A few days later, Uncle Dudley drove my brother Charles and I to the small airport on the west side of the island. He checked us in, asking one of the air stewardesses to take care of us as we were traveling unaccompanied. He hugged us both and smiled, telling us to give his regards to Derek, our father. My father and Dudley were close friends as they had served together on the same warship during the Second World War. We waved Dudley goodbye and boarded the small plane. As the plane took off, we looked down from the window at the view of the island of Jersey below us. Higher and higher we flew and the island became so small, that the numerous fields and farms looked like miniature Matchbox toys. It was a glorious bright day, with a crystal clear blue sky, as we rose above the fluffy, cotton clouds. I couldn’t wait to see my father for it had been such a long time since I had last seen him. He had become to me a special person whom I only met in my dreams. After landing in Paris, we started to become a bit nervous for we had to meet his new wife Helene. I was a little afraid that he might love her more than he loved us. After changing planes at Orly Airport, we soon arrived at our destination… Geneva. It was a beautiful descent, through the soft fluffy clouds. Suddenly we saw below us the panorama of shimmering Lake Leman, sparkling in the late afternoon sunlight. I thought that the lake itself was so beautifully set, its sapphire blue waves stretching out into the far distance until they reached the foothills of the towering Alps .
“We are almost there, my father said, “Helene, your stepmother, is waiting for us at our villa and is preparing a special supper for us all. She is feeling a little nervous to meet you both for the first time and is hoping that you will soon grow to like her.”
Not knowing what to say to him, I stuck my head out of the taxi window, as we drove along the coast road on the left bank of the lake. My heart was pounding with happiness to be with him again. I began to wonder - why do parents want to separate when together they have made a child? It just seems so unfair.” I pushed away the thoughts, for I was determined not to let anything spoil our short holiday with him.
The sapphire blue sky above us made me feel that I was looking at the ceiling of the whole universe. It was the early hours of the evening and the sun was beginning to set beyond the distant hills. I spotted a family of graceful white swans bobbing up and down in the water near the rocks by the shores of the lake. I felt that it was a good omen for our reunion, after such a long time apart. So much had happened since we last had time to be with our real father, whom we called Daddy! `Every thing is going to be alright’ I thought. I’d never seen such a huge lake before; it seemed to me to be even bigger than the sea that surrounds the island of Jersey. The evening sun glittered on the rolling deep blue waves of the endless lake. The lower hills were glowing with a wall of dark green pine trees and flowering shrubs such as Azaleas, with their scarlet flowers, and rhododendrons, their glossy leaves shining in the evening sunlight. Daddy told us that he had bought this cosy little house, called ‘La Fraideu’, because its view of the lake was so beautiful. He told us that the house was conveniently situated outside the small town of Anieres, between the city of Geneva and the picturesque medieval village of Hermance. He also explained to us that his new wife, Helene, was beautiful and very kind. `She came from a white Russian aristocratic family and we met at a Royal a ballet performance in Covent Garden in London. As a child she grew up in Geneva and was very good at languages and also a talented cook!’ he smiled.
He went on to explain to us, that during the Russian Revolution in 1917 her father and mother, who were in great danger at the time, fled from Russia by train and escaped to the eastern port of Vladivostok. There they waited for a ship that was going to Japan. After staying for a few weeks in the port town of Kobe, they managed to find passage on a cargo ship sailing to Europe. In those days a sea voyage during the winter months was very rough and they suffered a lot from seasickness and scurvy. The journey was long and hard, for it took them two months to reach Switzerland, their final destination. They sought asylum in Switzerland and settled there in Geneva and began to rebuild their life.
I nodded my head and asked my father, “Are you going to have any more children?”
He sensed that I was worried, so he shook his head and smiled and said, ”I don’t think so.” He went on to laugh, ”Helene has already got two sons that live in Argentina with their father so, all in all, I think we have enough children.”
I became sleepy and found it hard to stay awake. The flight hadn’t been long, but the excitement of flying to Paris and then Geneva, had worn me out. I stopped talking and began to wonder what my new stepbrothers were like. Charles was already fast asleep next to me on the back seat. His head was lying on my father’s knee. We were in a taxi, for my father never ever drove a car. He had stopped driving, ever since he had had that bad traffic accident during the war. He had been driving at night and smashed into the back of an army trailer which he hadn’t seen because of the heavy fog on the road. His eyesight after that was poor, and this experience had put him off driving for life, so we always travelled by taxi, whenever we were with him.
