My mysterious aunt … part 2
Posted by Big John on March 13, 2013
Yes, of course, Auntie had a rich ‘benefactor’ ! .. In fact he was an extremely wealthy ‘City Gent’ who owned a country estate near my aunt’s cottage and a London mansion near to the Mayfair apartment where my aunt lived when she was in town. I can remember seeing a photograph of her with a group of ‘toffs’ riding on the nearby fashionable Rotten Row in Hyde Park. I found her up-market address, with it’s ‘MAYfair’ phone number, in the on-line records of the 1930’s London telephone directory.
I only found out recently, from an older cousin, that my aunt had a son who she left in the care of my grandparents, while she went back to the high life in London’s West End. Tragedy struck when the child died when his mother decided that she would take him away for a few days holiday. My grandfather never spoke to her again, and, later, her rich lover dumped her when he discovered that he was sharing ‘her favours’ with a dashing RAF pilot at the start of World War II. She joined the ‘ATS‘ !
I always assumed that my aunt must have enjoyed her life with the girls in the ATS, as at that time, she shared her home with another young woman named ‘Bobby’. She called herself ‘Jo’ although her name was not Josephine or Joanne. As I recall, and from what I see in photos from those days, Jo and Bobby favoured short hair, men’s shirts, slacks and ‘sensible shoes’ !
The family never saw much of my aunt after that time, although she did turn up in the early 50’s driving an MG sports car and with a very pleasant ‘sporty’ bloke in tow who she said was her husband. From then on she used the title ‘Mrs’, although I don’t believe that she was ever married. The next time she put in an appearance, ‘hubby’ was long gone and so were any signs of affluence.
The old girl died about ten years ago, and I last saw her when she asked me to take along a few photographs of her in her young days, so that she could show the other old folks, in the care home where she lived, just what a gay young thing …
… she had been back in the days when ‘gay’ meant something different: although in her case I’m pretty sure that she would have been quite happy and ‘proud’ to be labled with the modern definition of the word.
When I arrived at the care home she was at the point of saying farewell to another visitor; a rather ‘dapper’ looking, but frail old man with cropped white hair, wearing a three piece tweed suit and neat collar and tie. I heard a whisper of .. “Goodbye Jo” .. and then he nodded at me and walked slowly away down the corridor. It was only then that I noticed his very small feet and those highly polished ‘sensible shoes’ ! .. I wonder ..
… could it have been ?