(Here is a short story I wrote fourteen years ago in memory of my great-aunt Bessie. I have re-published it to give some background to the London Jewish walks I will be recommencing, starting on March 6th)
It was significant that Bessie's birthday this year fell on Passover, as her story was as much a triumph over adversity as her forbears' celebrated release from bondage. As was customary, the extended family were gathered, a pyramid of generations, with Bessie at the apex and a multitude of tiny ones, crammed at opposite ends of a table that grew healthily each year. It was also customary to invite a stranger to the seder table and this year Bessie had intrigued us with an elderly gentleman, apparently a friend from the day centre, who was sitting politely and quietly to her left, next to Sadie, my mother. I was there as family scribe. To me she had entrusted her many secrets and to me she had given the responsibility to tell them, well all bar one, anyway.