Tuesday, 7 February 2006

joining some of the dots

My Aunty Edith (mother's cousin, beard, accordion, eighty-six, can't come and stay for Christmas until Boxing Day as she gigs on the organ at three different churches) has just been to the wedding of one of her brother's son's third wife's children.

She stayed with Ma and Pa while she was down for the weekend and we happened to be staying as well. Although we know the branch of the family, we we're not close and none of us were invited - didn't even expect be, although I think Ma was quite relieved. Edith has been quite discreet in not giving Ma's actual address to the family, I think as she thinks they might turn up on the doorstep and get Ma involved in their turbulent lives.

B asked Edith for a recap of family history.

Ma says that Edith always thinks the best of people.

Hence her nephew, who was involved in a drunken car crash in which a girl died; who swindled her out of half of the value of her home and therefore forced her to live in the tiny sheltered housing bungalow she's in now; who has abandoned three wives and six children and who has now disappeared, allegedly abroad, presumably so the CSA don't catch up with him ... is described as a 'scamp'.

I love Aunty Edith to bits. She'd do anything for anybody, she campaigns furiously for the RSPCA and the PDSA, she is dotty in that peculiarly eccentric way that English ladies sometimes are ... (wrinkly stockings or very brightly coloured ankle socks, knee length tweed skirt, hair in bun on back of head with pins always escaping, ex-reception class teacher, very well read, knits for charity, can get a tune out of any instrument, drinks tea constantly, radiates enthusiasm ... Pia, this one's for you!) ... and she is a genuine innocent.

In one way or another, all my mother's female cousins - and Ma herself I suppose - share the same trait. I suspect it might be genetic; in which case, it seems to have skipped a generation in me :).

Is blindly thinking the best of people a good character trait to have? Or is it sometimes a bit dangerous? People I know who exhibit it always seem to be happy. But in Edith's case, it has made her life so much harder.

Thoughts, anyone?

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