Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Sisters and Aunties

This week on Thursday my sister Ann and her husband John came down to London to visit. They came on the train – all the way from Leeds – and it was an enormous pleasure to see them here. They brought armfuls of flowers as well as pots of marmalade and jam that Ann had made and we spent lots of time talking and eating and some of the time looking through the album of family photos that I brought downstairs from my study.

What is it that’s such fun about looking at those old photos? Partly, of course, it’s that so many of the situations they show were shared. As you remember them, they seem to come to life again. Another part of the fun is noticing the changes. Do you remember when you cut your hair that time? And so on.

So much is brought to mind that you carry on remembering when your visitors have left to catch the train home. It makes you wonder what people did before there were cameras. Well, I feel sure – indeed I am sure – that memories were just as much remembered and shared. I used to love it when, as a child, I’d listen to my grandparents or my aunties recalling incidents which had involved me. And of course I’d love it even more if they got onto the subject of what life was like when they were children.

The people I call my aunties were friends of my mother. They’d all gone on bicycling holidays together as young adults and they all still met quite regularly when I was growing up. There was a particular café in Haverfordwest where they’d meet on a Saturday morning and have coffee and Kunzel cakes. One of the aunties used always to call me ‘my lamb’ and I’d especially love that. It made me feel special – like part of their group. None of them are alive any more. But they live on in my memory as a very important part of my childhood. They loved hearing about what I’d been doing. But it was their own friendship for each other that most engaged me.

People talk about the treasured memories of their childhood. Not all of my memories can be described as such. But those of my ‘aunties’ will always be ones I love to return to.

PS: My photo this week is, of course, of me, my sister Ann and my brother Richard. Happy childhood memories!

2 Responses to “Sisters and Aunties”

  1. Jean Edmiston Says:

    Dear Mary — lovely photo – and I share your thoughts on revisiting old photos and memories. My daughter, Mandy, and I have had some hilarious – sad – but also sometimes interesting hours – bringing back forgotten moments. Glad to hear your sister and husband have been able to visit. Thinking of you and sending love. Jean xx

  2. Helen East Says:

    Dear Mary
    your latest stories about family relations chime in with mine. I come from a big family who live in many countries -and we have all liked keeping in touch with them – including an old aunt Bea who ran a ranch almost single handed in Australia (her husband prefered to stay inside and sing on his guitar).
    Her sister Honor was gentle and sweet unless there was something unless she thought something had been injust. In this case, as the family always said “that girl she was brave as a lion.” After the WW2 she maried a German Jew who’d been a fighter in the resistence against Hitler. But because he was German she had a hard time from many of her previous friends -and family.
    love from Helen

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