Perhaps it is not surprising that I seem to be spending more time attending funerals than I used to. After all, I have been around for a good number of years now and it is inevitable that some of my friends and contemporaries should be calling it a day. This last year has seen me say goodbye to five or six, most of whom had had a pretty good innings. And their passing has been an opportunity to reflect on incidents associated with their lives - even at funerals there always seems to be a good excuse to have a smile.
As I have aged, I seem to have been developed a keen interest in what happened during my younger years. I found myself wondering what had happened to the boys I went to school with - how had life treated them, where were they living and what careers had they followed. It was with the hope of getting answers to some of these questions that I started to attend the annual reunion luncheon of the Grammar School where I was a pupil shortly after the war. To be honest, I was disappointed! I made contact with no more than a couple of lads who had been at school at the same time as myself. However, I did make friends with others with whom I had interests in common. One of these was Terry, younger than myself who lived near Lincoln in a village where I had once lived. Terry used to travel regularly between Lincoln and Ipswich. He found that my village was a convenient stopping point on his journey and he came to regard my house as a comfort stop where he would call in en route for a cup of tea and a natter.
Sadly he was one of the friends I lost last year. I made the journey up to Lincoln to attend his funeral and not surprisingly there was only one person there I recognised -, Doug Thompson, who I had got to know after meeting him at the re-union lunch. We sat together at the meal provided for mourners afterwards. Conversation concentrated on Terry’s life and it transpired that Terry’s wife’s maiden name was Nunweek. Not many with that name’, I said, ‘ but strangely enough, I had my eyes on a beautiful blonde Grammar School girl called Christine Nunweek when I was about thirteen. I used to see her each morning from the top deck of the school bus as she waited at the bus stop. I thought that she would be voted Miss Great Britain if she’d been a contestant’. Doug then asked me if I’d ever told the girl what I thought and I replied that I’d never even spoken to her. ‘Come with me‘ he said ‘I’ll introduce you to her’. I was whisked across the room and introduced to a tiny, elderly lady as being a person who admired her as a raving beauty seventy years ago! The lady was Terry’s sister in law. We chatted a while and as I left her, I apologised if knowledge of my teenage phantasies all those years ago had upset her. ‘I thought you might slap my face’. ‘Not a chance of that’, she said. ‘You’ve made my day”.