Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


The last aunt.

One week passes, then two; and with it summer - even if there was one extra day this year. Already the sun has swivelled north, and turns the room beyond the kitchen to early morning gold, rather than blasting straight through the kitchen window slats into my eyes when I'm trying to read the paper at six-thirty. Read the paper? I haven't read a newspaper from cover to cover for two years. (Maybe not such a bad thing. At least the computer is back. But then the mobile phone ceased to function - hello, telecommunications company call centre, how's your voice recognition technology today? Would I mind holding? Yes, I would. Why do you ask? Do I have a choice? And no, I don't have my twenty digit account number in front of me.)

I've barely had time to do anything. Of course, using the death of an aunt as an excuse for not posting was entirely outrageous, if partially true nevertheless.

Aunts are fascinating creatures. Fiction is full of them. All the great writers wrote about aunts. They are close enough to be family but distant enough to avoid the kinds of issues faced by siblings and parents and children. Well, generally.

My late aunt was the last. There are no more. She was my father's eldest sister, Dorothy. Now there is only their youngest brother - the one who, when he was just a boy, had been protected from the grief of a brother lost at war.

In the mid-1960s, when most of my visiting aunts would arrive sedately by bus, Dorothy pulled into the drive in a 1962 cream Morris Major. It had arched-eyebrow headlights and a smiling grille.

As children, we appreciated Dorothy's imaginative sense of gift-giving, despite all the nephews and nieces to think of. In 1972, her Christmas gift to me was a Rod Stewart single, his last real rocker, You Wear It Well.

My aunt wore it well. Dorothy was the fashion plate of the family, made all her own clothes and looked like the Queen in two-piece suits and matching pearls and hats and bags. Her husband was a tailor in the city, a dapper man. He survives her. He took an age to retreat from the front row to the harsh sunlight outside the church, a bent old man on a stick. A widower at 92.


Anne said...

Condolences to you and your family. Your aunt sounds like a character! My grandmother was a similar force of nature; I miss her still, 23 years later. Glad you're back.

Red Dirt Mummy said...

Awww... that was lovely. My sympathies to you and your family on the loss of such a character.

kitchen hand said...

Thank you, Anne and Red Dirt Mummy.

lucette said...

I like the combination of the 3 details--the sporty car, the Rod Stewart single, and the suits with pearls--they conjure up such a great complex picture of her.
I have just one aunt left, the last of all my parents' 19 siblings. Just went out to dinner for her 89th birthday last night--she was wearing, as she always is, a wonderful hat, this one a kind of suede bonnet with a tiny feather sticking up.