Friday, 25 January 2013

Pamela Vincent?Burke A sort of sister for an only child

Pamela Vincent/Burke at Auckland Wintergarden
I am an only child but I am so lucky in having a sort of sister!  Pamela Vincent/ Burke is the only person I have left living who actually held me as a baby and has known me throughout my life. We shared a lot of our lives and I look on her and up to her as I would a real sister. She even asked me to be her bridesmaid while my real first cousin Gillian did not!

We met in Taplow. Mr and Mrs Vincent ran the cafe almost next door to Thamesway our house in Taplow during the war and literally saved our lives because we were able to buy extra food from them. My grandmother had a meal sent in nearly every day and Pam would sometimes bring it for her.

We played together, Mrs Vincent was a fine tennis player and nearly made it to Wimbledon only a having a baby interfered and Pam came to our famous Christmas parties in the Indian Room with Auntie Jo's  Toy Theatre. Pam was also very good at dancing especially tap at which she as good as Shirley Temple and I never mastered at all.

Margaret Vincent, Janette Miller, Honey Miller at Clifftonville 1950's

After the war the Vincents moved to Cliftonville where they ran a guest house and sadly Pam's father died leaving her mother to cope with two little girls. I spent many happy hours at Cliftonville and these holidays were the major enjoyment of the year. The happy time we spent in the lofts together. Margaret, Pam's sister and I entered all the talent competitions.  Margaret usually won with her rendition of Maybe its because I'm a Londoner. With her red hair, freckles and cockney accent she was unbeatable but I came a close second with Somewhere over the Rainbow.

Because of her talent for dance Pam won a scholarship to the Arts Educational Schools in Tring. As she had to board and Cliftonville is so far away she came to live with us for exiats. We shared my  tiny bedroom and we had such fun as Pam could teach me all the new ballet steps. Mummy took us to the ballet, Ice Pantos at Wembley, Harlem Globe Trotters, you name it.

This went on for years and I loved it. It was so nice having someone close to talk to and Pam was such a delight and was doing so well at ballet school that when my father realized that all was not well for me with the nuns he sent me to the London AES version which was the best thing that happened to me.

Again we were able to meet when Pam came to teach at London school.

We have remained friends all our lives and I hope always will. Pam now lives in Australia where she has had a fulfilling career in teaching, only being a woman stopped her from making headmistress which thanks to the likes of her is now possible.  We Skype almost everyday. One could not have had a more wonderful real sister if one looked for a millenium.

Pamela Vincent/Burke 2004

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