My mother’s brothers and their wives were warm and empathetic. All four brothers survived the Second World War and returned content to work in the boot and shoe factories or in my Uncle Charley’s case, down a mine. Their wives gave me Christmas and birthday presents I liked, usually age appropriate bright and plastic.. Sadly, though I loved my Piercy aunts and uncles, I never truly bonded with them . Auntie Dulcie, Arthur’s wife, Auntie Lil , George’s wife and Auntie Joan, Jim’s wife were all wonderful women .
Other people mentioned in the letters are the bell ringers and their wives. My father, in addition to ringing the church bells, was a member of a hand- bell-ringing group that stayed together for more than fifty years…Bill Newton, Percy Coe and Ernie Chesterton. These are men he grew up with who all lived locally because until I reached my forties the ‘Aunts’ and ‘Uncles’ (neighbours) and all the characters who had peopled our lives stayed put. Doris and Ernie Chesterton had lived in a detached house over the road. Their garden was huge so when they sold up and moved close by, thirty starter homes were built where once there had been one. People aged, got sick and died. And the village population grew and became more fluid. The village shop was razed and a petrol station was built there, the bakery became a factory and Uncle Frank Best’s posh house became a fish and chip shop. The Bests moved away or died out.