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Jett Black

L ... O ... L ... A ... Lola.

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My dear mother Lola died rather suddenly when I was still a lad in short pants. Until then she'd never ever complained of feeling ill. Well not while I was present anyway. I think I must have been about eleven going on twelve. From experience I'd hazard a guess that this was the time when a boy really needed his momma. Eleven plus years isn't a very long time in the life of a pre-teen lad to get to know his mother.

I have three monochrome photographs of Lola which sit upon an old Oak Welsh dresser in my dining room. They are the only images I have of her. One is a "coming out" photo of her aged sixteen, wearing a long dress and a rose behind her right ear. Another is a wedding photograph with several bridesmaids and flower girls, and of course my dad, in front of the Cathedral in which they were married. The last one is the most interesting of the three.

It was taken on her birthday which is on 9 January. Lola is sitting in the middle of a three seater settee, with two of my sisters, Pamela and Rosemary seated on either side of her. I being the odd boy out am seated on the rug at Lola's feet.

Now we are posed before a large window and the photo was taken at night, shortly before her birthday guests starting arriving.

Above her head is this bright light and it has a sort of spooky look to it. It looks for all the world like a ball of fire with wings.

Okay, I know it's just a reflection from the flashgun on the Yashica reflex camera my dad was using. I mean what else could it have been? And hey, this is Jett the atheist speaking!

But eighteen days later on 27 January Lola collapsed and died from a stroke.

Makes you think … doesn’t it?