As little children, we had lots of Great Aunts – some widowed and some never married. Lots of women living without men. Something to do with the war, we thought. They were absolute treasure and added a multitude of experiences to my childhood – especially as we did not have any grandparents. They clearly had a big influence on me as I recall dressing up in an old frock of my mother’s and pretending to be one! I believe every family needs Great Aunts – or at least a couple of unmarried Aunts. I have no photos of any of them but have gathered scraps of memories into this poem.
Great Aunts are fabulous things.
Everyone needs a few
Half a dozen is best.
Elsie, Nelsie, Gladys and Myrtle, Jessie and Flora too.
With wrinkly, crinkly bangled arms
Saggy soft powdered jowls
Pinafore pockets with hidden treats
Neat gloves and hats and stockinged feet.
Squeaky drawers with sticky surprises
Worn benches to sit on for tea
Fragrant fresh baked, buttered bread
Red jam with scones at three.
Secret shady greenhouses
Tall swingable trees
Steep stairs climb to hidden rooms
With mohair rugs and ocean views.
Extravagantly wrapped gifts of wondrous things, and
Ink inscribed cards to mark every occasion.
What! You have none of your own or an extra required?
Just imagine Great Aunt Ethel
Wearing wine coloured velvet and imperious air.
“The greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.” Roald Dahl.