Writing 101 – My Uncle Ted …

Was born in 1920 and he died a few days ago. He and my Auntie Barbara, lived upstairs, from my Parents. Barbara was my Father’s older sister. She too has died and is missed by our family.

Edward Sidney, my uncle was nice to me and my sister Valerie. Growing up, my Mom and Dad would go out of a Saturday evening, with Dave and Lil. My Dad’s brother and wife.

Valerie and myself, would then be looked after by Babs, Ted and our Grandma, for the evening. Which was one of TV and treats. Like chocolates, oranges and nuts. My cousin Colin who was substantially younger than us. Missed the evenings, for he was in bed. While we watched Bonanza or Rawhide. TV westerns, like Gunsmoke, etc. Shows that today, I would feel dismissive of; for their gun culture.

Since living in Canada, over the years, I would travel back to North London. Where until 2002, they still lived above my mother. Dad having died in 1980. Mom now lives with Valerie my sister. Ted and Babs moved to an apartment about 1/4 mile away.

Colin and I would hang out together. Colin lived a few hundred yards down the road. Evening trips to the Greyhound at Church End. Sometimes with his then wife Lynn and sometimes his son Oliver. Oliver was a cute kid and a great sport. Called Ted … Gaggs.

Babs and Ted were like constants in life. Always open toward me/us, a pair of generous souls. Invited to watch soccer on TV and plates of sandwiches, crisps and pickles. Tea and chocolate biscuits. Ted would have beer and scotch for arrival, then Babs would show up with plates of sandwiches.

The last time I saw Ted, he was pretty much confined to a bed and armchair and had a young man to help him with his needs. A Philippino called Joe. While he had his own room, Joe was a paid for carer. With a family in Philippines.

Valerie and I took our Mom, to visit. Joe made tea and supplied biscuits … all too familiar. In place of Babs, who had since died.

Ted had spent a substantial part of WW2 in a German POW camp. The picture of his wife that he had kept through that stay, on the wall. He made the point of emphasizing, that the guards in the camp had been good to the POW’s. “The inmates had been allowed to keep their photos and personal jewellery”, he said, as he opened his hand to show his wedding ring.

As we left, we said goodbye shook hands and kissed. Our eyes both welled with tears. So the news in late March, was not entirely unexpected. It has been a tough 7 years or so, for Colin. While the news was not unexpected it is with a mild shock, that it did come. For it brings on that sadness of memories past and the sadness that his great grand-daughter will miss the pleasure of growing up, with those two lovely people.