By Christine Windsor
They say that fact is stranger than fiction and this is all fact. When I was a little girl children were not allowed to go to Midnight Mass, my mother and sister went with neighbours, I stayed at home with my father and was sent to bed. They all used to come from Mass and have drinks and mince pies and a chat, I knew that Father Christmas would not come until all had gone quiet, what a long wait it seemed.
In 1963 we went on a touring holiday to Scotland, we stayed a few days in Dundee with a very old frienç~ of my mothers. My father being very fond of Scotland bought a picture, a view of Loch Awe, to grace the chimney breast in our newly decorated dining-room. The picture had a label on the back giving the name of the view and the name of the Art Dealers, Fraser & Sons, Commercial Street, Dundee.
In 1967 I married, shortly afterwards my parents separated and eventually divorced. I did not see my father again, I had heard he was ill but knew no more until a Solicitor rang and informed me of his recent death. I had to arrange for the clearance of his flat, there was no evidence of the Loch Awe picture, I knew he was very fond of that picture.
During the ensuing years I myself divorced, re-married and moved back to the district where I had grown up. My husband and I joined the Local History Society and I met again the neighbours from all those years ago who kept me waiting for Father Christmas.
They invited us to their home for a drink last Christmas. Mary asked about my father, I explained what had happened and how I had cleared the flat and the picture being missing.
Lawrence told us about an aunt of his who had also been a neighbour and spoke about his having to clear her house when she died. He hired two skips for the clearance on a very hot summers evening. He completed his task, being so relieved to finish he walked past the full skips not intending to keep anything, as he walked past he relented and took out one item.
We had a lovely evening, we went into the hall to retrieve our coats and go out into the cold, Mary said ‘That’s what Lawrence took from the skip, there hanging on the wall at the top of the stairs was the picture of Loch Awe. We took the picture down, there was the old label: Fraser & Sons still in tact. My father must have given the picture to Lawrence’s aunt before he left the area.
The picture now hangs in our lounge, reframed by my husband as a gift for our wedding anniversary in July. Was it intended I have the picture back after all those years — I like to think so.
Ed’s comment - Iris and I thought this was a lovely story and my thanks to Christine for sharing it with us all
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