I used to love staying at Aunt Sally's because she was so kind to us all. She herself had a hard life as her husband died of Leukaemia the week her 4th child, my cousin Ray was born. (This was back in the 1950s and there wasn't as much help then as there is now in such situations) We were never made to feel any different to our cousins and it felt as if we were one big happy family- which we were of course. Ken and Ray used to get the Dandy and Beano which I used to read from cover to cover. Our Mick got the Hotspur and it wasn't my cup of tea.
Aunty Sally wasn't as strict as dad with bedtimes either. I recall sitting on a pouffe chatting to her one night. In an attempt to coerce me to bed she was telling me that Princess Anne had to be in bed by half past eight and I recall remonstrating "If I was a princess I would go to bed at whatever time I liked !"
Aunty Sally also helped me learn my lines for the school play where I was to appear as a fairy
See my wand and shining wings
I can do all kinds of things
Sadly I was robbed of my moment of glory as I had mumps when the allotted day arrived.
Dad was much stricter and there were lots of rules and regulations. We were sent to bed at 7pm whether we were tired or not. Well you can imagine it can't you - 3 of us with so much energy. Mick came up with a solution which became known as the Lav meeting. We would go to bed as requested and after about 15 minutes Mick would sneak across the landing, tap on our bedroom door and whisper "Lav meeting!". Julie and I would scramble out of bed and head for the bathroom. The bathroom was tiny so one would sit on the loo, one on the edge of the bath and the other on the slope that was the undercut of the stairs. We would sit there for hours chatting away in hushed voices, laughing and joking and just being in each others company was enough for us.
If we were caught out we had our lines off pat--- "I'm on the toilet dad", "I need the toilet dad", "So do I dad " Haha happy days indeed. Years later when we played "Can you remember when?" we would roll with laughter at the memories of our lav meetings. In the years to come our closeness and our ability to laugh in the face of adversity and fists were to keep us going.
Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. ~From the television show The Wonder Years