Worzel here, of late banished to blanket and turquoise chair, felled by a mardy nettercap of a cold, now that I can again see, I have carried on sorting Godfrey’s sister Alice’s fertilizer sack of memoirs, here are a few gems…
AUNTS IN THE GRASS- All photos are old, Alice swore, by the time you get done a roll, and develop film where allowed in a store. In Godfrey’s story, he possibly mentioned we had many aunts, here is a photo from Empire Day, 1956, he was four, and our many aunts out on the grass.
There were “Tugs of War’, and bands and parade, medals on chests of silver and brass, on the sunny domain they posed in the grass. “We had the buxom aunt, two bickering ones, we had the perpetually pregnant aunt, the deluded one with the angelic son, we had aunts Lefty and Blue, (not really aunties, who knew?).
I was ten, I chased my brother Godfrey with beets in a pan, seeking solace mid our aunts in the grass he ran. Passing aunt Mavis, a prankster like me, and Gertrude who oft put him over her vast knee, caught was Godfrey, squeezed by great aunt Dot, the one who got married a lot…
I chased my brother Godfrey with beets on Empire Day, chased him with auntie Cynthia, same age as me, past our aunts in the grass, and into the outhouse, we chased Godfrey.
PLATYPUS- As this life I have near lived out has been ridiculous, grant please that in the next, I may return as a Platypus. To paddle neath the moon in a warm southern pool, and if anyone dares grab my tail, surprise them with offensive, fishy Platypus stool.
SLIBBER SAUCE-From Godfrey -“I could smell the loneliness of cats, in the reek of hot, dry grass, passing Pettigrew’s place where little else grows. Knowing Ma was not home and tea would be- Prepared By Alice, beets and Slibber Sauce. Never Haggis or potatoes, or even over rabbit, Slibber Sauce, how did your older sibling prepare it?
Using oil from sardines as a base, fat from the lid of dog food tin if she dared it. Memories clatter inside me, now I am much older, those long walks home, on days that could not be wetter or colder, Alice in apron down to her knees, blending Slibber Sauce, with old morning oatmeal, and blue bits scraped from the cheese.
“She made me peel beets that were scalding hot, I’d try to sneak off, but always got caught. “Slibber Sauce , said Alice, will make you healthy and tall, with curly hair like I have, so eat, Slibber Sauce poured over the beet”.
“I am strong, healthy, and though no hair ever curled, avoiding beets I am a roamer of the world”.”I dislike beets, vociferously, with Slibber Sauce especially.
RAISED BY VOWELS- From Godfrey-“ Raised by vowels”…he oft chuckled, now I understand what he was trying to say…as I lay here wheezing, pen in hand this winter Sunday…
Godfrey told me once, ” I call out to anyone who was raised by vowels,”who learned their letters as Alice and I did when very young. From a calendar in our cottage hung- beyond smoke stained walls, and damp valley gray, the pictures on it places we would see “one day”, promised our old Ma.
“I spoke Welsh as a child, I was raised by vowels, oh, there were consonants to, verbitage all about me in song and poetry”. “The flap of wash hung to dry in the breeze, drumming of guttersnipes feet chasing me”. “Sitting on Grandma’s ample knee, tracing the letters on her tobacco tin, where my penny for sweets was hidden”.
“I stood before my class to read aloud, a poem I’d written. “Raised By Vowels”. Read, “I shall tell a story from Sunday School, my sister Alice brought home, of being raised by vowels in ancient Rome”. “Everyone laughed, teacher threw chalk at my eight year old head”. “A note was sent to my Ma- Mrs Dyzfbr, your son is odd, it read. “I would like to discus this matter with you”. Ma boxed my ears, sent a note in return,” Indeed he is odd, and raised by vowels, no point in discussing it with you”.
Godfrey spoke for all who were raised by vowels…now I understand, life spent pen in hand. He was an odd young man, his poems were pleas….for understanding..for whirled peas…