“Next corner - turn left” my father said to the driver in French. Surprised to hear him speaking French, we turned into a narrow driveway covered with small grey cobblestones. Glossy green camellia bushes on either side suddenly gave way to a green lawn, and we could see a little bungalow with dark green ivy creeping all over the stone walls. The door of the house opened and a tall elegant lady stepped out of the house. The taxi stopped and the driver opened the car door. Shaking Charles, who was still fast asleep, I said, “Come on wake up, we’re here!” Rubbing his head, his hot little eyes blinked to take in the new surroundings. Suddenly two arms pulled him out of the car and gave him two big kisses on his cheeks.
“You must be Charley, my beautiful boy, how handsome you are and with the most beautiful big blue eyes!” I looked up, dazzled by this very attractive lady with curly shoulder length blonde hair. She was carrying Charles and smiling at me. ‘This is another mother I’ve been given’ I thought to myself, ‘she looks nice’, and I smiled back. Taking my hand she led me through the porch into the house. The door led straight into the living room. Everything looked very neat and cozy and I immediately felt as if I was safe at home.
‘This is a small house, the kind of house that Snow White lived in with the dwarfs’, I thought. I had always envied people who could live in a small house close to their mother and father, without endless oil paintings, grandfather clocks and statues staring down at them. This house had three bedrooms, a dining room, living room and a kitchen. There were no servants around, which surprised me, so I asked, “Who does the cooking?”
“I do,” said Helene. “I love to cook and I’ll teach you and show you how much fun it is. Anyway, the first thing we must do is to show you your bedroom and take your suitcases down there.”
There were no stairs in this house, so I walked down the carpeted corridor following Helene. Charles had gone back to sleep, so she laid him down on the blue bedcover in his bedroom and covered him with a red tartan check woolen rug. His room was next to the bathroom. The wallpaper was blue and white striped, and there were many prints of old wooden ships hanging on the walls.
“I thought you’d like the pink room with flowery curtains, so your bedroom is next to our bedroom. You can come in any time to be with us,” she smiled.
I looked around my new room. A cherry pink carpet covered the floor, a red and green chintz bedcover, with matching curtains, gave the room a feeling of spring. In the corner of the room stood a small pine wardrobe to hang my clothes in. A small wooden walnut mirror stood on the dressing table, with a neat row of silver brushes and an ivory comb on it. A few of my father’s favorite children’s books were laid neatly on the bedside table beside an antique wooden reading lamp. I sat on the bed and took in my new surroundings. Everything had this well worn, but comfortable air about it. Aunt Helene had obviously taken a lot of care to make sure that the interior decorators made pretty bedrooms for both of us.
In my mother’s house we were never allowed into her room without special permission. Most of the time the door connecting the children’s wing to the main wing was locked, so it made me very happy to know that in this house we were free to go anywhere we wanted.
I gazed out of the gabled window, “Wow, I can see the lake, its right at the end of the garden!” I gasped.
Rushing down the corridor I found the room which led onto the back garden. A long green lawn with flowerbeds filled with white daisies, yellow and scarlet lilies and gladioli, led down to the shore. Gnats were dancing in the early evening sunlight. I couldn’t believe that the house was built so close to the lake. Streams of sparkling pink and crimson light floated on the deep blue water as the sun was setting in the sky. Dusk was slipping its way in. How I loved sunsets! I ran down to the water’s edge and sat on the small wooden jetty. I was just in time to catch the deep crimson ball of fire disappearing behind the far off mountains.
“Wait, wait!” I cried, “Don’t go down just yet!” as the sun slipped away behind the mountain, Daddy had followed me down to the shore. He put his hands around me and hugged me.
“The sun will be back tomorrow, it’s gone to see the children who live on the other side of the earth,” he said.
“Is it possible to follow the sun and see sunsets all the time?” I asked my father. “If I go to the other side and look this way will I see the sun coming down before the mountain?”
He laughed, “Maybe, I’ll start reading you the stories the Arabian Nights tomorrow and then perhaps we will learn the answer to that question. Anyway, we should go back inside. Helene is waiting for us as supper is ready.” We walked back together over the lawn.
