Laughter Lingers in Memory

The days fold one into another, and the daily phone calls with Mom tend towards reminiscence – not much happening in the present.

We talk about my aunt, her sister-in-law, a colourful figure who lived her life alone – lesbian in a time when homosexuality was considered criminal, and later, a mental illness. Dee, as we called her, would dress as the old man from Laugh-In and crash our childhood birthday parties, shuffling her feet, mumbling and tossing out candies from her deep pockets.

“Everyone wanted Dee to come to their parties!” Mom laughs.

“Remember how she’d threatened to move to Alaska to get away from us all?”

“And how she always came over wearing a name tag?”

“Dad could never get our names right!”

We laugh, each lost in her own memories.

“She looked after me once when I was sick,” Mom says. “She came in wearing one of her moo-moos, offered to make me a cup of tea, and proceeded to do the Tetley tea dance. The thought of it still makes me laugh.”

Then Mom tells me a story about Dee in her final days. With cancer riddling her body, she went from checkup (she avoided doctors for most of her life) to palliative care in a matter of weeks. Family flew out from England to say their goodbyes.

“There she was, dying of cancer, and when her sisters entered her room, she opened her eyes and without missing a beat, said: ‘They tell me I have a twisted twat.'”

Only Dee. Even in memory, she keeps us smiling.


This week’s focus was remembering – a fun prompt promoting many sweet stories. Thanks to all who participated:

Reena Saxena
I Write Her
Heart to Heart
Susan’s Place
Stuff and what if…
one letter UP
Shilpa Nairy

Hope you are all well and staying safe. Bless you to those who must work the front lines. See you tomorrow for a new challenge!.

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

29 thoughts on “Laughter Lingers in Memory

  1. What a perfect story for your prompt. The stories that don’t usually get told are often the most interesting. And they live on in the memories of those who are left. What a character! (I remember the sketch from Laugh In – so funny).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a couple of photos of a great aunt dressed up in men’s clothes – suit, shirt and tie, hat, holding a cigarette. This must have been during the war and why she was dressed that way I don’t know although her father was a tailor. Sadly his work dwindled during the war, he turned the gas on and took his life in ’42. Two years later she died in a mental asylum from an epileptic convulsion, the death certificate noting she was schizophrenic. I’ve often wondered what she was like and whether the social constraints at the time played a part in her story. Your piece reminded me of her.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Those were really tough times. I had a (secretive) lesbian aunt who suffered from schizophrenia, badly (harming herself, not others). She was about 8 years old when the 2nd World War started, both her and her younger brother (6), my dad, had to go away as did many children in the UK because they were afraid of Nazi invasion. They were abused, their precious food stolen, even their parcels from home taken by the horrible man of that family.

      Liked by 2 people

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