The Auntie Doris Years: 1995

daisy-logoIt was a ruddy funny thing. At first I put it down to all the little kiddies in the family making me feel broody. But you shouldn’t get broody at 81. I couldn’t deny it though. My bosoms were getting bigger. I told myself not to be so soft. I enjoyed having kiddies in the family. I had always enjoyed being around kiddies. But it was way too late for me now.
And then they started leaking. It looked like milk! I didn’t know what to think. Leaky milk bottles… At my age!
I hadn’t been feeling all that good, so I went to see the doctor. He prodded and poked them a bit, and then he telephoned the ruddy hospital and got me an appointment. He got it pretty sharpish an’all. It was only a few days before I had them prodding and poking and taking x-ray photographs of me without my bra on into the bargain.
I didn’t understand it. I had always been in decent health. I had always looked after myself. Yes I enjoyed a few ciggies and a glass of sherry but who didn’t? I know that I had been feeling run down lately, but I was 81. That was understandable. Along with the belly ache and the diarrhoea, I wouldn’t have thought that was out of the ordinary, particularly as I liked to have a fish shop tea now and again. Although I hadn’t had one in a while. But that was only because I hadn’t been really hungry.
Any road, they told me that I would have to go into hospital for a bit while they did some more tests and see if they could sort me out. Told me to go home and pack my nightie and a few bits and pieces and wait for them to phone. It shouldn’t be long before they had a bed ready, they said.
So I did as I was told. I called in on April May on the way back, and told her all about it, and she helped me sort a little suitcase out. That was good of her because I was really tired. It had been a long day.
They rang the next morning and I went in. They had a bed ready for me on a ward with some other old girls, who looked the worse for wear. I remember wondering why they had put me in with that lot, because they looked properly ill. But by then I was beginning to realise that I wasn’t really all that good myself.
Its funny, but when you go into hospital, you sort of become ill because of where you are. Outside, its all focused on getting on with it and being well, ignoring aches and pains as best as you can. In hospital, its more about wallowing in it. Everyone wants to know about your aches and pains. You are your aches and pains. Before I knew where I was, I felt as badly as the other old lasses. And them doctors prodding and poking and dripping ruddy stuff into me didn’t help. After a while, they had to give me a little thing over my face to breathe through, and then they wired up my front bottom so I didn’t even have to get out of bed to have a wee.
It was nice of people to come around with their grapes and lucazade, but best of all was having April May there holding my hand, and talking softly about old times. She was 60 now. My little Shirley Temple, 60!
I remember one afternoon the Salvation Army or some ruddy lot came in and started singing Christmas Carols. What the Ruddy Hell they wanted to do that for the Lord alone knows. It was still summer. Or was it? I couldn’t keep track. It was hot enough any road. It was a good thing that they kept giving me water to drink.
It was all very confusing… Was April May my sister? Was she my daughter? Did it ruddy well matter? She was holding my hand, and that was nice. And they were singing “Once in Royal David’s City” or some such ruddy nonsense. And then she wasn’t holding my hand any more. She wasn’t even there any more. But My Mother was. And next to her was my sister Pearl.
“Hello Doris,” Mother said. “Welcome to the other side…”

To donate to the Daisy Appeal a medical charity which helps people who live in the area where Auntie Doris came from – Please click here

A song from 1995 “You are Not Alone” by Michael Jackson. – Remember that…

The Auntie Doris Years:1993

image Whenever there’s a burial, there’s a birth. That’s what my mother used to say any road. ‘Course, she never understood about population explosions and stuff like that, but any road, there was a bit of truth in what she said. It wasn’t long after My Raymond died that April May’s daughter, Pam, had a daughter of her own, Louise. And then, in ’93, shortly after they found Raymond’s brother John, dead on the couch, surrounded by empty cans of strong lager, empty paracetamol packets and filthy magazines, our Michael’s girlfriend had another one. And they called him John. Which was a bit perverse in my opinion. I didn’t see anything wrong with Raymond. “Ohh it’s not after uncle John” he said to me, all sincerity and smiles, “it’s after the king!” I didn’t think much to that idea either, we all know what happened to him – poisoned by a disgruntled monk! Besides, knowing our Michael, he was more likely to have named the lad after Johnny Ruddy Rotten or somebody. Never mind. The next generation was here to stay, even as the old one was dying off.
When I was really young, it seemed like the old people that I knew had always been old. I had never known them any different. My Grandparents had always been bent, wrinkled and slow. They had always had watery eyes and smelled a bit funny. It was too difficult to imagine otherwise. Now I was old, wrinkled and bent, I probably had watery eyes and smelled a bit funny too, if the truth be known. But I enjoyed being around those kiddies. And I knew that I hadn’t got all that long left, and that, like the old people I knew in my youth, I would not see them at any other stage in their lives apart from childhood. (I now know that I knew wrong, because if can still watch them grow, and get involved to a certain extent, from the other side, but that’s beside the point) they would always be children to me. And that affected how I dealt with kiddies in general. I could sneak them sweets, and swear at them under my breath. If it turned them into foul mouthed grown ups with bad teeth, it was no skin off my nose. Besides, if that was a good enough adulthood for me, it was good enough for them. I most kiddies turned their noses up at barley sugars any road, probably because they didn’t come in bright packaging with a cartoon character off the telly on it. Louise and John were too young for sweets anyway. So I just contented myself with cuddling them, poking them with my bony old fingers and calling them little buggers. Looking at them now, I don’t think that I did them all that much harm.
I never spent too long with them though. I was finding it hard to catch my breath most of the time, and i couldn’t stay out long without having to go home for a lie down.
Besides, I had my little Mademoiselle Tuppence to think about. I used to leave her at home when I went visiting, because she wasn’t all that good with kiddies. “You can come over if you like” my Michael used to say, ” but don’t go getting your Tuppence out and frightening the kids.” So I used to wait until I got home, then lie on the bed and give her a good stroking.
Auntie Doris’s top pop hit of 1993: “Young at Heart” by the Bluebells. It sounded good. But I don’t think I was young at heart any more by then. I was tired. And I was happy to leave youthfulness to young people. The buggers.