We were soon to move from the estate but there was one last big event to occur prior to leaving. Gina, Sylvie’s eldest daughter, aged 16 and heavily pregnant, got married.
On several occasions over the years, Sylvie would comment on the fact that the man Gina married probably was not the father of this child. Gina had been seeing Jim, a man a few years older than herself, who had a good job in the printing industry. Finding that she was pregnant, he had stood by her and married her, unaware of any of the rumors.
Although I was too young to remember the wedding, I could only have been two years and a few months old, I have vivid images in my head of the day, possibly ingrained due to the numerous photos I have seen and descriptions from Sylvie.
It was a bright spring day and Gina, although heavily pregnant, looked wonderful. As fashionable at the time, she wore a white lacy mid-thigh length dress, with long sleeves and high neck, white pointed winkle picker type shoes with a small heel. Her red hair was piled in a soft beehive and she carried a round posy of red roses, festooned with white ribbons trailing down.
Sylvie’s other two daughters and I were bridesmaids and wore simple, just above knee length, shift type dresses of deep red velvet, with short capped sleeves and round necks. On the bottom half of the dresses were stitched occasional coin sized lace white daisies.
On top of my now white blond curls was a coronet of white roses, the same as Sylvie’s younger daughter and all three bridesmaids carried a posy of white roses, this time with red ribbons. Her second daughter now age fourteen wore her hair similar to Gina and acted as her chief bridesmaid.
I have to give all credit to Sylvie for the turnout of her daughters as all the dresses, including Gina’s, were made by her. She had spent several weeks, up late every night, cutting, sewing and stitching and with obvious skill, ensuring that the outfits were elegant and well made. Determined that she would be show her in laws to be that her family was properly turned out and despite Gina’s pregnancy she had nothing to be ashamed of.
Unfortunately, for some reason, I adamantly refused to smile for the photographs and in all of them I am seen scowling at the camera or hiding my face, no matter how much cajoling and promises of sweets were made.
Maybe it was a premonition of things to come.