabeth Wickstead (nee Powell).

My son Thomas was the first of my father’s nine grandchildren. He was born a year after my father died, 1983, and arrived on my parents wedding anniversary, 30th September.

When my son was born, he opened his eyes and I suddenly felt I had known him all of my life.

My son was named Thomas, Andrew, Wickstead, RIDDICK.

My family

My mum was a keen family historian and researched the WICKSTEAD name (in all spelling variations) as a one name study.

She found I was not the first WICKSTEAD girl who had carried on the name in this way and that it had been done in the past before.

My sisters followed suit when their children were born.

My children may not have known my dad, their grandad, but they knew he was a lovely well thought of man because they knew how fondly he was spoken of.

My mum Elizabeth

I never thought my mum would grow in herself to be so resilient and her love of history, together with her sister Rose, helped her get through such a trauma. Something that was never acknowledged. She is now 94 and going strong.

My brother suffered emotionally, having lost his dad, he was only 14 at the time, again the support and understanding was not there at that time. But then again, as a war baby, my mum’s opinion was to just get on with life and not dwell on the negative.

My brother lived his life a proud godfather to a few of dad’s grandchildren but never had any children of his own. However, he is a crazy and lovely uncle who was loved equally.

My daughter, Eleanor, Jayne Wickstead, RIDDICK, was finally married in lockdown. It had been cancelled and ended up as a very small affair.

She asked me if she could drop the ‘Wickstead’ from her name. After a moments concern, I gladly gave my permission. I had wanted dad’s name to carry on somehow but my son has it, not my grandson.

In my involvement with the Playbus and now my writing, even in my teaching I was ‘Sue WICKSTEAD’ and I realised his name will carry on.

A bit of an odd turn of events how that happened. ‘What’s in a name?’ that’s certainly a different story.

©Sue Wickstead 2022

My thanks to Sue for sharing her poignant response to the prompt and her lovely family with us. Since these days it is almost impossible to remove your presence from the Internet, the name Wickstead is going to be carried on for a long time to come.

About Sue Wickstead

Sue Wickstead is a teacher and an author with Award winning books.
Shortlisted in the Wishing Shelf Book awards. and has written children’s picture books with a bus theme. In addition, she has also written a photographic history book about the real bus behind her story writing.

Her bus stories are about a playbus. Have you ever been on a Playbus?
When Sue’s two children were young, they attended a playgroup on a bus, but not an ordinary bus taking you on a journey, exciting though this is, but a Playbus stuffed full of toys to capture their imagination!

For over 20 years, alongside her teaching career, she worked with the charity, the Bewbush Playbus Association.

As part of the committee she painted the bus, worked in the groups, helped raise the profile of the project and its work and was part of the team involved in raising funds to replace the old bus with a newer vehicle. This led her to write a photographic history book about it.

‘It really was a fun journey to be involved in’, said Sue. The bus really got into her blood and became a work of the heart.

Having written the history book Sue soon found that many children had never been on a bus before, let alone a ‘Playbus’ and they wanted to know more. So, she decided to write a fictional tale, his number plate JJK261, gave him his name.

‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus,’ came out in print in 2014. It is the story behind the original project and is his journey from a scrap-yard to being changed into a playbus for children to play in. From Fact to fiction the bus journey continues.

A small selection of books by Sue Wickstead

My review for Barty Barton February 5th 2022

A lovely story about how even when old and worn out there is still love to be given and received. Very hopeful for those of us of a certain age, who like Barty Barton the bear, are showing signs of wear and tear.

Barty and his fellow stuffed toys have been rather neglected after their young owner grows up and leaves home to start a family of his own.

Luckily his mother comes to the rescue and Barty and his collection of friends go through several rejuvenating processes. They are a delight to read about, offering useful suggestions to those who have favourite worn toys that might enjoy being pampered, and passed along to younger members of the family.

As with all children’s books that I read, I like to see the underlying messages of kindness, love and hope being embedded in the story for a young reader to absorb.

