died yesterday at the Whittington Hospital in North London. She was 88. A few years ago I sort of coaxed her into writing some memoirs; I'd send her questions and she'd answer them and I typed the pages up for her afterwards. I'd had some idea beforehand of making a little book for other people in the family, but of course as soon as I read what she'd written--it was as scathing and unsentimental as she always was in conversation--I realized it was completely unsuitable! But I've just been rereading it and thinking about her and thought I'd post a little taste of it, just for the flavor. This is her description of her sister (Oliver and Phil are the brothers):
Margaret: where to start? We never really got on. I think her nose was put out of joint by my birth, eight years after hers. She and Oliver were very naughty as children though they had a nurse-governess for the three. She was difficult when she was growing up and did no good at Sidcot School (co-ed). As I remember her she was always lounging about in men’s trousers smoking in the holidays. She was very sharp and unkind, jealous and trouble-making. Not a good start. When she left school she trained as a potter at Oxshot in Surrey. After this she was sent to psychoanalysis, not that it did much good. I don’t know why she was sent. This sums up the family. Nobody knew what the others really thought about each other and their friends.
Margaret spent her years up to the war being a potter and embroidering things: underwear, bedspreads, etc. She had a horrid little dog called Simon. When the war came and she had to be called up she joined the Friends Voluntary Service (Quakers) and was sent to India. All this after I was married. What she did there I don’t know but she eventually met George Stewart (she really wanted some other chap) and sent a cable to say she was marrying him. This in April or May 1945. Consternation with mother and Phil raging about. As she had tried any amount of chaps and they had cooled off this seemed good to me. After all she would have only come home otherwise and been at Sidcot again rubbing them up the wrong way.
She was a most excellent person, kind and a good listener and with an excellent sense of humor. I will miss her.