This evening Alan started out on the long task of introducing me to his many brothers and sisters.
He had told me last Wednesday that tonight we could go to his sister Doreen’s house in Chase Cross.
Doreen is 24 and the sixth of the nine siblings. The one above Alan in the family. Her husband’s name is John and they have 2 children, Susan 4 and Sandra, 11 months.
The original idea was to stay there for about half an hour then to go for a drink somewhere and come home.
We arrived to find them all dressed up to go out. They suggested we could go – of all places – to the Bank of England Social Club at Debden for a drink. John works at the printing works. Let’s face it, I just can’t get away from the Bank.
We all piled into the car, Doreen with Sandra on her lap in the front and Susan sitting between Alan and me. As she got in, John said, ‘ That’s right, keep ‘em apart.’ Sandra adores Alan (Uncle Alan) and won’t leave him. Susan is a sweet little kid. She wouldn’t say much to me at first but after a while she gave me a most charming smile and I knew I was in. That fact was proved on the way home. Going out I offered my lap as she seemed so squashed between the two of us but she wouldn’t move. But coming back she almost went to sleep on my lap. I felt quite domesticated in the back of that car with Susan sitting on my lap and Alan holding the baby.
I won’t forget the strange feeling I had this evening. I found myself lifted out of one generation into another. Being the eldest grandchild (on my mother’s side) in family gatherings I have always been one of the children of the group. By choice more than anything I think. I have found more fun playing with the children than sitting around talking.
This evening, when we got back to Doreen and John’s house the children were put to bed and food was produced. We sat and watched TV for a while. Alan was in an armchair and I was sitting on the floor at his feet. Very cosy. He was playing with my hair and at some point he cupped my face in his hands and kissed me. Like a great idiot I blushed. I could have kicked myself, hard. I could feel Doreen and John looking at me.
We left after offering our names as permanent baby-sitters for the children. If ever they want to go anywhere special Doreen will write to Alan.
Alan told me that the family grape-vine really will be buzzing. First, I have met his Dad and brother then spending the evening with one of his sisters and her family. None of his family had ever seen any of his other girlfriends so it must be pretty obvious to them that something interesting is going on.