I have had a week of the most amazing long conversations with friends.
I was politely advised this morning by my wife that I needed to stick to a day of silence for everybody’s long term sanity.
And to protect my voice.
On Fridays I often accompany my 93 year old Aunt Lil (I’ve posted about her before) to the local shops in town to get her weekly shopping.
After our shopping I was back at Lil’s flat for a cup of tea and the mandatory mince pie.
However I keep wanting to chat.
Asking questions and reflecting.
And following up.
Trying to be sensitive and not intruding.
This time Lil strayed into the subject of sewing machines (I am currently trying to get her sewing machine repaired and she was pleased that I’d finally, after a long time, booked it in for her).
However, little did I know what would unfold.
We had the history of her work career (she was a machinist).
Different employers, different locations.
How she had to walk to work, often in the dark, early in the morning, across desolate fields in East London, to the sewing factory, and, one day, injuring herself by walking into a concrete lamppost.
Hospitalisation was deemed necessary for a few days plus, apparently, some poor eye wound stitching by the nurse (resulting in odd shaped eyebrows – I’d never noticed) …it continued and continued.
We had stories about her evacuation locations during the war.
I really struggled at times between tears of laughter and sadness.
I was very moved by it all.
She then continued to unravel the detail, the stories, the matter of fact accounts.
Once you open the door you have to just hang on.
Different companies, different jobs, low wages, her “boy mad” mate who asked her along to support her at meet ups outside the local dance hall.
I think I’ve probably found out what really affects me the most.
It’s just the talking, the listening, the enquiring.
The exchanging of stories.
The time just passes.
Effortlessly and enjoyably.
And so unpredictably.
And no, it’s impossible for me to be quiet.
I’m just genuinely interested.
Perhaps I always have been but was afraid to ask the obvious question.
Just sharing thoughts, issues, different perspectives.
Just supporting by listening and trying to understand people a bit better.
When I was 18 I had no idea at all that it would be like this many years later 😎
It really is something quite special …