The Auntie Doris Years: 1935

bairnswear1323aI was twenty one years old in 1935. I was unmarried and living at my parents house. (They gave me the key to the door). I had a job in a factory that made bandages and surgical appliances. And I also had a beautiful baby girl come into my life. April May. But before you jumping to any conclusions. She was my sister! And that was a hell of a shock to all of us. My mother was over forty years old! And my father was a good few years older. And relations had never been all that cordial between them even before she had launched the King Edward at his head. And if possible, since the potato incident, father had been even more uptight, unpredictable and given to lecturing all and sundry about the wages of sinful behaviour, carnal relations being a topic that he had become increasingly fond of denouncing.

I often wonder if Lloyd George had anything to do with it. He was in his 70s by then, but apparently he was a filthy so and so right up to his eighties, when he finally passed over to the other side, and continued to pursue his passions with renewed vigour. My mother always had a thing about Lloyd George. But then she always followed the Liberal politics, and when there was any help needed, in our neck of the woods, she would be there. I sometimes wonder if she hadn’t fallen for the charms of one of Lloyd George’s successors, Herbert Samuel, or Archibald Sinclair. My vote would be Sinclair, as Samuel was almost as long in the tooth as Lloyd George, but Sinclair was a dapper forty something with a twinkle in his eye, and he was a Viscount an’all. In fact Lloyd George might have tipped him the wink about my mother on one of his northern campaigns, and he may well have chanced his arm. All conjecture mind. There are some things that you don’t talk to your mother about, even when you are dead, and even if you did, and she told you, you couldn’t present it as fact anyway.

So there I am with a baby sister, who may or may not be related to Viscount Thurso. Well, my mother needed as much help as I could give her, so I became a dab hand at changing nappies, mixing gripe water, winding, feeding and pushing the perambulator around the neighbourhood. It was great fun, and it kept the men at bay an’all. I wasn’t bothered if they thought she was mine. I knew she wasn’t and the law knew she wasn’t so nobody was going to take her away from me. She was born in wedlock and lived with her parents as far as the law was concerned. But as far as I was concerned, she was my little girl. And she still is. Even though she is going to be seventy nine this year! I still keep an eye on her. And her son. That gormless nephew of mine. Auntie Doris’s pop pick of 1935: “On the Good Ship Lollipop” by Shirley Temple (aged 7). I remember singing it to my little April May, and watching her giggle with delight. It can still bring a happy tear to my eye when I hear it.

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