Monday, April 8, 2013

Sharing Memories - Aunty Tilly (Matilda Holman, nee Taylor 1900-2001)

Aunty Tilly

Please join me for another post in my Sharing Memories series.  Thank you to  Olive Tree Genealogy’s Blog’s for providing me with the idea and motivation to write a little about my family history as I remember it. 

 Aunty Tilly as we all fondly remember her was the subject of my last blog on The Other Half of My family,  Born on the 14 November 1900, Matilda Holman(nee Taylor) lived for over a century and being an ardent royalist one of the proudest moments was when she received a telegram from Queen Elizabeth on her 100th Birthday.

I did not meet my husband’s great Aunty Tilly until the late 1970’s. However, she soon became one of my muses and inspirations for delving into our family history.  Her fascination with family history, and tendency to collect “all things past” inspired me to explore my husband’s family history as well as my own.  Aunty Tilly was only too happy to share her stories and because of my obvious interest entrusted me with many family photos, letters and stories.  Her stories about her family and relatives in England sparked my interest into her Great Grandmother Elizabeth Taylor (nee Rushworth) on whom I have written a number of blogs.  Today I would like to write down a few of my memories of Aunty Tilly, as part of my “Sharing Memories” series.

Aunty Tilly was very determined and many would say somewhat stubborn, but she always seemed to be able to organise (or sometimes demand) people to get things how she wanted.  Perhaps this was part of her survival strategy, as she outlived all her siblings, husband and children.  Whenever a male relative of the family visited Aunty Tilly, at her home in Cowra,  they were welcomed with open arms and lots of charm, and then a list of chores and small maintenance jobs that she had been saving up for them.  It was common knowledge if Aunty Tilly was cooking a Sunday Roast (which she liked to do), all the chores would need to be completed before lunch.  

One of the first memories of Aunty Tilly that springs to mind was in 1980.  I liked to dabble, in different craft
Aunty Tilly and Joan at our wedding 10.5.1980
work, one of which was making cards and pictures from pressed flowers which I sold to friends and at local markets.  Aunty Tilly admiring my handiwork invited me over for the Cowra for the local Quota” Craft Show.  I was at this time about 6 months pregnant with my first son, so I packed up all wares into our family car and set off for a weekend with Aunty Tilly and her daughter Joan.  (Joan was her single daughter who lived with Aunty Tilly until she passed away about 10 years later).

As soon as I arrived Joan and Aunty Tilly took great delight in my arrival, fussing and organising me. Joan and I headed down to the craft show to set up my stall, with hot thermos’s of sweet black tea and another thermos full of Cauliflower in a rich cheese sauce for our lunch.  That makes me smile!  Who would think of making up a lunch of Cauliflower and cheese sauce!! (only Aunty Tilly). Mind you it was pretty yummy.  I really don’t remember if I sold anything off my stall, but I had a wonderful afternoon with all their friends fussing over me and rubbing their hands over my rather prominent baby bump. 

A great story, but the classic moment was after breakfast the next day!! We had just finished our breakfast at the small table on the back porch of Aunty Tilly’s house.  Joan had packed up the dishes and said, “It is a great day, let me show you the garden”, Aunty Tilly rose to her full 5 foot nothing, grabbed my arm, and gave Joan a meaningful stare!!  “You had her yesterday, It is my turn today!”

Who were we to argue! Joan sat down meekly and picked up the paper, and Aunty Tilly guided my bulky form out the back door to introduce me to all her canaries, who were singing away in the cages just near the door.  By the time we had checked out the orchids, and reached the famous, sprawling mulberry tree at the back of her yard, Joan had meekly snuck up and joined into the conversation and the rest of the tour.   They had a wonderful and supportive relationship for many years, but I think Aunty Tilly was always the boss and had the final say.

I have many more Aunty Tilly stories, which I think I will keep for another post. 

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