Sunday, August 24, 2008
Goodnight, God Bless
Sticky topped glass bottles. Forever linked in my mind with the excitement and guilt of forbidden treats. Delivered by the milkman in green or blue crates, stored in the cool garage waiting for grandchildren to devour in a hyperactive orgy of sugar and additives, heralded by the longed for chink as the bottles clinked together.
He was the closest I had to a grandfather. My great uncle, married to my grandmother's younger sister. Even now, decades later when I see glass bottles of orange juice I think of him. All those years of birthday and Christmas cards with a crisp note tucked inside.
He was quite the catch as a young man, tall and handsome in his RAF uniform. Later a career in the bank would provide a comfortable lifestyle but things would never be easy.
There was a baby. Perhaps the first, perhaps not. Born too soon to survive in an attic bedroom more able to keep secrets than the people it housed. Mad with grief she hid the baby, and when discovered refused to let go. So in the end they took part of her brain to make her.
He was always there. Through years of institutions and barbaric abuse masquerading as medicine. He cared for the children they went on to have, for the sister in law fleeing her abusive husband. For her children. Somewhere along the way she fell in love with him too and perhaps he her. But he always stayed. Always cared.
requiescat in pace