Queen of the North

The London Magazine - - PATRICIA MCCARTHY -

to Aun­tie Dorothy

She was the post­card, then the sea that we com­peted to be the first to see. Yet we found her half-way up the scrubbed doorsteps of Belle Vue Street, plump from the pad­ding of our fu­ture treats.

Her skin, scented with car­bolic soap, hung like an over­all printed that fort­night with our tick­ets for shows: Harry Cor­bett and Sooty, Alma Cogan, Punch and Judy.

In the open-air theatre of Peasholm Park, she was the ac­tress that put on the dark to turn it light, and give us parts in ev­ery ma­jor scene on the wa­ter­splash, the minia­ture train. She pulled cash

from her sleeves for goes on swing­boats, chairo­planes. As heads in curlers and mops shook from win­dows, we skipped in her jol­lity, swapped rhymes with kids on the street.

For hide and seek she brought in the sea mist – then pushed it back; on the hit list for coro­nary dis­ease. The ar­che­typal aunt ev­ery­one re­quires. How we hol­i­dayed in the sta­sis of her pres­ence, yet stayed

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