There were twenty months between my mum Monica and her sister Beryl; they had an elder sister who was four years older than Beryl, and a brother who was six years older than Beryl. The two youngest girls were extremely close as children, and as they grew older they became close friends as well as sisters. In many ways they were very similar, and almost seemed like twins; Monica was darker and Beryl fairer, but you could see at a glance that they were sisters. Both of them were christened with other names, and took their second name as the one which was always used.
Their closeness continued, and when, after the war, they met young men, it was almost inevitable that those two young men should become friends with each other as well as brothers-in-law to be. Beryl was always grandpa’s favourite, and he was very strict about who she might marry. My dad, Donald, wasn’t the least bit worried about his prospective father-in-law. Rather than ask if he might marry Monica, he told grandpa that he and Monica had decide to get married, and although she was the baby of the family she married first.
Through the rest of their lives their closeness continued, through the birth of children and tragedies as well as joys. We moved to the west country, Beryl and her family remained in Cambridgeshire. Monica had two children, me and my sister, and Beryl had four children, the cousins I am so very close to now, and who are like brothers and sisters to me.
I was once staying with my cousin and the phone rang; as there was no-one at home I picked it up. It was my mum and we chatted away until suddenly I had a thought… “Is that Aunty Beryl?” I asked… “Is that Lois?” she asked… and we both burst out laughing… I had been talking to Beryl thinking it was my mum, Monica, and she had been talking to me thinking I was her daughter!!!
The picture I have used as my featured image is of the sisters; it was my cousin, Beryl’s eldest son’s wedding. We had travelled from Somerset to join them on the happy occasion, all in new outfits we had bought. Beryl had bought her outfit in Kin’s Lynn in Norfolk… it was a range of matching clothes so you could choose whether to have a dress, skirt, blouse, jacket, waistcoat etc in various colours… and as you see Beryl chose a skirt, blouse and waistcoat… what you can’t see is that it was in the prettiest shades of blue that you could imagine. What she didn’t know, until Monica emerged from her bedroom on the morning of the wedding, Monica, without realising had bought the identical outfit, 225 miles away in Wells, Somerset, skirt, blouse and waistcoat in exactly the same colours…
That is why they are laughing… but then they were always laughing when they were in each other’s company, just as my dear cousins and I do today… and I am delighted to say that my two children and the twelve children they have between them are just as close and have just as much fun when they are together!