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Open Features: How Can I Tell My Grand-Daughter That She Looks Like Wayne Rooney?

In this story Jean Cowgill poses the most difficult question of the week...the month...the year....

My grand-daughter, Louise, is the apple of my husband’s eye. Her parents live in our village not like the rest of my brood who are scattered to the four corners. I have a younger son in Canada and a daughter in Surrey. Louise was a regular visitor from birth until she left for university. My son said we saw more of her than they did. The trouble is everyone is used to double wage packets. Frank, my husband, reckons they should learn to cut their coat according to their cloth; is you can’t afford something save up or do without. I finished work when our family came along and never went back I’m pleased to say – although I did miss the girls in the typing pool.

I remember Louise sitting at the kitchen table with her feet dangling in mid air. She loved painting. I thought her work showed real promise – we used to hang her work on the fridge, kitchen door or any other available surface. Frank even made some splendid looking frames.

In the afternoons we read everything the local library could offer. I let her read my Enid Blyton books although I know they are frowned on. Sometimes Louise used to help me bake. Help? The place looked like a war zone when she had finished. Her granddad always accepted the dusky offerings with pleasure.

Of course the pattern of our days changed when she started school. We had -morning and teatime duties only as Louise loved her school dinners. Meat and potato pie with apple crumble to follow was her idea of heaven. She was always here at teatime bubbling away full of stories about the happenings of the day.

The years rolled by. When she was a teenager Louise became a latch key kid. She still came round several times a week even so. Frank used to help her with her maths. I’d been to a Technical School where I learned to do double entry book-keeping, shorthand and typing. Book-keeping has changed out of all recognition, shorthand was supplanted by audio tapes but typing remained useful when I used the computer. I do so hate to see people pecking away with two fingers. Of course Louise studied what the school called academic subjects which were beyond me.

Before we could turn round she was off to university. She never came back to the village to live. After graduation she and her fiancé moved to Leeds and both got very good jobs in a laboratory. The flat they rented looked very dingy in none too nice an area. But Louise made it bright and cheerful – she painted walls instead of pictures.

Her fiancé was nice enough but to be honest with you he was as ugly as sin. I know you should not judge a book by its cover but really I think Louise could have done better for herself. Paul was a six foot three inch rugby player who had obviously suffered one or two skirmishes in the scrum. He was bald through choice and his head looked like one of those potato men we used to construct when I was a girl. He was polite to me but the only thing we had in common was Louise. I could tell he loved her so I suppose that was enough.

They moved into a lovely semi in Adel. This was much more our style although I couldn’t be doing with city traffic. After five years Louise had a baby boy. Being a great grandma made me feel ancient. I had worried throughout her pregnancy but I need not have. The birth was easy and young Samuel Frank was a picture. He was the spitting image of his mother saints be praised. He had long dark eye-lashes and bewitching periwinkle eyes. We all had our photographs taken at the christening. Four generations but it would have been better if there had been four men for the name to be passed on. They let me hold him and he gazed up at me as though he understood everything.

So this little tale has a happy ending. Sadly not! This is where my typing skills come in handy. I can open out my heart to the computer without fear that Frank will discover my writing. He never comes near the machine. Last week Louise and Paul had their second child. When Frank developed cataracts he gave up driving so my son took us to see my great grand daughter. I was really excited. There would be little baby Louise all over again.

How I managed to conceal my feelings I do not know. Louise was feeding the baby. I could not see properly as in deference to her father and grandfather Louise had popped Ella under an outsize T shirt whilst the meal was underway. When she lifted the baby onto her shoulder I caught sight of a bald, oval shaped head. Two unfocused bleary eyes sat in what can only be described as a pugnacious face. My great grand daughter was the spitting image of Wayne Rooney. I looked across the room; Paul could never have any doubts about paternity.

So, how do I tell my grand daughter? I don’t of course. Ella needs all the help she can get. It is unfortunate that young Samuel got all the good looks going. He can charm the birds off the trees. Perhaps Sam will stay chocolate box, almost too perfect, whilst his sister changes into a swan.


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