Today's blog post has not been an easy one to write but it was very important that it was, as it is a special tribute to the person who was responsible for a lot of Vintage Twee's inspiration. Two weeks ago my Great Auntie Edith sadly passed away at 94 years old after a long and difficult struggle with dementia and multiple strokes. We will say goodbye to her on Monday 25th March in her home town of Halifax, Yorkshire, where she lived and worked as a proud nurse and Matron for 40 years of her life.
This is not meant to be a sad post, but more a chance to give thanks for the childhood memories that Auntie Edith gave myself and my sister Emma, on those lovely Sundays when mum and dad would take us there to visit her. We would always arrive as she was in the middle of baking her homemade butterfly cakes and scones, Emma and I bounding into the kitchen to see if she'd waited as always so we could help her prepare the antique tea trolley. We would load it up with fresh sandwiches and cakes, as well as her best vintage china, and then fight between ourselves to be the one who wheeled it into the lounge to serve everyone! And so from an early age, I had always loved the concept of afternoon tea and Auntie Edith was the person who taught me all about good old fashioned hostessing from as far back as I can remember.
Like myself, Auntie Edith was a true business woman whose career meant everything to her. She had a very kind and gentle nature and used this to help as many people as she could, progressing through a very successful nursing career and having the honour of being the last Matron of Halifax General Hospital. I would often smile at the stories she would repeat about the 1940s nurses that would try to sneak out of the hospital with their uniforms on but she always caught them...Or how she found out from a 5 year old little boy on her Burn's Unit that whenever she was off duty, the nurses would use her 'bestest teacups, them with the roses on' to enjoy lengthy tea breaks in her absence!
|The four sisters as children - Auntie Edith (far right) and her 3 younger sisters (Grandma Twee next to her!)|
|The four sister as teenagers - left to right: Auntie Georgie, Auntie Irene, Auntie Edith and Grandma - Elizabeth!|
|The four sisters together - left to right: Auntie Irene, Auntie Edith, Grandma and Auntie Georgie|
Christmas parties held the funniest memories and the best being the year when I was 9 years old...I planted my pet hamster into a box of party poppers which my mum had trusted me to hand around, in the hope to play a trick on Auntie Edith...you can imagine the trouble I got in when my hamster landed on her tweed skirt! She would also be the last one standing at any game we played, her favourite being Musical Chairs to which she would fight all the children off for the last chair in the room to win her annual bottle of sherry!
As if the Christmas party traumas weren't enough proof, Auntie Edith was an extremely strong, determined woman and, even when she resided in a nursing home for the last few years of her life with little sight and no memory, she never uttered a word of complaint. Despite her lack of awareness, I would still take her a balloon and cake on her birthday – when I asked her how old she thought she was, I would always get the same reply: '21 and a bit. But you dont tell anyone the bit'. (something I may have to use this upcoming August for the big 30...)
|Auntie Edith's 92nd Birthday Celebrations with me and Mama Twee!|
Monday will be a very sad day for all our family who loved and cherished this woman. Auntie Edith was not just my grandmas oldest sister, but more like a grandma to us herself, who gave us some wonderful childhood memories that partly led to the inspiration behind the creation of Vintage Twee today. She was a true lady, business woman, role model, caring auntie and the last surviving family member from that generation who we will love and miss dearly. Vintage Twee will be closed on Monday 25th March 2013 as we say our goodbyes and raise a cup of tea and a scone in our Great Auntie Edith's treasured memory.
|Auntie Edith's big 90 4 years ago with our family|