Time for a little background stuff now visitors. A look into the young Johnny’s family history. And we start in the late fifties at Skegness beach. From the left we have Johnny’s great aunt Gertrud, a troubled soul with a taste for WWII Nazi military effects and post war Berlin trivia. Standing is Johnny’s mother in her young days and sitting on the ground is a young Mabel. Next is Johnny’s grandfather, Conrad, a man so under his wife’s thumb that one hardly heard him speak unless told to by Johnny’s grandmother, Bertha , the substantial woman to the right with a firm grip on her handbag.
As you can see the grown up stick to the time honoured practice of totally avoiding getting sun on 90 % of their bodies. leaving most of their skin looking like sour skimmed milk seen through the sheerness of a condom.
Johnny’s grandfather and his sister are as their name might indicate of German decent, something that didn’t make the family all that popular in the post war years. Gertrude’s fascination with Nazi memorabilia and the decadent Berlin thirties did nothing to dampen this lack of popularity.
As you can see, Mabel was a rather shy child. Who would have thought that, but her mother, Bertha, was a kind of woman that absorbed about 97 % of the family’s attention, deliberately I may add. She had a voice they could have used as an air raid siren and the personality of a hippopotamus with a severe toothache. Besides, she had a right hook that could knock a grown man into the intense care unit and permanent coma.
Anyone who has been to an English sea side resort knows that one of the entertainments organized for the working classes the frequent such places is ‘dress up` competitions. The only one in the family to participate while the family was in Skegness was of course Bertha, who simply told the rest of the family that if they dared to rain on her parade they had to take the consequences. They wisely joined the audience.
Bertha dressed, as you can see, up as Josephine Baker. She had just heard of Bakers costume, never seen any pictures of it, so this was the best she could do. Needless to say she did not win. On the other hand, a male competitor pinched her bottom and she knocked him unconscious to the audience’s great enjoyment.
Well, this was a little glimpse into young Johnny’s family background. I hope this makes you look at our aunt Mabel with kinder eyes from now on. More family background will be posted at a later point in time – Ted