Tales my Great Aunt told me. 2: fame and infamy.

Thorne Moore

My colourful great aunt in Cardiff passed on many tales about my Welsh family, and I quickly concluded, even as a child, that they were mostly fairy tales. Her stories did not begin with “Once upon a time,” and end with “They all lived happily ever after.” They were more hints, a word or sentences dropped, with a knowing look, raising all sorts of questions which she then declined to answer, because “curiosity killed the cat.”

One that she particularly enjoyed involved a suggestion of scandal, although she would never say what the scandal was. One of my great-grandfathers was called Samuel Perry, but she claimed that the name had originally been Parry and the family had been obliged to change it. Why? She wouldn’t say but she let it be understand that it had been necessary in order to avoid some unspecified notoriety.

Years later, when I got sucked…

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