Marj

At the end of July a last link with my grandfather’s generation passed away. Marj was born in 1918 and was nearly twenty years younger than her big brother, my grandfather. They all lived in Tonbridge in Kent and at one time Marj lived quite close to Grandad and so we used to see her quite often. Then, as happens, families can move apart geographically and drift apart socially a bit as well.  But I got to know Marj again in the last twenty years and what a lovely, cheerful lady she was. She was full of life, fun and family stories which I was eager to snap up. Several family get togethers in those last twenty years have been enlivened by Marj.

And she’d have enjoyed her funeral – for yes, it was as enjoyable as such events can be. First of all, Marj had demanded that black was not to be worn at her funeral. It’s amazing how that turned what could have been a stiff and formal occasion into a much more relaxed affair.

The service was held in St Stephens Church in Tonbridge. This has witnessed many a family occasion including the wedding of my grandparents back in 1920. But oddly, it was the first time I ever went in the church.

It sits on quite a busy road junction just to the south of the town centre.

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I don’t suppose my grandad, who died in 1968, would have recognised the interior. It has been modernised. I never knew it any other way, but I thought the space was very stylish and amongst other ‘luxuries’ there are toilets, quite a swish kitchen and I noted the ability, if wanted, to use computer projection. Comfortable chairs have replaced pews. I liked it.

We were able to look inside well before the service was due to start.

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The service was a mix with traditional religion and a lovely eulogy and other memories given by Marj’s daughter in law and granddaughter.

The burial was in the town’s cemetery where many another family member, is also interred.

And after there was a wake which was full of joy and fun.

But let’s look at Marj.

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Marj married Les in 1937 (at St Stephens) and here we see the wedding party after the marriage. Les and Marj have been dubbed ‘the trendiest couple in Tonbridge’. Just behind Marj are her parents, my great grandparents and, of course, other family members are in that shot too.

This next picture was what you might call the photo of honour at the funeral.

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Many of us had not seen this photo before and we were all struck by family resemblances. This could have been my Aunty Vera, My mum, My Aunty Valerie or even my sister. But no, it was Great Aunt Marj.

Marj, you live on in our memories.

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