Bro rang us last night to tell us that an aunt had died. She would have been in her mid eighties, and apparently had been ill for some time. Her husband (my Mum’s brother) died in Sept 2010, I remember that as I was over in NZ visiting Bro at the time.
She and my uncle ran a pub for years and I vaguely remember staying there once as a child. It was what one would term ‘olde worlde’ today, dark inside with heavy drapes and mahogany fittings. There were rooms upstairs for guests, access via a staircase that divided at the top at right-angles leading you up another step or two to narrow corridors in both directions. I think the carpet was a traditional red of the times.
I also remember one of my cousins coming to stay with us for a while when we were living in the council house.
I never knew the reason but recall dressing up days, and a particular pair of size 5 sparkly rainbow high heel shoes I was never allowed to wear. And yes, I do remember the exact size as they would’ve fitted me a treat!
There was also my exclusion from secret meetings, midnight feasts and whispers between her and my sister which turned out to be her teaching Sis to crochet.
Photo: family collage covering five generations though not all living.
Nieces, nephews (5th), self, sister, brother, cousin (4th), parents (3rd), grandparents (2nd), both maternal and paternal great grandparents (1st)
The three of us are in the above collection somewhere dressed as chefs/cooks and flower fairies (I was a buttercup in my crepe paper costume, which is probably why I hate the colour yellow, cousin was a bluebell, and Sis being the tallest and oldest, was a poppy).
My aunt was an attractive woman, always well dressed, manicured and made up, but I don’t remember if she was tall, short or average in height. I do have this memory of someone in a fur coat and leopard spotted pillbox hat which may well have been her.
The last time I saw my uncle was at my dad’s funeral in 1996, but I don’t remember her being with him.
I think there are four children, three girls and a boy, but it was my Mum’s youngest (and only surviving) brother that broke the news to Bro in NZ , and having no phone number for us, asked him to let us know. I understand he had already rung my sister earlier to tell my Mum. Sis hasn’t contacted me but then I wouldn’t expect her to. It’s just the way it is.
Although we hadn’t had any contact for several years, my aunt always sent Mum a Christmas card, and Mum got quite agitated a couple of Christmases ago when there was one on the table to post for her and she was anxious it wouldn’t be sent.
I’ve sent a sympathy card via my uncle for the family, with a covering note expressing our condolences and asking him to let us know the funeral arrangements. Obviously it depends on the date and time because of my radiotherapy treatments, but we’ll endeavour to be there as we have the least distance to travel and it’s doubtful my Mum will attend.