This is a page dedicated to the memory of my sister Jennie who died on June 21st 2022.
These images cannot tell the whole story of a life, but they can illuminate the happiest moments of it and, for the most part, show the truest and most authentic picture of the person I knew.
An unexpected, unplanned-for arrival in her parents’ lives, Jennie fell into their world in the autumn of 1974. With two teenage children already, the shock must have been considerable, not only disrupting the existing family dynamics but leading to a frenzy of knitting tiny garments in lemon and white; at the time there was no possibility of predicting a baby’s gender before birth.
She was a bright child, (although occasionally possessed of a fearsome temper), who went to the same local infants and junior schools, long since demolished, as her elder siblings. I wonder if the caretaker ever admonished her for running up the pile of coke in the playground, or if Miss Lowe ever smacked her legs (an ultimate sanction, admittedly) for rudeness or bad language.
The age gap between us of 17 years gave Jennie the advantage of a very different upbringing, showered with treats as if she were an only child, which in a way she was. Her Hollie Hobbie style dresses were handsewn from Liberty print cottons by Mum, and no cheap shoes ever graced her feet, only Clarks best quality leather. Birthdays and Christmas brought forth Cabbage Patch dolls, horse riding lessons and presents galore.
On one memorable occasion there was an artfully constructed birthday cake in the shape of a pink-iced fairytale castle, complete with towers and turrets and decorated with jelly sweets and tooth-breaking silver dragees; in the days before competitive baking and internet tutorials, it was an astonishing creation.
The Jubilee Summer of 1977 saw the union jacks and bunting out in force in the suburban road where she lived, and a street party was held, with all the children invited to come in fancy dress. Jennie came as a diminutive Eliza Doolittle, with her straw hat and shawl, and carrying a basket full of a rainbow of handmade crepe paper flowers. They were happy times.
Parents, Friends and Other Occasions
"When are you gonna reach out,
only you can turn your world around,
when will you surrender and wake up to the real ..."