I can see a little of myself in all five of these women.
The back of the photo has an inscription that reads:
“In case we have all changed beyond recognition the order is as follows:-
Top from left – Jane (Girlie), Rona Bottom from left – Betty, Mary, Jo
Mary (b. 1919 is still alive, but sadly has dementia. She is the only one who remained in Belfast, Ireland).
Rona (Veronica, b. 1921, died in Essex, England in 2002)
Betty (Elizabeth, b. 1923, is alive and living on the Isle of Wight with my cousin, Jerome)
Jo (Josephine, b. 1926, is alive, but afflicted with Alzheimer’s. She is in care in Portsmouth, England).
Jane (b. 1930, is alive and retired to the coast of Spain. She lived most of her adult life with her husband Ernest, in Surrey, and then Devon, England.)
I believe, judging by the clothing, that this photo was taken in the 1960s. I love this picture because they all look to be having a grand old time, don’t they? My Auntie Betty, particularly is laughing in her characteristically hearty manner and Josie, well, doesn’t she look just so sophisticated with the angle of her head and the way she holds her cigarette? I like that Jane has her hands on Betty’s shoulders and Rona has hers on Josie’s in a comfortable and relaxed manner. They do like sisters.
I never really got to know my oldest Irish aunt, Mary. We met once when I was 16, but unfortunately, I didn’t come off too well in her books because I wasn’t anxious to share a twin bed with someone at my aunt’s house. Oh well. I recall her being a rather hot-headed woman with a heck of a northern Irish accent. She and my dad were never really close (at least they weren’t after that visit).
My aunt, Josie is the wonderful person who sent my lovely orange and white teddy bear when I was 6 months old and I’ll be forever grateful for that gift. When I was in Portsmouth back in the early 90s, I encouraged a reconciliation between my aunts, Betty and Josie, who were living only a few moments away from each other, but for some reason, hadn’t spoken in years. I made my aunt Betty come with me to visit Josie, and they got over their differences. In her later years, Josie seemed a charming and friendly lady – rather like Emily Bishop on Coronation Street
Aunt Rona always struck me as rather exotic in a Sarah Bernhardt kind of way. When I met her in 1977, she wore rather Bohemian outfits and scarves which I thought were fabulous. I’m pleased that I had a chance to visit with her back in the 90s at my aunt Jane’s house, in Devon, before she passed away. She was a fun and vibrant woman.
Speaking of Jane, she and her husband, Ernest were so good to me when I visited them. They not only fed me and took me to pubs and local inns and such, they took me on a wonderful car-trip to Cornwall where we stayed in lovely B&Bs and took in all the sights. It was a trip I shall always remember. Jane is a mean cook and she loves to laugh. Those are just a couple of things I love about her.
My auntie Betty, as you can see in the photo, is someone with a good heart and a grand sense of humour. I recall staying at her row-house in Portsmouth and having the best time – playing Trivial Pursuit, dancing and singing in the front room and eating take-away curry and chips! What could be better? My auntie Betty is the soul of generosity and she has a faith that will surely take her to heaven.
Now that my dad is gone, and some of my aunts are deceased, ill or getting elderly, I know it is doubtful I will see them again. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet them all and spend some precious time with them. I hope they felt the same way.
OOPS! Almost forgot – Hie thee yonder to ye old Sepia Saturday where you’ll find others who are celebrating their families in fotos. You just might want to jump on board.