103 today

My father in his favourite get up

No longer with us, my father loved a Christmas hat. With embellishments. I used to find it really irritating. Now I miss it.

He was the most intensely social being. When I was tiny I can remember people frequently coming round to our flat in Talgarth Road to play bridge or hearts or just for tea and cakes and cigarettes. He didn’t smoke himself, but my mother did, and he always had cigarettes and matches on him, just in case.

When he separated from my mother nothing changed. He went out a lot, with lots of different people, and prided himself on never turning down an invitation. If invited to five events in one day he would make sure he looked in on each one. I rather admired his energy. He used to take me along sometimes, always in the hope that I would meet someone nice. It didn’t happen that way, but I did meet some interesting people. He had so many friends

What I most admired about him in that respect was that he never lost touch with anybody. After the war he found and made contact with absolutely all his classmates. He could recite the register faultlessly, and he made sure that everyone kept in touch. He went to school reunions, both in Kraków where a lot of his classmates lived and once to Lwów where they all came from, and instilled in me a great sense of loyalty to school and family. His memory was phenomenal almost to the very end. His sense of humour and love of life never waned. He remarried very successfully when he was 79!!

He was the last but one I think of his class to die. He was 97. Really the end of an era.

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