Family occasions are sadly a rare occurrence today

You could hear it before you entered. The excited squeals and chatter of small children, and the front door had the birthday boy’s event emblazoned across it.

The cars half on the pavement, announced that all the main guests had arrived. We entered into a sea of noise and laughter.

The children from both families had made the journeys from Somerset, Lancashire and Birmingham.

Both sets of grandparents were renewing old memories, and the birthday boy, surrounded by family, friends and neighbours was beaming fit to burst. It’s not often that all the family can get together, with so many grandchildren on both sides, and work commitment by the adults. It was a rare moment to be savoured.

Our daughter had laid on a magnificent table, with food and snacks that only emerge at such events, and as the children all helped themselves, the adults swapped family stories, caught up on events, and the two grandads exchanged notes on their service life, from Norway to Hong Kong. The ladies, as ladies do, chatted about their other halves, their children, and the latest fads and fancies that seem to dominate working mums.

All in all, a pleasant long afternoon in convivial company, and with all the children mixing together in games and the general subdued mayhem that is present at such events, we happily experienced a family event that was very common years ago. Now today in 21st century Britain, it’s something of a rarity.

As a lad, Sundays in the East End, where married family members lived but minutes away from each other, I was always at the grandparents house, uncles and aunties, nieces and nephews all met up.

The adults chewed the fat, and us kids ran amok.

Now today some 60 years later, it’s very rare for big families, now spread all over the country, to get together.

This one happy get together, cemented bonds that had almost been broken by time and distance, but for several hours on a damp cold autumnal Sunday in the Black Country, adults and children alike came together to celebrate our eldest grandson’s 16th birthday, a celebration of family.

Ties that will never be broken.

Tony Levy


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