Weekly Photo Challenge: Family

These photos were, fairly obviously, not taken by me. But they are of my family. I was looking for a different picture, one of my father with his three siblings, but I found these first and enjoyed looking at them.

My grandfather’s (my father’s father) two sisters looked fairly alike as these two pictures show.

Great Aunt Doll (Dorothy)

Great Aunt Evelyn

As the pictures also show, they were quite different characters. Evelyn was the glamourous one who died young in a traffic accident. I don’t know what became of her husband, but her daughter, Cousin Gwyn who developed Alzheimer’s and died a few years ago, having been one of the most lively and entertaining of my many relatives, became an extra sibling for my father, his brother and sisters.

Doll has an important part in my own part of the family history. It was in her pub that my parents met. My father had been demobbed after the end of the Second World War, and was living there along with a host of relatives. How they all squeezed in I can’t begin to undertsand. One of the relatives was a Great Great Aunt by marriage, Alice. She became ill, and my mother was the second nurse called in to look after her.

This picture shows Doll, who was evidently doing quite well, outside the pub with Mrs Gwyn, another figure from my childhood who ran the local paper and grocery shop. When you walked through the door onto the rubber mat a bell would ring distantly and Mrs Gwyn would appear through the slatted curtain at the back of the shop.

Mrs Gwyn and Doll outside The Bees

My parents did a fair amount of the courting above the pub. My mother would arrive after finishing her nursing shift and lift the flap on the bar to go through to the private accommodation. Jane the dog would start to thump her tail on the floor and Doll would say, “Here’s Anne”.

Doll and Jane

Doll placed enormous faith in Mother’s nursing knowledge and skills. She consulted her often, and always before speaking to the doctor. When she did see the doctor her opening words were invariably, “My niece, the nurse, says..” to the point that one day, the doctor, apparently exasperated, cut her off after the first two words, saying “Yes, I know, the nurse.”

18 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Family

    • Your first comment surprised me as my father looked like his mother’s side of the family, but I think you are right and he was a mix.
      I believe, from the stories I was told, that Evelyn always looked like a film star! South London must have been a severe trial to her…

      • I think sometimes when you look at somebody in profile, you see different similarities compared to when you look at them face on. This happens with my sister, brother and I – we look completely different but have the same profile.

        • Except my Dad and I both inherited a big, and not straight, nose from someone, which these aunts lack entirely! As we get older, my sister and I look so alike that when I see pix of myself I think it’s her. As children she clearly took after my mother’s side of the family and I took after my father’s.

    • Evelyn’s picture is dated 1931, but they have a very 1920s look, I think, presumably permed. There are lots of pictures of women with similar hair from the period, but Doll seems to have kept to the style most of her life.
      I didn’t know either of these great aunts. Evelyn died when my father was a child, and I think Doll died not long before I was born.

  1. It’s so interesting to see these photos. They are history but to me they are also a different culture. I saw some family pictures of my relatives from early Soviet Union. People looked very different in those photos.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. What wonderful old photos Isobel – AND delightful stories to go with them. I’m totally envious of your Great Aunts’ hair – such lovely waves and I think they look so very much alike – almost like twins. Thanks for sharing.

    Pam

  3. Even if you didn’t take them… I think it’s good to show that family is our connection with the past and futur 🙂

  4. Thank you, isobel for sharing your past with us. I have read with great interest about these relatives of yours so beautifully depicted through your words and these old photos.

  5. Picture 1 must have been a classic pose. I have a similar photograph taken of my great aunt from about the same time period. I was considering using it but in the end I went with the candle

  6. Having several of Doll makes me feel I know her better, but that may also be because my parents were very fond of her and so she remained alive in family stories for decades after dying. It’s only really since my mother has developed dementia that I don’t hear about her anymore.

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