A month would be too short I thought, ‘Why can’t I stay here for longer?’ Daddy clasped my hand and we went back inside. Supper was laid out on the kitchen table.
“Dinner’s ready, so go and wash your hands and come and sit down” said Helene, as she was cooking.
Charles had woken up, so we raced down to the small bathroom, put our hands under the running water and washed our hands.
“Isn’t this fun,” I said to Charles. “We can go anywhere, whenever we like, without having to worry about guests or servants watching. What do you think of Helene?”
“I don’t know yet, but her cooking smells good!” Charles answered.
We raced back and sat down at the table, Daddy was already sitting down. He said “We are having roast chicken and roast potatoes followed by a special dessert from Switzerland of fresh cream cheese, mixed with fresh cream and sugar.”
Helene took off her apron and began to serve out the vegetables. It was almost twilight, outside. A pale crescent moon was slowly rising. The trees in the garden were becoming like dark shadows, two white candles on the dining table gave the room the warm glow of candlelight. Helene opened the oven door and brought the chicken out proudly and put it down on the table. ‘Oh! This is amazing,’ I thought, ‘having supper with them at this late hour’. It was probably already eight o’clock. It was like being in a different world. ‘I hope we can do this every day.’
The roast chicken was just right, juicy with crackly skin, and the potatoes were crispy and delicious. I was surprised that Helene could do everything by herself. We were both allowed a spoonful of rosé wine diluted in water. Daddy poured it for us into beautiful crystal glasses. Showing us how to warm the glass with our hands clutched around the bowl of the glass, he told us to sip it slowly. He and Helene began asking us all kinds of questions, like how we were getting on at school, and, as we began to explain, our eyelids slowly became heavy and I was having trouble stifling a yawn. The soft candlelight, and my stomach full of food, made me prop my head with my hand so that I wouldn’t fall asleep on the table.
“I think it’s time for bed,” said Helene, smiling. “You and Charles go and get into your pajamas, brush your teeth, and I’ll be in to kiss you goodnight.”
“Thank you for dinner, it was delicious,” said Charles as he scrambled down from the chair.
I followed him and we both went down the corridor to the bathroom.
“That’s not the way to brush your teeth,” I said to Charles, “you have to move the toothbrush up and down.”
“Don’t be so bossy,” said Charles, “I know that!”
He put his toothbrush down and ran into his bedroom slamming the door. Sighing, I went into my room, wishing I hadn’t told him. Somehow I had always felt protective towards my younger brothers and sisters.
I took off my clothes, remembering to fold them neatly on the chair. I wanted to make a good impression, to show Aunt Helene that I was a tidy person. I changed into my new pink viyella nightdress. It was creamy white with small pink flowers dotted all over it, trimmed with lace. I looked hard at the antique mirror on the dressing table and grinned at myself in the mirror. Two missing front teeth made my smile look crooked somehow. I wondered if I was pretty. My classmates at school often teased me saying that I was too thin and needed to put on some weight, so I was nicknamed ‘Skinny Lizzy,’ much to my chagrin. I always tried to eat more to get fatter but no matter how much I ate I couldn’t seem to put on any more weight.
I asked Dingding one day, “Why can’t I get fat?”
“Because you are always thinking too much,” she replied. After she told me that, I sometimes wondered how could I stop thinking, but no matter how hard I tried, my mind seemed to run away with me, dreaming of what I would do when I was older or what kind of life I wanted.
My thoughts returned to the present. Aunt Helene came in and said, “Come on, into bed.” I jumped into the cold, carefully pressed, white sheets. My legs slithered down into the cool smoothness of the linen.
“Do you think my forehead is too big?” I asked her.
“What a funny thing to ask! No of course not! I wish I had a big one like yours, it must be full of brains,” she laughed.
“That’s what some people say, but I think it’s just too big for my face. It makes me look like a Martian,” I groaned.
Suddenly I realised that I was not stuttering and my lisp had got a little better.
“Who’s talking about Martians?” Daddy came in grinning. “Do you want me to read you a story?”
“No, not tonight, Daddy. I’ll fall asleep.” He bent down over me, tucked me in, and said, “Goodnight Princess. We’ll read you lots of stories from tomorrow. Sleep well, sleep tight, make sure the bugs don’t bite.”
“You too, sweet dreams,” I replied, snuggling down under the sheets and blankets. “Can we go swimming tomorrow?”
