This is a picture of my Auntie, she was 80 when this was taken on her final trip to Oz to stay with her 'second family'. My Cousin has this picture in her spare room and when my Mum stayed with her she saw the picture and said I would like it. So thanks to B for emailing me a copy as I love it and I think it captures Auntie perfectly.
She was one of a kind my Auntie Ethel (for a start she was probably the last member of the human race to be called Ethel LOL), she was my father's older sister, the matriarch of the family both in the UK and in Oz, she was stubborn, beligerant, opinionated and often downright rude. But those of us in the family that weren't petrified of her absolutely adored her.
Her world was mainly black and white, to get her to see the gray you had to do some fast talking, but if she was on your side you could conquer the world. Sadly for her she and her husband weren't able to have children but she coped by 'adopting' various neices, nephews and cousins over the years. Luckily for me I was the youngest of those adoptees and was, until the end, the undisputed favourite as she took on the role of Grandmother to me and my DBro from when I was three months old.
Selfishly I was occaisionally jealous of her second family in Oz of whom B was another 'adoptee' but in truth, Ethel had love to spare and she would often say that she, B and I were the same person spread over three generations. I'd like to think that some of her less endearing features have been diluted in the pair of us but the older I get the more I see her in myself so I'm not so sure on my part.
What I always loved most about her was that she loved life and didn't give a damn about what others thought of her. I remember as a child encouraging her to cartwheel which she did then, in her late 50s, as she had when she was courting my Uncle. He was fond of remembering how he married her despite her tendency to cartwheel up and down the High Street showing her underwear whilst waiting for the bus...
So here she is, a wonderful woman who I miss more than I can say. If I'd had a blog when she died two years ago I would have attempted to post something like this then but the tears that I can feel coming now would have stopped me. Everyone should be lucky enough to have an Auntie Ethel in their lives and I hope that at some point in my future I pay tribute to her memory by being that person to my Grandchildren.
I shall have to add 'Practicing Cartwheels' to my 101...