I've just been reminded that I should 'honour' my stepmother today on the thirteenth anniversary of her death. Well, to be honoured one has to earn it, and this lady certainly does not fit into the category of honour.
My lasting memory of her (there's a LOT more in the book) is this very fat woman, a bag of nerves who looked like she was emulating Rob Wilton much of the time, was when she told me after I had taken flower's to my mother's grave, 'I'm your mother now!'. To which I responded, in a mild but uncaring manner, 'Like fuck you are!'
My stepmother knitted a lot, and had eyes which could take in a whole room full of people with a single glance. Frank, my beloved father-in-law (he's the one with the missing tooth) said that she had missed her vocation, and that in a previous life she could be found sitting next to the guillotine. She said of my beloved mother-in-law, pictured here next to Frank, "She'll end up in the nut-house.' Both she and Mary succumbed to Alzheimer's.
Betty was a good mother to her six children, of this there is no doubting. She just did not take to me--again, it's in the book. When I married in 1972, she, OB and my step-siblings collectively gave us six months at the most. It's been 42 years, whereas the private lives of some of those who mocked back then have left much to be desired, and that's putting it mildly.
OB--that's the grinning entity on the left, proved a good husband even while cheating on her, and a good father. His new family were too big to knock around. They knew little or nothing of his previous life as a thug, child-beater, rapist, serial cheat, thief, bankrupt, racist, homophobe, anti-Semite and general all round bad lot. They knew nothing about his secret family and other offspring, or that his first wife--mother--had committed suicide to get away from him. Again, it's all in the book.
Life with him was amongst other things like having an over-surfeit of phlegm, and now I've got it all off my chest.