Group meeting 2012

Wednesday 25 April 2012 - hosts Sundorne to Shrewsbury east group.  Speaker the humourous Jen Green who spoke about her:

Racy Aunt May

Jen Green’s Aunt May died last month at the age of eighty-three. Jen describes her aunt as the glamour element in her family—a stunningly beautiful and bubbly woman who became a nude life model when she was in her 40’s and was still able to attract the attention of gentlemen callers into her 80’s…

One of Jen’s fondest memories of her Aunt May is from three years ago. "I can remember taking her to Bournemouth for her 80th birthday and it happened to be a weekend that the Royal Airforce Association were having a massive reunion. We got ready and came down for a drink before dinner and the bar was full of RAF types and, the minute she walked in they stopped and looked at her and for about an hour and a half she was engaged in deep conversation with them all and they were absolutely rapt. It was a remarkable moment."

May used to visit Jen’s mother’s family for short breaks during the war. "She would arrive and just bring colour to a drab, war-time day. She was always glamorous…even to the end of her life." As soon as she would arrive the local servicemen would come and call for her to take her to dances. They would always bring the children chocolate bars and candy, so it was always in their interest to make sure that Aunt May was able to go out. "I think her service to the forces should have been awarded with a purple heart or something. Of course, we realise now perhaps we were selling her for our sweets ration!"

May held many jobs, including working in the cotton mills and being a bus conductor, but when she was in her 40’s she decided that she wanted a change of direction. "All her life she had read well, she loved paintings and exhibitions, and she saw a vacancy for a life model at the Bolton College of Art and applied for it. And for something like 29 years, stayed with them as their regular model, modelling in the nude. I’m told from those that painted her that she was excellent."

May was not against to a little political agitation as well. During her modelling career she was heavily involved in the 1970’s nude models strike, campaigning for better rates of pay following the introduction of new laws allowing models to move and pose in different positions. "When they changed the law for artist models, she felt that they now deserved a pay raise and called a strike which became almost a national strike. She gloried in that. She thought it was great that she took them on and she won."

Late last autumn, Jen received a package from May with a notebook recounting various aspects of her life and listing names and telephone numbers of her former lovers…27 in all in the book. May asked Jen to contact them all after she died to inform them of her passing.

When May died last month, Jen set about contacting the men named in the book. "I then spoke to them and informed them that May had died and there were deep regrets. There was a lot of sadness and it became very clear that the lovers who turned up at the funeral particularly, I think there were 11 or 12 of them, had looked after her throughout her life. She still maintained this contact with them."

Before her death, May made all the arrangements for her funeral--including instructions as to what she would be wearing and how she would arrive at the church (in the very best car the funeral directors could arrange). "Before the coffin lid was closed for the final time, she had to be sprayed with Channel No. 5." May was only going once and she was determined to go out in style



A crown fit for a queen'

The competition 'A crown fit for a queen' was judged by the speaker Jen Green.

First the blue topped crown on the left, second the crochet red/white/blue crown

Frankwell entries by Carol Wolfe: the crown of flowers on a ring and Christine Greaves: a crown bundt cake with jewels