All three were very loving and generous, but Nellie, who had never had children of her own, would always be buying me little treats. I only had to gaze at some cheap seaside souvenir in a shop window, and she’d have her purse open before I could turn round; “Aunty Nellie’ll buy it for you.” It gave her as much pleasure as it did me.
There are a few abiding memories of that holiday; one was that I had a terrible bout of hay fever which made me feel very low, and another was that I shared a bedroom in our rented cottage, with Nellie, who snored so loudly, that it felt as if the room was shaking. Between us we generated a cacophony of sound; Nellie’s snores and my sneezes and coughs.
I also remember Grandad trying his hand on the rifle range at the funfair and of all of us eating ice cream cones, outside the seaside chalet which we also rented for the week. The chalet had deckchairs and a primus stove for making cups of tea or coffee. I’d forgotten this until I unearthed a postcard my Gran sent me a couple of years later. They missed me making ‘elevenses’ as the morning coffee ritual was known. She also made reference to something else I’d forgotten; my puppy love for the local lifeguard. Gran had obviously shared my good taste and reminded me of it in the postcard.
Another memory is of Grandad offering me a puff of his cigarette, something apparently he had also done to my mother; naughty Grandad! I adored him and was devastated when he died the year after the postcard was sent. Because Gran was not very mobile, it was Granddad and I who did the shopping, and who were snapped together by the ever-present street photographer. In the last picture I’m applying suncream to Grandad’s forehead. He’s taken off his glasses and paused from reading the paper. The final memory is that I made that blue cotton floral trouser suit I’m wearing, on Mum’s old Singer sewing machine.
Why not join us on this week’s Sepia Saturday and see what other memories have been evoked by letters and postcards home.