“Ah, yes,” she says, taping the old photograph, “that’s my father’s shop. The awning was green and, look, you can see Bevan’s Greengrocery painted on the window. Those boxes outside were heavy but I used to stack them and arrange the display.”
“When you were a child?”
“I wasn’t afraid of hard work,” she says proudly.
“And do you remember the shops either side?”
“I remember the whole street. Mr Davison the fishmonger was next door. Lovely fish, caught fresh every day and brought up from the docks. Mrs Cuthbert’s dress shop was the other side. Far too expensive for the likes of me,” she says, leaning closer, “but Mrs Cuthbert made me a dress for my tenth birthday. Lemon, it was. Beautiful.”
She cleans her glasses and rubs her eyes then, reinstating the eyewear, points to a corner of the photograph. “We lived over here, two streets down behind the high street. A two-up, two-down red brick terrace with a yard out back. Small but cosy,” she says, with a wink.
“Fascinating. And what about this?” I hand her a coloured Polaroid. “Do you recognise this?”
“Hmm…” she nods, “taken in Blackpool.”
“One of my favourite places.”
For a moment, my heart leaps. “And the people? Do you remember them?”
She studies the faces then slowly shakes her head, not a flicker of recognition in her watery eyes.
“Are you sure? You remembered them last week.”
“Did I?” She looks up, frown replacing her smile. “Are they your family?”
“Yes,” I reply, a tear trickling down my cheek.