Thursday, April 29, 2010
Happy Birthday Aunty Gladys!
These photos were taken last year at my Aunty Gladys's 90th birthday. What a lady! She is my aunt by default as my mother had no sisters but she had a cousin who was about the same age (they were born a year apart) so they spent a lot of time together growing up and were more like sisters than cousins. In fact, I wouldn't be here without my Aunty Gladys's intervention as she was dating my father and when he flew off with the RAF,she asked my mom to write to him because she didn't have time. That was how my parents got together. After 6 years of marriage my parents were childless and my mother confided in Aunty G that she was struggling to fall pregnant. Aunty Gladys relayed the information to her mother (Aunty Alice) who accompanied my mother to the doctor to check it out. That's how infertility was handled in those days- matters 'down below' weren't discussed and although my mother was a grown woman she was too shy to discuss matters 'down below' with her doctor. A small operation was necessary, which was obviously successful as my mother went on top have 6 children!! Aunty Gladys likes to take the credit for this!
Aunty Gladys has had an interesting life. She worked until she was nearly 80 and in her lifetime has been a farmer's wife, owned a corner shop and news agents, a cafe and a dry cleaning business. She has outlived two husbands and has sadly lost both her daughters to cancer. At the age of 91, she is an inspiration to many in her community - Garstang. She lives alone and refuses to have any help in the house. She cooks and bakes daily for herself and others and she reads about 6 books a week. Each year she puts up her Christmas decorations never forgets a birthday or special occasion in the family. She has visited me a number of times in South Africa - the last time in 2005 when she bought with her her gold shoes 'in case we go dancing.' She takes an interest in everything and can hold a conversation with anyone - young or old - and for that reason she will never be lonely.
For her 90th birthday celebration last year,she threw a party in a local country hotel with 65 guests. I surprised her and flew over to join her and feel so privileged to have been able to spend the day with her - helping to man the phone, opening gifts and arranging the masses of flowers that she received. What a beloved and special lady and an role model of how to Live Life to the full. I only hope that I can live up to her example.