“Of course,” he said as he turned off the light and closed the door.
Charles came rushing in the next morning and jumped on my bed “Neishe wake up,” he said. “It’s a beautiful day and later Daddy’s going to take us swimming.”
I jumped out of bed and pulled the curtains to the sides of the windows. The sun was shining and its rays rippled down on the waters of the lake. A light breeze caught the slim branches of the silver birch trees and I noticed there was a swing in the garden. Hurriedly, I put on my clothes - a summer cotton dress, white with blue polka dots, white socks and brown sandals. I brushed my hair, splashed some water on my face and put a white headband on my hair. There were dewdrops still glistening on the grass outside.
“Let’s go down to the swing. I’ll race you,” I cried. Charles pushed me to one side and hurtled past me.
“I’ll easily beat you.” he cried, “You are such a slowcoach.”
Infuriated, I cried, “Don’t call me a slowcoach,” painfully aware that anything requiring physical coordination always made me feel profoundly inadequate. I was always last in any running race and always managed to drop a ball when somebody threw it to me. I would frequently trip over something, which would always leave me with an array of graze marks on my knees. The most terrifying thing for me was when I had to learn how to swim.
When I was six years old we moved to Jersey with our new stepfather Dudley. Charles had already learnt to swim like a little dolphin in the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea. It took me a long time to actually get to a point where I could trust that the water would hold me. Dingding, our Nanny, had spent months with her hand firmly cupped under my chin, when I was trying to do doggie paddle in the sea. She had tried everything, to give me confidence: a cork around my waist, a rubber ring and arm bands, but to no avail. I was convinced that I was going to sink. Mother had lost patience with me. She couldn’t believe how afraid I was and would go on and on about how quickly she had learnt sports when she was young and how good she had been at swimming, skiing, horse riding etc. and why couldn’t I be like her. It just didn’t seem fair. ‘Why am I so afraid?’ I thought.
I reached out for the swing and jumped on it.
“Hey, that’s not fair, I tripped,” said Charles.
“Serves you right, for calling me a slowcoach,” I laughed
The swing began to sail higher into the air. In the far distance, I could see the delicate white sails of some yachts sailing on the lake and a motorboat sped by, creating a wake on the water. The waves became larger and larger and made a family of ducks, bob up and down in the water.
“Ooh Charles, there are some baby ducklings,” I cried. Wiping his eyes, he raised himself up and said, “Where? Where? I can’t see them.”
“Over there,” I pointed. “Maybe we can swim out to play with them after breakfast.”
Thinking of breakfast, I began to feel hungry, I got off the swing and let Charles get on. “Give me a push Neishe!”
Something inside me wanted to say ‘No’ after all the rude things he said but, realizing it would be foolish to refuse, I gave him a little push. He began to swing his little legs up and down so that the swing would go higher.
“Funny how different we look.” I thought. “He’s got curly black hair, blue eyes with lovely curly black eyelashes, and he’s a little podgy. I have straight dark brown hair and eyes like a horse and I am so thin that my bones stick out at the joints.”
“Breakfast’s ready.” Daddy cried.
“I’m starving! Lets go inside.” I left Charles there on the swing and rushed into the house. Daddy caught me, lifted me up in his arms and gave me a big kiss.
“Up bright and early aren’t you,” he laughed. “Come on Charles, Helene’s made you both a Swiss breakfast.”
Curious to see what a Swiss breakfast was, I went into the dining room. A pretty red and white checked tablecloth covered the table. A blue vase of pansies, yellow, mauve and violet, decorated the table. A breakfast set from France was laid out on the table – white, shining plain, but elegant, china. I gazed at the bread plate and a large coffee cup filled with cafe au lait, and wondered what this strange looking cereal was that filled the bowl before me. It didn’t look like cornflakes.
“What this?” I asked.
“Muesli,” Helen answered. “In Switzerland they eat oatmeal raw with chopped nuts and raisins and fresh fruit. It’s good for you, try it.”
“Do I pour milk on it?” I asked.
She nodded and so I carefully lifted the milk jug and poured the milk on the muesli. The milk looked different too. I always wondered why the milk tasted different in each country. The milk we had had in France and Spain had also tasted strange at first and had taken me a little time to get used to it. It seemed a mystery to me as the cows and the grass looked almost the same. The muesli was good, a little crunchy and very filling. I felt as if I was eating a lot of things bursting with energy.
