It’s always good to see old friends, and even more fun when you haven’t met for a very long time. This pleasure was ours recently, when my mother’s goddaughter Mo – whom I hadn’t seen since my parents’ golden wedding 28 years ago – phoned to say that instead of sending Mom a birthday bouquet by Interflora she was coming to deliver it personally.
Mo’s parents and mine were neighbours and good friends, and we share many happy and funny memories from our childhood. Sadly, both her parents are now dead, but during our long catch-up – which was intended to be just dropping in for a cup of tea and a slice of birthday cake but actually stretched into a visit of over 6 hours! – our exchange of family photos turned into sharing ancient black and white ones.
What a blessing is modern technology: I was able to e-mail her 2 pictures that she had never seen before, one taken just after her christening and the other at my fifth birthday party. For Mo, it was very moving to see her parents as a young couple.
With my having been out of the country for nigh on half a century and Mo having moved away to the West Country soon after, the opportunities for meeting have been very rare. The last real occasion we shared was her sixteenth birthday party. I missed her wedding, as it fell in the middle of my finals at university, and apart from bumping into her one day in town in around 1970, that brief hello-goodbye among a crowd of guests at my parent’s party in 1986 was the last time we met in the flesh.
Now here we are, both of us great-grandmothers, although I have to admit that Mo doesn’t look a day over 40 and if she weren’t such a lovely old friend I’d be green with envy! She has managed to stay lean and lithe, where I have been merrily piling on the pounds, and succeeds very cleverly in dressing stylishly without looking in the least like mutton dressed up as lamb. No wonder people mistake her for her daughter’s sister – and her daughter needn’t feel insulted by that.
It was a serendipitous coincidence that Mo’s partner is a professional photographer, and he just happened to have a “proper” camera with him, so in addition to our family snaps we now have some real quality portraits of my mother to mark her ninety-eighth birthday. A very big thank you, George. All we have to do now is to get them printed.