Aunt Etta

(Re blogged from last year)

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Transporter.”

Tell us about a sensation — a taste, a smell, a piece of music — that transports you back to childhood

It’s ordained, it has to be, why else would I plant them in every garden that surrounds the home I happen to be living in at any given time, and there has been a few over the years.

Geraniums, plain albeit colourful geraniums, the colour isn’t the important feature to my story, nor is the fact that they are not my favourite flower, that honour belongs to the daffodil, it’s the perfume they send up on being watered that sends me spinning back, to what I would credit as being one of the best years of my mid-teens.

After a dissension with my Mother it was decided that I live elsewhere, (mindful that this being  in the late fifties, children did not usually leave home to live on the streets, not if they in anyway respected their elders.) I was taken to the opposite end of the city and introduced to an elderly lady as my Aunt Etta. I had met her on a previous occasion, but to this day I have no real idea which twig she was, or how she came to belong on a somewhat twisted branch of our family tree.

I was reluctant, as from the view point of a fifteen year old, she looked as old as the hills, to be truthful she was about the same age I am now, but selfishly I felt it would be better than nothing, knowing I had no intention of living another minute in my mother’s house.

It wasn’t long before I realised living with Aunty Etta, was a holiday in paradise, it was here I learned to relax and start to enjoy the everyday activities of a teenager. I came to appreciate this dear lady, not for what she looked like, or her age , but for her kindness and support, she taught me trust, encouraged me to join the scout movement as a cub leader, and to go out and to mix with friends or to bring them home, all were welcome

It was while living here I met the first love of my life, he was a tall, handsome young policeman, who used to come daily into the food court where I worked. We dated a couple of times and Aunt Etta always made him welcome. It was her that comforted me when he told me, that as a policeman, it was his job to protect young girls from older men not date them, he was ten years older than I. She was the only one that didn’t tell me it was all for the best, that I would find someone else one day, she acknowledged my pain at the time and just held me while I cried.

Aunty Etta was a widow of many years standing; who had a great love of canaries, housing dozens of them in individual aviaries, intermittently placed throughout her back yard, each one separated by geranium bushes. On sunny days when she watered her flowers, the orchestra of chirping birds and buzzing bees created an atmosphere instantly aromatised with the fragrance of geraniums, a memory I will take to my grave.

I lived happily with this wonderful lady for twelve months, now every time I smell the perfume or water my geraniums, my heart whispers Thank you Aunty Etta.

4 comments on “Aunt Etta

  1. I had a ‘ falling out’ with my father and as my family and I lived in the same building with two of my aunts, their families and my grandparents (different flats on different floors) I had to stay put. What a nice person she was to understand and help.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. G’day Maspring,
    Yes she was, and with the selfishness of a teenager, I didn’t think of how my leaving her alone again twelve month later must have effected her.


  3. Your post made me smile, not just for the fact that you found a haven with Aunt Etta but that my dad used to breed canaries so there were cages all around our backyard when I was young and what did he cultivate in his later years — geraniums! And thank you for the ‘Like’ for my ‘Ode to Facebook’.

    Liked by 1 person

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