“Maybe this will make me run faster,” I thought. But unfortunately this was wishful thinking, as my legs never seemed to go as fast as I wanted to.
The four of us sat quietly sat quietly eating our breakfast. All we could hear was the chirping of a flock of house sparrows that were having a meeting in a nearby tree. Listening to their cheerful chattering made me want to go outside. I finished my muesli quickly and asked if I might get down from the table.
“After breakfast I was thinking maybe we could go next door to Mr. Johnston’s house. He wants to meet you,” said Daddy “and he has a wonderful swimming pool in his garden.”
“Can’t we swim in the lake?” I said. I didn’t really want to meet anybody. It was just so nice to be alone together with the birds and with Daddy after such a long time.
“Well, we could, but he so wants to meet you. He’s such a nice old gentleman. He used to be a famous Charleston dancer you know,” Daddy said.
“Ok,” I agreed, ”maybe he could teach me to dance. I’d love to learn the Charleston, but don’t lets stay too long. I just want to be all the time with you.”
“Ok, princess, but there’s plenty of time to be with me,” he laughed. “You are going to be here a month, and your mother has promised me that from now on, you and Charles can come here to Switzerland for half of every summer vacation. Also I promise that I will come and see you in Jersey sometimes.”
Happy to hear that, Charles and I went to change into our swimming costumes. Mine was a new one with tropical flowers on it. We went to meet Daddy in the garden. The sparrows were still hopping on the branches of the chestnut tree. Taking each one of us by the hand, he led us through the hole in the hedge and into the garden next door. The house next door was much grander looking than ours. The walls were white stucco, a little Italian-looking, and the house had two storeys. Climbing roses were creeping up the salmon pink painted walls around the garden. A tall thin gentleman with white hair and a moustache came out to meet us. Impeccably dressed in a Navy blue blazer and cream trousers with a straw boater, he held out his hand and I took it and curtsied.
“How do you do. You must be Venetia. What charming manners you have,” he said.
I blushed. I don’t know what made me curtsey to him that day, but something about his stature and way of dressing had suggested to me that he was special and so deserved to be curtsied to. My mother had always made me curtsey to special guests ever since I had been a bridesmaid at my Godfather’s wedding ceremony in London.
I can never forget that day at the wedding reception. I was walking through the guests trying to find my mother, when some hot cigarette ash fell on my bare arm. Bursting into tears, I started crying. The Queen Mother just happened to be there and came to comfort me. Not realizing who she was and being totally upset by the painful burn, I of course forgot to curtsey! The next day I was on the front page of the papers with the headline “The Queen Mother wipes away the little girl tears.” Some photographer had taken a picture of me crying at the wedding reception!
As those memories flashed by in my mind, I told him the story. I stared up at Mr. Johnston’s kind face and asked him, “Are you really a famous dancer?”
I had started ballet lessons a few months before and had become completely enamored with music and dance.
“Why yes little lady, I was one of the craziest dancers in all America,” he answered.
“Would you be kind enough to teach me?” I asked.
“Why sure, I’d be delighted. Come inside and I’ll put on some music.”
He led us all into the grand drawing room. It was filled with tropical potted plants, Chinese lacquer furniture and strange abstract oil paintings that were hanging on the walls. He rummaged around his records and took out two ancient looking long playing LP records. When he put one of the records on the player, it began to crackle as it always does with old records. Then the cheerful sound of the Charleston began to creep out of the speakers and he began to dance. Although he was old in years, his legs moved like a young man. Taking my right hand, he began to show me the steps. I followed him over and over again, until I remembered the steps perfectly. Then he let my hands go and he began to wave his fingers from side to side like dancing bananas. I tried to imitate him, but my fingers would not go loose with the rhythm, only my thumbs would move. For years after, I kept practicing what he had taught me that day and even now, when I hear Charleston music playing, I always remember Mr. Johnston with his magical hands and dancing feet.
Laughing, we quickly became friends. Daddy tried to join in and dance too, but he looked like a dancing elephant and, having caught a glance of himself dancing in the mirror, embarrassed and puffing, he decided to sit down. Charles went to sit on his knee and whispered into his ear, “Let’s leave them to it and go swimming.”
My father got up and went outside with Charles to the pool in Mr. Johnston’s garden and we continued to dance, forgetting about the time. We went on and on, and he taught me some more steps and we practiced them over and over again.
