Great Aunts

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.

Gran veranda ferns adj

“The greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.” Roald Dahl.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Bridget Ringdahl says:

    Just too delightful.. gorgeous words!


  2. Meriel mitchell says:

    A wonderful memoir Nikki of a bowl full of Great Aunts- can’t think of another collective known can you? An attic full of great aunts perhaps!?


    1. I don’t remember any attics – but yes, that would be a great collective noun!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jenny Roodt says:

    Sadly I dont recall any great aunts, but I adore my Aunt Joan with her love of lively conversation and her insatiable interest in life.
    I love your poem Nikki, makes me aspire to be one even if it’s a surrogate.


    1. We didn’t have many actual Aunts, so perhaps that is why the Great ones made such an impression. So glad you still have your Aunt Joan – I have not had any older relatives for as long as I can remember!


  4. naturebackin says:

    What a lovely tribute to the aunts who were great. I love the maiden hair ferns gracing what appears to be the veranda!


    1. Yes, those ferns! That veranda was at the very bottom of Burger Street. Also recall a pot-bound Euchrist Lily- which we must have inherited and which still grows at my brother’s home (where we grew up). I think he has freed it though.

      Liked by 1 person

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