A life, well lived and well loved.

Born Esme Blampied in the parish of St John, Jersey, 5 March 1923, the fourth of five children, she grew up in a farming family. Her mother died in 1935 and she took on the responsibility of caring for her family, including her younger sister Nao. She made many lifelong friends at Helvetia school and performed songs and recitals with her sisters, known as The Bethlehem Girls.

 

The Channel Islands were occupied by Nazi Germany in 1940. The family harboured a Polish prisoner of war and maintained a secret radio for news from England. In late 1944 Esme found a box of leaflets dropped by the RAF, full of news about how poorly the war was going for the Nazis. While distributing the leaflets she bicycled into a German roadblock.

 

Interrogated by the Commandant, she told him it was high time the Germans learned the truth but refrained from admonishing him for his subsequent outburst of bad temper. She was imprisoned for three months.

 

In 1956 Esme and Nao took an assisted passage to Auckland. Her sister soon returned to Jersey, Esme met and married Stan Beer, a cockney, and bore three beloved children in the early ‘60s. She returned to work, dolloping extra large serves of ice cream for the kids at the milk bar before taking a job at Auckland zoo where she became lifelong friends with many of the staff.

 

A farm girl at heart, she loved gardening and sold carnations at the local markets. She made her home in Auckland but retained a strong lifelong affection for England and all things English. She wasn’t one to fuss and always put others first, a characteristic she lived to the very end when she suffered a fatal heart attack in the car with her daughter a few weeks ago, one U-turn over double lines and two red lights from the hospital.

 

I first met her youngest daughter in 1991. Nineteen years later we started dating and have been together, very happily, ever since. Esme, you were great company, I enjoyed talking with you and listening to your beautiful accent. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for Perky Girl, my beloved wife.

 

Esme Beer Image provided by Earl O’Neill

 

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About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.

Comments

  1. Ian Hauser says

    Beautiful, Earl, simply beautiful. I’ve long held the view that, given the opportunity to talk long and honestly with any given person, it is possible to write a worthwhile, meaningful biography of anyone. It sounds to me that Esme may have required two volumes! God bless her, and may she Rest In Peace. Condolences to Perky Girl and her family, and to you, her appreciative son-in-law.

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