It was a day for a creative writing challenge; today another ‘clustering’ exercise. Monkey, Cheeky, Smile, Jean, Aberdeen, Home are not necessarily the words that may come to mind for most when creating a ‘cluster’ or mind map from the word “Catarrhine”. The word relates to primates of a particular group – much better explained than I can by https://myteatowels.wordpress.com/2018/01/22/a-tale-of-two-continents-2017-originated-in-2008/ – and leads from ‘monkey’ to ‘Jean’ (my aunt) because she loves monkeys.
She is our matriarch, our guide and inspiration, the elder of the family at 92. She dispenses love and wisdom without apology or a desire for recognition, though often with a cheeky smile. She seeks nothing in response to her giving though is grateful, without ingratiation, for all that is given. I could put it in many ways but, simply, she knows what is what. She is not hidden behind flounce, or flummery; she’ll tell you straight what she thinks.
She is Jean. She is my Aunt but, also, a Great Aunt, a Great Great Aunt, and much more besides. Though born in Inverness, she has lived in Aberdeen for more than 87 years. It seems she knows every street, every person, every change for good, or not; it is her home. She ranted about the flats built by the roundabout on Queen’s Road and about “Trump’s” golf course seizing part of Balmedie Beach. She loved the opening of the Gordon Highlander’s Museum and, especially, the Duchess Jean Tea Room within.
I imagine her as matriarch of all of Aberdeen; it could do no better than this treasure who is short in height but never in strength.
© Liz MacKenzie
22 November 2018