Thursday 12 April 2012

April A-Z blogging challenge 2012 K is for Kith and Kin

K is the next letter in this series of 26 short stories – 250 words or fewer - about Alice’s life and times.

It was John and Ivy’s 40th wedding anniversary in May, 1956. The war had been over for eleven years and rationing had finally ended two years earlier. There was a sense of excitement and optimism in the air and Ruth and Alice decided they should organise a party.

It was the first celebration the family had planned since before the war and they wanted to make it an occasion to remember. They invited John’s sister and Ivy’s brothers and their families. Daniel was reluctant to attend but Alice persuaded him it would be fun to see their cousins again. He remarked sourly that they had all survived the war intact.

With their friends there were fifty guests in all. It was fortunate the evening was warm and they could spill into the garden. Everyone was enjoying themselves; even Daniel was chatting animatedly when a tipsy aunt prodded Ruth and whispered, ‘When are you going to give Ivy some grandchildren? Mustn’t leave it too late, you know. We’ve already got five.’
Ruth went white, mumbled an excuse and ran upstairs. Alice found her sobbing in the bathroom. 

‘I’ll never have babies. We don’t . . . Daniel can’t . . . our marriage isn’t like other people’s.’ Alice rubbed her back. She had suspected something of the sort.

John and Ivy thanked them for arranging a wonderful party. Ruth smiled, ‘I’m glad you liked it.’

 Alice never felt greater love and pity for her sister-in-law than she did at that moment.


  1. Some people are so tactless.
    I'm looking forward to the next instalments.

  2. That's typical - there's always someone in the family asking embarrassing questions. One other thing - I'm glad you mentioned dates. As an American, I had no idea that rationing went on for so long after the war -into the 50s - in the UK and parts of Europe until I met my husband, who hailed from London.

  3. There is always one family member who gets drunk and says something stupid! Poor Ruth. :(

  4. Some people just are tactless, even when they don't have too much to drink! Glad to see Daniel is socializing a bit and that he and Ruth ARE still together.

  5. Heartbreaking

  6. Yeah. This is a painful subject for a lot of people. And it seems to be one that always comes up- like an open forum question relatives think is appropriate. I liked the way you dealt with it. Very sensitively written.

  7. ooh, thanks for bringing yourself to my attention. Bookmarking so I can come back later and read all the stories. Nice work!

  8. A painful tale.

    Hope you’re enjoying the challenge so far!
    --Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  9. I also chose kith and are the only other person I've come across that did far.
    Rhia from Five Minute Piece for Inspiration (about # 787 on A through Z list)

  10. What would a family gathering be without the tipsy aunt to ask the questions no one else would dare.

  11. Hi Janice .. there's certainly a build up here .. not a happy story as one person affects the others ..

    I'm enjoying it all though .. Hilary

  12. I am feeling so sad for Ruth. I just finished a book about a family after the Vietnam War so this post is resonating loud and clear in my mind.


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