Visit to Uncle Dawsey and Auntie Saffy

Marzeus von Hemelen By Marzeus von Hemelen, 24th Oct 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Family

Well, we're here! Uncle Dawsey and Auntie Saffy's house.

Uncle Dawsey comes out to open the gate for us. Seeing the old man come down all the way down the hill, Mother remarks:

"Why have they never installed an electric gate?"

"Stingyness", Father says.

No more war talk today?

Having driven into their yard, we get out. I shake Uncle Dawsey's hand but he doesn't seem to recognize me. It's been years since he's seen me so he probably can't remember me.

Uncle Dawsey and Auntie Saffy are both deep into their nineties, but where other people their age have long moved into an old folks home or died, these two haven't and don't seem to need to.

Sitting down, Mother remarks to Uncle Dawsey how I love history, Mother thinking that he's going to go get his old scrap book album thing and start talking about the wars and adventures Uncle Dawsey has had to live through during his ninety something years.

The Anglo-Boer wars and the world wars have left a deep impression on him for life. On previous visits, he always used to tell about all the nightmarish things they had to go through, how they had to keep the lights switched off at night so the bombers couldn't spot them, etcetera.

"Marzeus really loves an interest in all the old history", remarks Mother to Uncle Dawsey.

Today however, he doesn't seem to be a fountain of war stories. Instead, he replies to Mother, "Well I know what will put him right off it."

He goes to a small row of books on a little table, flanked by real canon shells dating from the war during 1893. He had two wooden stands made for the shells that hold the books up on either side.

He takes a book from it and shows us a picture of how the men in the concentration camp had to go to the toilet. They all seem to sit in a row, with no privacy, doing their business.

There is something looking very sociable about it though, so I say so.

Father has meanwhile also come to take a look at the picture and remarks something similar.

Delicious meal and conversation: What would you have different if you could live life over again?

Aunty Saffy has cooked for us, so that's good. We sit down at the table and start with a nice little soup and wine. Then of course comes a plate of cooked food and then dessert. Dessert is a delicious meringue covered bread pudding type thing. Sweeeeeet!

During the table conversation, after some good glasses of wine, Father and Uncle Dawsey get a little deeper and philosophical. Father asks Uncle Dawsey if he had to have his life all over again, what would be want to be different, or is he happy with how his century of life has been going?

Father later revealed that he was expecting Uncle Dawsey to say that he feels happy with his life as it is. Instead, Uncle Dawsey tells that his life to him was of such a nature that he was always forced to do things that he did not want to.

It must be sad to live for a century and then feel like that.

Weak lung pressure

Although old, Uncle Dawsey has always looked to me to be a gentleman full of life. By now however, his age is given away by his lungs.

When talking, between sentences he sometimes has to like blow softly through his tongue and teeth a time or three, before he can continue. Father later explained to Mother and I that it is to build up pressure in his lungs, because his lungs don't have strong enough air pressure anymore.

Memories from childhood

I take a look around their house. Years ago when I was little, I was in one of the rooms. I think I was drawing on a built in table. Yep, there is the place. It's funny how memories come flooding back, that I would otherwise never recall.

I also remember the arch shaped door leading to the rooms. It's been buried in my memories.

And next to the living room, there's the adjacent room with a big sliding door inbetween the rooms, and the television set, most likely still the same one after about 30 years, is still standing in the same corner. I remember once when I was little Mother and I were at this house and then to keep me busy, I was given a small table and sat down in the center of the room with the television on, while the grownups were visiting or something.

't was nice.

After our meal, we sit down in the living room area again. I like these people's sense of decorating, and their furniture. They don't have much and the place isn't overstuffed by a long shot, but the pieces of furniture and ornaments they do have is very classy and enough.

When it gets late, Father, Mother and I say goodbye.

There is a sadness that comes to me. As life has been going up to this point, I have seen Uncle Dawsey and Aunty Saffy only once every ten years. Since they're well into their nineties now, does this mean I have seen them for the last time now?

Will they still be alive next time I come? Not that it needs to necessarily be ten years away.

Still, there's a what-if voice inside me saying that perhaps I might never see them again, and this was the last time. It was a good time.

Afterwards, I think back about my resistance I felt yesterday and before, about seeing these people. It seems so irrelevant and silly now to have felt so negative about visiting them, when it turned out it was actually a very nice visit. I guess maybe I have grown into someone else through the past few years and need to make new associations with the people and occurences in my life.

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Anglo-Boer War, Aunt, Dining, Dinner, Family Relations, Family Visit, Lunch, Uncle, World War 2, World War One

Meet the author

author avatar Marzeus von Hemelen
I like eggs for breakfast. I live on top of a hill inside a beautiful but old dwelling complex. I like to take life in through my senses and then give feedback through my writing.

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