Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Marge, Lal and Moo

My two great aunts, Marge (Marjorie) and Lal (Charlotte), and my maternal grandmother, Moo (Muriel), gossiped terribly when they were together. But if two of them were present, then they gossiped about the one who wasn't.

Here are a couple of things I recall them saying when I was a kiddie. I always liked to listen to adult conversations and was admonished more than once for listening in.

Moo: I ran into your sister at the fishmongers in Portman Street last Friday. She was wearing slacks.

Marge: Slacks? Lal was wearing slacks?

Moo: She was. Made her looked skinnier than ever. Some cheap synthetic fabric. (I actually recall the slacks. They were crimpilene? with a horizontal bands down the length of them.)

Marge: You don't think she is trying to look modern to get another bloke do you Moo? Think she would have had enough of men after the no good rotter of hers Jimmy drank himself to death.

Moo: I wouldn't put it past her. Slacks at her age indeed.

Marge: Here she is. A taxi! She is just around the corner and there she riding around in taxi cabs. Where does she get the money?

So it sounds like they were aligned against Auntie Lal. Not so. They were aligned against whoever wasn't there.

Moo: Marge's Studebaker is looking old.

Lal: Expect they will buy a Fairlane next. Moo, those people who pick you up and take you church in their Mercedes, is that a nice car?

Moo: Too small. It is hard to get in and out of. Your sister is such a skite. Lucky she married Bobby with all that money.

Lal: And a show off. Have you seen her fancy old reproduction telephone? The handpiece must weigh a ton.

Moo: Bobby P has let her get away with everything. She was spoilt as a child and has been ever since.

Lal: Your Bertie did ok. You have a nice house. Not like me on a War Widows pension.

Enter Auntie Marge from the Studebaker just pulled up in the driveway.

Marge: Moo, your blinds (Roman festoons) are rotting away. I can see it from the outside. And your stove Moo, does it actually work? (it did, but barely) For goodness sake Moo, spend some money on yourself. Fix things up.

Moo: Bertie says we have to be careful with our money.

Marge: You two are impossible. We are in the nineteen sixties. You need to be more modern.

Lal: I know what it like to lose a husband. Your Bobby is looking very thin. You spending money like a woman with no arms must worry him.

Moo makes supportive noises.

Marge: Moo, this is such a lovely cup, but it needs a good scrub. And Moo, can't you see all the runs down your kitchen cupboards? Honestly Moo, you have always been hopeless. Ah well, your magnolia looks very nice. Do you get a man in to mow?

Lal: So how is Beverly (Marge's daughter) going now she is divorced?

This is a kind of a compilation of various conversations I overheard. My grandmother, Moo, is long dead. Lal died a couple of years ago, after a period of dementia. Marge is still going and in her nineties in her own place in Berwick. I am not sure if anyone would have told Auntie Marge about my step father dying, but she, like many of her age, reads the death notices in the newspaper meticulously and so it won't surprise me to see her at the funeral later today.


  1. Ahh, those gossipy conversations over-heard by ankle biters were good entertainment when the adults forgot you were there lol.

  2. I used to love listening in to those snipey conversations between adults when I was a child. These three dames sound like good value! I mean, slacks... really?

  3. Some would call it backbiting, others gossip. I prefer to think of it as diplomacy. My family aren't so subtle. They just call each other c***s to their faces.

  4. LOL, you have brought up a subject I had long forgotten. My Grandfather was one of 9 chilcdren, 7 of them were women..and they did love to natter so. I remember it as a child in their run down old home in North Melbourne. Well, just old, not really run down, more of...on a slant I would say, with floors that had an extra 13 layers of linoleum layed down. Not to keep up with fashion...just to cover what was flooded each time it rained there, lol.
    Poor old Auntie Coral, and Aunt Maisy, they lived on at the place with my Great Grandmother affectionately known as Nanna Nu (her name was actually Mabel). Coral would sleep all day long. Aunt Maisy and my grandma would speak about her all day long until she woke up. Then they'd all speak about some other sister or cousin... made me laugh. I was sent out back with the cockatoo "Macca" many a time.
    "Children should be outside..." and they went on. It is ok, Macca used to swear and us kids would love it..he was so naughty!

    Meticulous readers of the death notices, yes, it is why many of my patients buy the paper I know. The man who comes into our cafeteria every day of the year because we saved his life also does the same. But..with a different spin on it. He does not look for other people's notices, he looks for his own name in it! He has found it before you know, I kid you not, I was there and witnessed it with my own eyes, lol.

    Thinking of you and yours today Andrew. Such a warm one for a funeral too.

  5. oh Hot Andrew I love it that you remember all that when Copperwitch is currently failing to recall what Norma Tullo dress she wore to the work xmas party in 1967.
    My mother and her 2 sisters were the same - at any given time, one of them would be on the outer with the other 2. Sniping about neach other and singing too -
    Saturday afternoons they would empty a flagon of Marsala and be singing old songs before the halfway mark.
    I hope your mum went OK today - the point of a funeral is to help coping with the loss.

  6. I had visions of Dorrie and Herb in Number 96 whilst reading this post.

  7. And do we take care what we say around kids Jayne? Probably not.

    Nice to be honest when you are among family Brian.

    Cazzie, that should have been a post on your own blog. Great. And one Aunt, Lal, kept a galah for many years. Nasty thing it was.

    Ann, I bet CW remembers a particular bloke from that occasion though.

  8. Mutant, I reminded her daughter about the slacks yesterday. She said, oh God, Mum and her pant suits.

  9. It was a bit like that Victor.

  10. Anonymous8:22 am

    Your lot sound like right characters!

  11. A scene from the long running play co-written by Oscar Wilde, Armistead Maupin, David Williamson and Matt Groening.

    Nicely observed (E&OE)and related, Shirl.

  12. Jackie, although I was Presbyterian, there seems to be a lot of Methodists in my family.Very self righteous and critical.

    I would have worked it more quickly if I had have had a drink LS. E&EOE beats me though.

  13. 'Errors and Omissions Excepted' - that coverall clause on invoices and accounts (in this case, ('accounts of things').

  14. Anonymous7:33 pm

    So, did Auntie Marge make it along?

    My 91 year old Nan still loves a good gossip. She sometimes gets off-track though. For example, she's now convinced that her gardener is the illegitimate son of her first husband.

  15. She didn't MD, but Auntie Lal's daughter did, who I have not seen for twenty years and I could have sworn it was Auntie Lal, even just looking at her from behind and the way she stood.