Family | Nostalgia | Regrets

A Mystery Photo of My Dad from 1934 Reminds Me of Visiting His Sister

I wish I knew what happened to her

Alan AJ
5 min readNov 28, 2023


The back of an old photo that says, “Chester 1934”
The back of my dad’s old photo from 1934. Author’s own photo library

Thanks to Lu Skerdoo who wrote a story about the “old days” that got me thinking about my old family photos.

Making an effort

For years, I did little more than exchange Christmas cards with some relatives.

My parents were no longer alive when my wife became ill in 2010, and I felt quite alone. That prompted me to get back in touch with my dad’s youngest sister, Jessie.

She was in her mid-80s, and we ended up visiting her a few times.

Still the same

I was surprised that Jessie’s house seemed largely unchanged since my childhood.

There were two holes in the bottom of her living room door, about 1 3/4" in diameter. I remember seeing them as a child, and I never figured out what they were for.

Her bathroom upstairs had a toilet in the corner with a high-level cistern. To flush it, you had to pull a long chain.

It was such a strange feeling to use that same bathroom again all those years later, and pull what looked like the same chain. The room had barely changed since my childhood.

Her late husband used to make things out of wood. I remember him giving me a radio, and the topper on the telescopic aerial being a piece of wood he’d shaped and varnished. I’m sure the extension speaker box for the record player they lent me during childhood was made by my uncle, too.

Their garden was full of decorations and gnomes in the 1970s and 1980s. My memory is hazy but I think there was a tiny windmill with a little figure that would pedal when the wind blew.

Even though the garden was less cluttered, there was still an archway at the front that I remembered from childhood.

Their living room always used to have numerous brass ornaments, and a few were still there during our visit. Jessie said how her husband used to love things made of solid brass. He would say, “That’s solid bloody brass that is, you know!”



Alan AJ

Random life stories, opinions, and a dry sense of humour. A 55-year-old former electronics engineer and programmer in England. Previously 'Autistic Widower'.