Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Give me the strength!

When in doubt, think of Aunty Mali. That’s what I’m telling myself today. I’m feeling less than myself. But Aunty Mali was a strong and determined woman, meticulous in her ways of doing things. You could have called her a fusspot. My foster-sons, then aged eight and nine, used simply to say she was ‘extra’.

Aunty Mali aimed for excellence in all things, whether it was in her method of storing a pair of leather gloves (blow into the glove after taking it off, then stretch out each finger and lay it flat) or in the way a person should walk onto a stage (neither in a show-off way nor with overdone modesty).

She came into my family’s life when we moved into Vergam Terrace in Fishguard, number 16. She lived in number one in the big, imposing house that had since become the first in the terrace. Her house was full of magic and mystery with a great number  chests of drawers that were full of things that I, as a child, was desperate to look at and handle, including delicate pieces of lace, each wrapped in its own piece of tissue paper with a note as to where and when it had been acquired.

Aunty Mali had taken us over when we moved into her street. Unmarried herself, she must soon have seen us as a family  she could adopt.  I used to go over the road to stay the night or the weekend with her. She took me away on many trips in her Morris Minor, introducing me to all kinds of people I remember to this day.

As a music teacher and choral conductor, she was a tower of Welsh culture. But she didn’t confine herself to Wales. She travelled far – to Australia, Canada and Patagonia – and wherever she went, she’d make new friends. Her address books were stuffed full of bits of paper bearing names and addresses of people she’d met or had been recommended to go and see.

I’m trying to work out why I’m thinking about Aunty Mali right now. Some years ago, I did a storytelling show about her, Travels with my Welsh Aunt. And of course I remember her very often. She was – and remains – a central influence in my life.

But why in particular now? I think it must be because, right now, I need to borrow some of her sense of settled determination. I’m still in hospital, my back feels achy and in a deep down sense I’m terribly bored.

But word is that I might be going home on Monday. So I must settle my determination on that prospect.

Aunty Mali, give me the strength.

PS: my two photos of Aunty Mali – the top one appropriate for yesterday’s Dydd Gwyll Dewi – shall speak for themselves.

One Response to “Give me the strength!”

  1. Clare Winstanley Says:

    Great Photos of Aunty Mali. I’m sure her strength will be permeating through!

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