It’s strange how the vivid memory of a long-forgotten place or event is suddenly generated for no particular reason at any place or at any time.
I thought about my Aunt Mary this morning, the first time in years. What triggered it? The year was 1956 and I was on holiday at the seaside after my qualifying year at the university. I had driven down with a friend who had a car which he said I could use if I needed it. I was having a wild time, free of studying at last and totally unaware of what was to come. The most important items on my personal agenda were probably girls and beer.
One evening I was walking along in search of either of the above when I bumped into Auntie Mary. She was my grandmother’s younger sister and must have been around seventy, in those days and in my eyes, an old woman. I liked her. She told me that her holiday was at an end and she was going home the next day.
“How are you traveling?” I asked.
“By train,” she answered.
“I’ll take you to the station,” I offered.
She resisted for a while telling me how unnecessary it was but finally gave in.
“4 o’clock sharp,” she said, “and don’t be late!”
“Okay, Auntie,” I promised.
Of course I was late. I was known for always being late. Once I had Auntie and her luggage in the car I drove fast. We zoomed along, she with one eye on the road and the on her watch.
I pushed the gas pedal to the floor and she said, “come on, drive, drive faster, as fast as this car can go!”
We made it. We had a good laugh over that day remained good friends. She never asked me to take her anywhere after that.