Alice Ruffell

One of my favourite necklaces

She died exactly twelve years ago. My favourite aunt. My only aunt but still my favourite. Vibrant, sassy, kind and extremely self contained. She was the original who never complained, never explained.

She was born Alicja Łomnicka, in Lwów, Poland in 1936. She became Alice Ruffell when she married. The marriage didn’t last – whatever became of Uncle Dick, I wonder, but the name stayed. Some of her friends only discovered she was not English at her funeral. But I digress

She loved to give presents. After she died, and having given me the most generous present of all, her little cottage, we had to sort out her things. Her little box room, or office, was full of little packages. Mostly wrapped and labelled. Christmas presents and birthday presents for all sorts of people. Our family, children of her close friends, neighbours. Most of them had been hidden away for years. (The gifts, not the people!) She must have forgotten all about them. We distributed what we could and the rest went to charity.

But one present she did remember to give me was the necklace in the picture. She gave it to me when I was thirty – there are also earrings to match , but I don’t have them with me. It’s made of acrylic, and was quite avant garde at the time. In fact, I was quite unsure about it. But over the years I have worn it a lot. It’s faded a bit I think, which I like, and so it goes with a lot of my stuff. It is up there with my favourite objects.

I shall be wearing it today in her memory.

Here she is in the fifties. She must be about 18

7 comments on “Alice Ruffell

  1. What a lovely necklace and the photo is just beautiful. I’m so glad you had such a close relationship with her. I have some of Jadzia’s jewellery, bought when they were in the Middle East and treasure it.


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