The illustrations are perfect and any child reading, or having the story read to them, will be tempted to stop and discuss in more detail.

Highly recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – More reviews: Goodreads – Website/Blog: Sue Wickstead – Facebook: Stories Sue – Facebook: Teacher Page – Twitter: @JayJayBus – LinkedIn: Sue Wickstead


Thank you for dropping in today and it would be wonderful if you could share Sue’s post.. thanks Sally.

80 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – #Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! ‘Dad’ by Sue Wickstead

  1. Thank you Sally, for your invitation to reflect on the writing prompt.
    It took me a while to decide what to write.
    It certainly made me think.
    It has certainly been good to read all the angles this promt took everyone.
    It is father’s day Sunday coming.
    Happy Father’s Day dad.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a lovely post, Sue! I’m sure your father would be so proud of you now and so touched that the family honoured him by keeping his name. The love obviously went both ways and that’s a thought that warms the heart. Love the pictures!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you.
      I must admit it really did take me a while to think of what to write.
      I discussed it with a friend but couldn’t think about what to change but then my dad popped into my head.
      I hope dad would be (quietly) proud

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your kind words, I must admit to feeling a little bit unsure of how it would read.
      but yes, it came from the heart.
      My mum has certainly developed her own path and got on with life.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you.
      I think my mum always said she never had an old man in her life. Her husband would be forever young to us all.
      but, we would have liked more time.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Jan,
      It really has been a very thoughtful and different post for each and every participant.
      I’ve certainly enjoyed reading others thoughts

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Sue, your tribute brought a tear to my eye. How wonderful that your dear father lives on in his grandchildren and through his legacy. Wonderful tribute, thank you for sharing, Sue. Thanks for bringing this to us, Sally.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. A lovely glimpse into Sue’s family and how important her dad was to her. His legacy of love clearly lives on. And I enjoyed hearing about how the Wickstead name is honored and continues to thrive. There’s a lot of power and memory in a name. Beautiful post, Sue. Thanks for sharing something so close to your heart. Another wonderful post from the series, Sally. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  5. What a sweet and heartfelt post! The best way we can pay tribute to our parents that have already passed is to live our lives in a way that would make them proud.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Hi Sally and Sue, I am meeting Sue via Liz Gauffreau sharing your post on Twitter. A moving post and especially powerful words “Your legacy was love.” Your love for your Father and your family shines through in your words and your words are a part of your legacy. ❤️ A great reminder to not take anyone for granted. An aside: interesting how the concept of “What’s in a name?” Is a thread woven throughout this post…how I originally met Sally. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Such a sweet and moving post. Terrible to lose a father and husband – later grandfather – so young. We all need to know and learn from our grandparents. They are so special and it is sad when someone dies young and never has the joy of meeting their grandchildren. Wonderful photos too. My father died young (barely 60) and had only met two of his eventual 9 grandchildren, and, of course, none of his 9 great-grandchildren. They lose out on that relationship with the older generation. So happy you keep his memory alive. Talking about them is their immortality. xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lovely to read that you do family history Jane, that’s certainly what kept my mum going and still does.
      would that she allowed any of us to record it for her. she certainly does that herself but has never completely published.
      My grandfather was recorded as ‘missing presumed dead’ in WW1 but luckily he turned up and lived on (otherwise no mum and in turn none of us.)
      He kept many photographs and in turn so did my mum. They are an important record and for my mum have been good to look back at and remember.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sue, I type a whole reply, but it vanished. So, precis of what I write. Basically importance of keeping records and photos. Social history. so glad your grandfather came home from war. Such a terrible stress for those waiting behind. I have lots of photos from WW1, Korea and way back to early photos. And as my father was born in India – British Army family – so have many photos from 1921-1947 and such fab sepia and B&W of Hill Tribes and life in India…he was at school in a Hill Station in the Himalayas, called Simla. Beautiful. I am sure family history and photos keep your mum active and engaged. Good for her. x

        Liked by 2 people

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