Friday, 18 January 2013


LAURA was my mother's school-friend in Alexandria, in the 1930's, but now living in Athens, if she is still alive. It is almost two years since i last heard her voice on the phone.We shared a few, long conversations following my telling her that Mum had died. She was deeply touched by my missives with that news and wanted to be in touch and keep some connection as she had always kept in touch over the decades by letter and telephone. 

LAURA's home was literally across the street from where my mother's family - the TAWA's - lived in Rue Canope. She would wave to them from her balcony - wave to Berthe (my mother) & Lydie (my mother's elder sister, who followed her to England after WW2 and became a second mother to us Hemensley children). Lydie and Berthe were the last of seven children. LAURA said she would stand and wave, and gaze at the five beautiful Tawa girls. LAURA said ,that her mother had told her to make friends with them, so she did

LAURA said, that eventually, they (Laura, Lydie and Berthe) would always walk to school each morning. "Your mother and I, would go to the Lycee Francais, and Lydie went to a senior school, being a little older." They would be trailed by a group of boys on the pavement across the road, trying to catch their eye. "It was your mother they were after," said LAURA, "as she was the friendliest!"

LAURA told me how her brother, Anthony, was in love with my Aunty Lydia when they were teenagers. He would sing to her from the street outside her window, and play the violin. It was a little Romeo-and-Juliette. But i knew the story of this "affair" from my Aunty herself - she was always telling me about her "Antoine" or "Antoon" as she sometimes referred lovingly towards him. He was a poet as well. (In fact, he emigrated to the States; was a professor at a minor University and i think, published a couple of volumes of poetry, Laura told me.) be continued, hopefully !!!
Golden GOJI Hermitage
18 january 2013

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