Friday 2 August 2019
Gonna Have a Party
In this photo, taken in our Walthamstow back garden in 1961, I'm the rather confused looking one year-old being held in the arms of my aunt, who, with her husband, lived upstairs from Mum, Dad & I until 1972. My cousin, who now lives in New York with her own husband and three grown-up kids, joined the household in 1963. In those crucial early years, my cousin and I grew up like sister and brother, with each of us having the benefit of an extra set of parents on call whenever we needed them.
My uncle died suddenly in 1978, when my cousin was only 15, so, tragically, he was unable to enjoy any of her great academic achievements or meet her wonderful family. My aunt still lives alone in the East Ham house they all briefly shared together. Tomorrow it's her 90th birthday and my cousin has arranged for surviving friends and family to celebrate the milestone on Sunday afternoon with a party in the function room of a nearby pub.
My cousin arranged similar celebrations for her mum's 70th, 80th and 85th birthdays, so the tradition is well established, albeit with a smaller attendance and noticeably frailer attendees each time. After work tomorrow, I'll travel down to London to join my aunt and her friends for her latest knees-up. In the couple of days that follow, my cousin and I will hang out, catch up and no doubt start making tentative plans for her mum's 95th in 2024.
Stray - Gonna Have a Party
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