There was obviously a deeply held resentment towards her father and her step-mother – Evie. Sylvie was stubborn and and hot headed, similar to her father, leading to great difficulties in their relationship.There was also frequent arguments between Sylvie’s father and Evie and Sylvie would relate stories of these to us when growing up. On one occasion Evie had left him and he had spotted her in the local Co-op store and proceeded to chase her around the shop. Evie was running around shrieking , with both of them chasing up and down the aisles and popping their heads up and down like meerkats trying to see where the other one was. Describing these scenes with full actions and shrieks to demonstrate, Sylvie would have us in stitches.
The fact that Evie was always immaculately dressed and made up, having her hair washed and set at the hairdressers every week without fail caused further resentment. The vague memories I have of Evie are of her being slim and well dressed with dark, highly coiffured and heavily lacquered hair piled on top of her head, thick, heavy make-up, dark painted eyebrows and heavily mascaraed lashes. I must have only been very young but thoughts of her always bring to mind the image of a big, black crow, maybe influenced by all the dark hair, eyelashes and eyebrows and possibly enhanced by Sylvie’s dark opinion of her. Despite the spending on clothes, hair and make-up, within the home it was a very different story as, although the home was kept spick and span, she was extremely frugal. Sylvie would relate to us how Evie could buy the smallest piece of meat but made it last for many days; “She’d cut it so bleeding thin that if a gust of wind blew in it would blow it right off the sodding plate! Tight as a f*****g duck’s arse she was.” It has to be stressed here that Sylvie swore like a trooper, something that could cause great amusement and laughter but at other times extreme horror and embarrassment, depending on the situation.
Growing up, I was to hear these and many other related stories and invariably they would end with Sylvie declaring, “I can’t wait to dance on that f*****g old cow’s grave!”
In contrast, Sylvie had deeply loved her mother and was obviously devastated by her death. She would spend endless hours telling stories of how her mother had looked after her, her brother and sister and her father, cooking, cleaning and feeding them well, nursing her father back to health when he had suffered TB.