After a while, hot and exhausted, he took me down to the pool in the garden. A beautifully kept green lawn surrounded the pool and the flowerbeds were filled with many summer perennial flowers stretched out on each side. At the end of the garden there were many sweet smelling rose bushes. The strong scent of the old roses attracted many beautiful butterflies to the garden, so I spent some time watching them. In my new bathing costume, I gingerly stepped into the pool and began to swim with a rubber ring around me, to keep me afloat. The cool blue water soaked into me, as I was very hot after all that dancing. Suddenly two huge dogs jumped into the pool! Petrified I swam to the ladder at the side and tried to get out.
“Don’t worry! It’s only Susie and Annie, they’re quite gentle” said Mr. Johnston.
Looking up I saw two huge black Great Danes grinning at me. My heart beating fast, I watched them swimming around in the pool. Charles seemed to be quite unperturbed by their arrival and kept swimming and playing with Daddy. Trying not to show fear I slowly swam around the pool, afraid that the dogs would jump on me at any minute. Susie began to follow me and I felt her nose nudging my feet. Terrified, I swam as fast as I could till I reached the steps and climbed out of the pool. With a sigh of relief I watched the dogs go in another direction. I quietly decided that from now on, I would stick to swimming in the lake!
The sun began to get brighter and higher in the sky. Daddy come over and sat down beside me and said, “Princess, you must be hungry, shall we go home and see what Helene has made for lunch?”
I took his hand and he lifted me up and we went through the hole in the hedge again back to our garden. Helene was quietly laying the table under the parasol in the shaded part of their small patio garden. The midday sunlight was making patterns on the granite path. She brought out plates full of ham, Gruyere cheese and potato salad and baguettes of French bread. After all the dancing and swimming I was ravenously hungry and so hurriedly made myself a sandwich. I stretched my mouth as wide open as possible to take a bite out of the sandwich. The crispy French bread filled with ham and cheese made me remember the tale of Heidi. I looked over the lake towards the tips of the snow-blanketed mountains on the other side of Lake Leman. The glaciers were shining and glittering in the noonday sun. Thinking that there must be a little girl like Heidi somewhere tending her goats in the hills, I wondered if she was maybe eating the same lunch as I was.
The days passed swiftly. Helene could drive a car and so we went for picnics around the lake or on outings to the town of Montreux with its magnificent old castle, Chateau Chillon. My father never drove, so on the days that nothing was planned, we would go for long walks along the riverside or over to the nearby village of Hermance. There were so many quaint buildings there, that we could go and explore. Sometimes we would stop at an old café and take a rest and talk together before we returned to the house. We also often went to visit Helene’s parents who were both Russian. During the time of the Russian revolution her parents, who were aristocrats, had fled Russia and her father, whom we called Uncle Fred, was now a painter and he lived in Geneva with his wife called Moonchick. They were both very kind to us, treating Charles and I as if we were their own grandchildren. Coming back home, we usually changed into our swimming costumes and raced to the bottom of the garden. From the little wooden jetty, we’d run along and then jump into the lake. Little by little, with encouragement from Helene, I was learning to swim.
I never went again to Mr. Johnston’s pool, but would sometimes go over by myself and ask him to put on a Charleston record. The music would make my feet dance and I dreamed of ladies in the Swinging Twenties who would dance the Charleston dressed in low-waist beaded dresses, cloche hats and long strings of pearls. Mr. Johnston told me stories of some of the actresses he had danced with and some of the romances he had had. He’d been a bachelor all his life for he had never quite found the right girl for him, so he told me.
By now Helene and I had become good friends. Like Dingding, she was easy to talk to and she was never too tired to listen or to answer our many questions. Helene also liked to dance, she would sometimes put on a record of Russian folk songs and start dancing like the Cossacks of Russia. I would join in and dance with her, but after a few dances we both became exhausted and could not stop laughing together! I really grew to love Helene as she was always so serene and happy.
The end of summer sadly came. I cried and cried when I had to say goodbye to both of them. I felt that my father and Helene were very well suited to each other. She was always full of love and laughter and I never heard a cross word come between them. I felt that my father was very lucky to have met her. I don’t remember either of them ever getting really angry with us. They were firm but they never raised their voices. We said goodbye and sadly flew back to Jersey.