Three very important and precious childhood companions are sadly no longer here.
My dear cousins Johnny and Debbie were always at our house. We would play in the garden from dawn to dusk, we rode our bikes all over the neighbourhood. They were even more scared of everything than me so they made me feel brave. Ian looked after me and I looked after them. I could make them howl with laughter at the drop of a hat. Their mother was Auntie Olive, one of Grandma's sisters, just as sweet and gentle and kind.
I'm not going to write a lot about them here, when they passed on I was distraught with grief and guilt. I should have stayed in England and looked after them! Just at my lowest ebb I got a phone call from my Dad, "Angela !!! - he barked - you are NOT to wallow in grief ". "I forbid you - he continued - you ve got 3 lovely children and they need you". Years of psychotherapy could not have put things into perspective more efficiently.
My other friend who passed on was Thekla. She was the daughter of the local vicar and she loved coming to our house. She only had BBC on her television and loved watching the adverts on ours which had ITV. She also was devoted to Grandma (who wouldn't be?). She would cuddle up to her and Grandma would tell us stories, we would go down to our caravan by the river, picnics, camp fires sing-songs in the car. Thekla joined in with everything. She had a lot in common with Grandma, they both liked spooky stuff. "Woman in a church yard stood ooooo aaaaaaa", they would sing while I trembled in fear. Grandma told campfire stories about golden arms that made me jump out of my skin, but Thekla just laughed. Thekla had a hole in her heart because she had had whooping cough very badly. One day she just went to sleep in her kitchen with her mother nearby. She was brave and kind and very, very dear. I had to share Grandma with so many people, as armies of carers and helpers marched through our house, but I shared her with no one as happily as with Thekla.