When I think of you I see your long hair, a cigarette in your hand and a smile on your face
Some of my happiest childhood memoeries involve you. You like Mum had moved away from Hastings and settled down the road from where we lived. You had left the seaside and all its sounds and smells and moved to the city, something as I got older I couldnt understand.
You taught me to whistle as a kid, laughing as I tried to make the shapes with my mouth, you didnt stop though until I could do it. I used to stay at your flat with my cousins Daniel and Michael, and Uncle Clive used to make us scrambled egg on toast for breakfast. We used to go to the video store next door and chose a film, a great memory I have is of you getting it on Betamax when you had a VHS and blaming Clive for not telling you. He stood there dumbfounded as the rest of us laughed out loud.
Then you moved home, back to Hastings, I knew I would still see you but not as often as I had done. From visiting every week it became every other month. My cousins and I grew apart, they made new friends as did I, but whenever I went to Hastings yours was the house I wanted to stay in. A huge Victorian town house, three different levels I'd never seen anything like it.
The hill that you moved onto was an absolute killer to walk up but what a great time I had riding down it on Daniels bike. I hit 30mph at one stage, no helmet and going so fast I had to take my feet of my pedals, it scared the life out of me, but left me with a huge grin all the same.
Then there was the time Ann caught us with the copy of Mayfair, I was staying over and Daniel had a copy from his mate, we were under his covers with his torch, feeling like men but really just kids, when Ann came in and caught him. I laughed so much I had an asthma attack, something we shared as is the norm in our family both of us having inhalers.
As the years have passed we've not seen as much of each other as we should have done. My fault really I didn't and still don't visit as much as I should. With a family of my own now I use the excuse of not having the time but knowing with a bit more effort I could get there if I wanted.
My love for the seaside comes from Mums side of the family and from you. I understand now as I'm older why you went back, the lifestyle, the property, the sea air, it appeals to me more and more with every passing year. The problem is I married a city girl and I guess I'll never fulfill that dream I have of walking along the beach on a Sunday afternoon after dinner. I can dream though cant I?
You passed away at 3.30am on the 24th Novemeber 2011 surrounded by family and friends. As hard as its been to write this I wanted to put down in words how much I loved you so as I can always have something to look back on and remeber you by. You were my Auntie Janice and you always will be, and though you may no longer be here I will think of you whenever I'm walking along that beach in Hastings. Love Tony xx