Origins: A Short Story

My father was evacuated in the war. A boy's terror. Two up and two down, lavatory at the end of the yard, newspaper cuttings.

The master of the house came home in rolled up shirtsleeves and ate uncooked beans straight out of the can.

There was bombing in Coventry and the church went.

The maiden aunts lived by the sea in Essex. Later in life they had a joyous reunion in later years, living in a low ceilinged room above the shop. It was perfect.

It was a sweet shop to the delight of us children who spent summers on the beach at trying to hold back the tide and ended the last day with a special visit.

Our inquisitive noses just about reached the height of the wooden counter.

The aunts always laughed as we eyed the sweets in the glass jars at the back.

People risked the busy traffic outside and parked up briefly to call in for a card, birthday's usually or maybe wedding anniversaries.

The aunts handed over the cards to the customers and laughed again as we stared at the brightly coloured sweets.

We always had some to take home. We sat brown limbed and sandy footed in the back of Dad's car, gazing out thoughtfully over the low lying realm of Canvey Island on the way.

We wriggled our feet as sand accumulated and engaged in complicated discussions with Dad for the rest of the way home. "It was due to the war you know. They never married. The men were lost".

Alison and I contemplated this sadness and absorbed some of it.

Who knew what the future would hold and how we could make it last.

But whatever had happened, the aunts always laughed and smiled and did not mind us visiting.

"It's time to hand over to the next generation", my mother said but much later in life and not long before she died.

Elizabeth Oakley

A Dursley Writer