“Are you sitting comfortably? Good, then we’ll begin.”
Those magical words meant that mother was about to catapult us into a world of wonder. Dreamy summer afternoons with full tummies and overactive imaginations.
Naturally, there were bedtimes stories before we went to sleep, but this was different.
It was summer holidays.
Father had taken time off from his work in the city, and we were all together for six glorious weeks.
Part of the ritual was ‘dressing in our best.’
Mother and father were dressed as though they were about to dine and we were dressed as though we were going to a birthday party.
Mother always sat in the same chair and had her foot resting on the footstool that grandfather had made for her. She made the embroidered cushion, but grandfather made the rest.
From early in the morning until we had to dress for storytime, the day was ours, but even though this was an interruption to our freedom we none of us complained.
We had many happy years together until ‘The Crash’. Father couldn’t live with the shame, and our world became smaller.
We were sad, and our world was turned upside down as we settled into a small house in a different town, but one thing remained the same.
Mother kept up the story time tradition every summer holiday.
Then Billy went to war and didn’t come home.
Sally got married and moved to Australia, and my work took me to London.
I think that mother was hoping that I might give her grandchildren, but I was too busy to have children.
Life didn’t go that way.
No more story time, but no one can take away the memories.