I had an email from my contact at the nursing home telling me about a new memory project called ‘I Remember That’ that was starting about the time I return at the beginning of next month. The title had me remembering all those years ago when my aunt would come out with those words….admittedly after some subtle prompting by us with words or pictures…..but we were glad it had stirred something in her mind.
(At that time I belonged to a (now defunct) ’families and carers’ group where to ease the strain we wrote and shared pieces online – I hope you don’t mind me sharing another one from 2009)
Remembering the past
Talking to my Aunt the other day I was asking her what she remembered – its a hard question for her to answer some days but for some reason on that day she was clear in her mind about one thing.
She remembered her older sister Betty and how she made her laugh.
They were raised in India in house a house full of adults. Along with their Mother and Father there were also four spinster aunts – sisters of their Mother.
None of the servants had children they could play with so as well as sisters, they were playmates and also constant companions to each other.
Being priviledged they were sent off to boarding school at a young age, luckily not back to England as so many expat children were but somewhere in India ( she doesn’t remember where exactly) and were able to go ‘home’ for the holidays – so whenever Pam felt lonely or afraid Betty was there to comfort and make her laugh.
It was so lovely (and rare) to hear her talking of this life she led so long ago, dances were a way of life, Betty was the fun one attracting lots of admirers while Pam being a quiet one would sit on the sideline.
They both married officers in the 9th Gurkhas Regiment so continued to live a privileged life as adults. They stayed in India till after the war and then returned to England to a very different lifestyle.
She was so clear in her descriptions of life in those days it was almost as if she was reliving them – till she came to the part of migrating to Australia in the early 1950’s.
Then nothing came – she just stopped talking.
I assume ‘cose there was no Betty – who had remained in England – to talk about.
Maybe I’ll be able to get her to remember those times again but I never know from one day to the next whats going on inside her head.
As a youngish widow she managed several trips ‘home’ to England over the years to see her beloved Betty – the sister who even as an adult had a way of making her forget her troubles and laugh. She recognised Betty in this photo of the two of them enjoying a special moment of laughter but had no idea where, when, or why.
Betty on the left and A Pam on the right
Can you see the special bond they had with each other – the love in the eyes and the smiles on their faces? Hopefully she can still remember those moments inside her head even if she can’t talk about them