The theme of Nostalgia given in the latest Photo Challenge made me think of a photo I found the other day in an old, battered bible which had belonged to my mother. My scanner won’t talk to the computer at present, so the only way I could reproduce it was by taking another photo of that tiny print.
The picture shows my Aunt Nell (actual first names Helen Kate Winton), who endeared herself to myself and a number of my cousins by being a wise and unfailingly entertaining second mother to us. I wish I had another photo I once saw of her as a young girl — long-haired and stunningly good-looking, but with a sort of wild independence about her. I was hardly surprised she had been known as a tomboy, and had outdone the boys in almost everything one could think of. She was a crack shot with rifle or catapult, which discouraged predators from decimating her beloved birds that would flock to her garden.
Anyway, Knysna Heads was either the home for all of us, or a magnet for those who had needed to move away like myself and my parents. Aunt Nell often had one or another of the kids, or several at once, foisted upon her during school holidays or when parents were tied up. Over the years, she encouraged both my adventurous spirit and my passion for reading, and gave me a love of wildlife and nature.
Aunt Nell lost a lung and a sister to TB, but in spite of frequent shortage of breath her spirit was undaunted. She was eccentric — like many members of the family! — but in a wonderful way.
She provided a bed in the little lounge of her flat at The Heads for my (then) fiancée, while I stayed in my parents’ half-completed house there (we had been brought up to behave like that, and we also took separate rooms at B & Bs on the journey) and she enthusiastically accompanied us on expeditions in the little open MG TC we had boldly travelled down in from Germiston. My fiancée was a bit doubtful when told that a large snake would probably go across her bed during the night, but not to worry because it was harmless. I assured Fiancée that any dangerous ones didn’t live long with Aunt Nell around!
It is rather ironical that I have now taken the nature thing a stage further by being quite happy with ‘dangerous’ ones as well.
Synchronistically enough, I saw Aunt Nell mentioned recently on FB, with great fondness, by some of my cousins.