The Violin Beneath The Bed
Lest We Forget.
I called my uncle my Aunty’s brother because I never met him. Though his black leather writing box is mine. His violin too.
My uncle fought in the Great War. And he came home. He was a grocer. The final entry in my uncle’s diary amid the many grocery deliveries to be fulfilled? Another visit to the hospital…
My Aunty Charlotte’s brother died in hospital. In 1919. He’d been gassed half a year before.
As children I remember my older brother and me finding my uncle’s campaign medal in a cupboard, unopened in the box it had arrived in 50 years earlier.
My Aunty’s brother “didn’t need a medal to know what he had done” my brother told me when I asked him why the medal and box remained within its brown paper wrapping.
My uncle’s violin we never touched. It remained beneath my Aunty Charlotte’s bed. Her flame to her brother’s memory, I used to think.
I’d sneak into Aunty’s bedroom when we visited, and lie on the floor, and stare at the violin beneath the bed, and think of my Aunty’s brother.
Aunty Charlotte never married. Her fiancé didn’t make it back from France.
A stronger, gentler, more loving woman a young boy could never wish to know and idolise and love.
Lest We Forget (them all).