Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday Poem: "Box Brownie Memories" (for my Aunt Gladys)

This is not you that lies before us,
beloved Aunt, for you live on
in our hearts, our souls, our minds
as the raven-haired beauty
with racquet and a ready smile,
as the doting older sister
with eyes shining like a proud spotlight
on two little girls on a crowded stage,
singled out and made special by your love.

You do not lie here cold and lifeless,
beloved Aunt, for you live on
in the warmth of your laughter
and your bright shining lively dancing eyes
and your girlish peaches-and-cream complexion
and in the memories
of two small nephews
in the endless summer of childhood
conquering the diving tower at Jellicoe Baths
or frolicking at Mission Bay
and you capturing all our shared and happy memories
with your trusty Box Brownie.

I wrote this poem as my eulogy to be read at the funeral of my Aunt Gladys who died on Christmas Eve, 1997, aged 90. My mother's two older sisters never married and lived in their original home built from kauri in Epsom, Auckland with my grandmother until, one by one, they died. Gladys was the eldest of four children and was aged 16 when my mother was born. The other sister, Gwendolene, was only two years my mother's senior. My Mum was the baby of the family.

Gwen was working when we would visit Grandma's as children, but Glad had retired and she would give Mum a break by taking us on all sorts of outings. My parents never owned a camera when we were growing up, but, thanks to Glad, many of our growing moments were captured in black and white on her trusty Kodak Box Brownie. My brothers and I loved our Aunty Glad with all our hearts and she loved us very much too.



  1. Box Brownies! Beloved Aunties! How very lovely. I remember both of those delights myself.

  2. Thank you, lillyanne and Helen.

    Ryan just got the first "The Heir of Night" book from the library today, Helen. He's looking forward to reading it.

    We would have liked to have bought it since we know Kiwi writers need all the money they can get, but we are on a 60% reduced income at present so we have to use all the low-cost
    options we can.