England Part VI

Not mentioned in the five England blogs before this one–all about my visit back to the Walberswick village in Suffolk from my youth–are the ghosts of two elderly influential women relatives: Grandmother and Anna Freud.

Grandmother was the person sort of hiding in the background of our village life, but the person who pulled strings. At first living just three cottages down and across the street from ours, her presence was “in the air.” Later, she moved into a more ample house at the end of a sidestreet near The Anchor.

We were invited to garden parties at her cottage, rather constrained gatherings; with the stronger hidden yanks coming from Grandmother’s live in companion, Anna Freud. For, if we were trying to please Grandmother, it was Grandmother who was trying to please Anna Freud. In any case, the parties felt like false performances; something we HAD to participate in. We would have much rather been on our own having fun in the village.

But, Grandmother was Dad’s mother. She had bought our cottage for relatives. She owned it, so to speak…in that way, we owed her the time of removing our jodhpurs and adorning ourselves with dresses (my sisters and mother), or smart shorts and ironed shirts (my bothers). My father, if memory serves, could get away with his same old brown corduroy jacket. He could get away with a lot!

Anna Freud is, of course, The Anna Freud, the daughter of Sigmund Freud. It was really Grandmother who was Anna’s live-in friend and companion, Grandmother who had become a colleague of Anna’s back in Vienna, Austria before WWII, not the other way around.

You see this trip back to the magical village of Walberswick is not as simple as it looks; for it has a strong undertow.