Tag Archives: widow

1875. The old woodshed

My late husband made this woodshed many, many years ago. It was very handy, not just for the wood, but I used to pot my house plants in there as well. My husband was very patient; he didn’t mind if I made a mess with the potting mix.

Of course the woodshed has other memories too. It was where my nephew Bartholomew accidentally injured his hand while cutting up kindling to start a fire. And it was where Virgil, a ward of the State we were looking after for the summer, set fire to a pile of old newspapers and just about burnt the whole place down. Thank goodness almost everything was made of corrugated iron. And then there was the time we caught a rat in the rat trap cage and Rocky – that was my husband – was away at a work weekend and I was too scared to go near the rat cage because of the rat. So the poor thing had to stay in the cage for several days. I kept throwing a jug of water on the cage thinking if it got thirsty it could lick the droplets off the cage wire.

So now, years later, I’ve had the shed bulldozed over. It wasn’t a bulldozer; it was a big tractor with huge fork-prong things in the front. The workmen were busy on the road that goes past my house, so I went out and put my hand up in the air for the tractor to stop when I saw it coming. I said, “Look, I’m an eighty-five year old widow and I have this woodshed that I don’t use anymore because I have a heat pump, and it’s starting to get dangerous. Every time there’s a gale I think it’s going to blow over into the house. I was wondering if you could drive the tractor onto my property and push the shed over.”

He said, “Of course lady. That’s no trouble and will only take a minute. The boss doesn’t need to know.”

So he drove the tractor into the wood shed and pushed it over like it was a pile of dead leaves. I was very grateful, and then he drove off.

I was wondering; what is an eighty-five year old widow meant to do with a huge amount of corrugated iron? It’s lying all over the place and the next wind it’s going to kick up bobsy-dye.

1864. An unsolved murder

The murder of Octavius Snickenbough was in all the papers. It was in all the papers not because it was a murder (goodness knows, murders are so common these days they could hardly be considered newsworthy) but because of who Octavius Snickenbough was.

Octavius Snickenbough was the local vicar who, despite having being married to a lovely wife for many a year, had singlehandedly fathered three children on the one night, all born in the same local maternity hospital on the same day, and all registered by different mothers with the information on the father recorded as “Octavius Snickenbough, Vicar”.

It had turned Octavius overnight, on the one hand, into a folk hero, and on the other hand, into a fiend. And now, several weeks after the births his body was discovered lying murdered in the sands of the local beach. The beach was in a sheltered bay and most popular over the summer months. The sand was a mass of hundreds of footprints going in all directions, so the murderer’s footprints going to and from the body were indecipherable.

Clearly, Octavius Snickenbough had been chopped to death by a tomahawk. In fact, it was patently obvious because a tomahawk, the kind used to split firewood kindling, was still protruding from the crown of his head.

Naturally, the three mothers of the three new-borns were questioned by the police, as indeed was Octavius’s wife. None could offer any information that caste the slightest light on the situation.

This all happened several months ago, and the police are no closer to solving the mystery and making an arrest. The closed beach has subsequently reopened, and parishioners seem to rejoice in the appointment of the new vicar whose homilies are considerably shorter than those once offered by the late Reverend Octavius Snickenbough. Rather fortuitously, the new vicar has his own house, so Mrs. Snickenbough is more than welcome to continue to live in the old vicarage. After all, why should it remain empty when it is warm and welcoming, and suitable enough for a lone widow to live comfortably? The potbellied stove in the kitchen is a little old-fashioned but Mrs. Snickenbough doesn’t mind that – once she gets a new tomahawk to split the kindling.

1827. A dear husband’s passing

John always ate like a pig. He’d stuff food in his mouth and swallow it with barely a chew. That’s why after forty-two years of marriage Bernadine wasn’t the slightest bit sad when he choked to death on a pork sausage.

Don’t get the wrong idea. Bernadine mourned his passing. Her sobs at the funeral practically drowned out the droning of the vicar. At the graveside they had to hold her back from throwing herself into the hole. At the attorney’s office where the will was publicly read, Bernadine became hysterical with anguish. As one of her friends remarked to another of her friends, “It’s exhausting being around Bernadine these days as she becomes the living embodiment of grief.”

On the evening of the day of the funeral Bernadine nonchalantly dropped a delectable-looking pie into the trash. “Saved by the seat of my trousers,” she thought. “I just hope the pie doesn’t poison too many rats in the town landfill.”

1524: Funeral arrangements

The cold, hard reality was that Amelia had nothing to wear. Now was hardly the appropriate time to go shopping for clothes. It was her own fault. She had been given a good six months to think ahead, during her husband’s final illness, and now that George had passed on she still had nothing fitting to wear to his funeral.

It’s not exactly true that she had been remiss in looking ahead. She had purchased a beautiful outfit. Black. The matching hat had black lace to hide her reddened mourning eyes. The dress looked fabulous once the jade and diamond brooch had been brought out of its bank vault to see the light of day; a green and dazzling piece of jewellery that was unspeakably beautiful against the black fabric.

Unfortunately Amelia had worn that ensemble to Fiona’s husband’s funeral three weeks earlier. Amelia wouldn’t be seen dead in the same outfit twice. It was most inconsiderate of Fiona’s husband to drop off just a few weeks prior to her George.

There was only one thing for it; in the closet, Amelia had a stunning floral frock. It verged on the outrageous; it was brash, garish, loud. She had bought it to upstage everyone at her daughter’s wedding but the wedding had most fortunately been cancelled. A despicable man; and not at all good-looking.

Yes! The floral dress was the answer. Amelia hastily penned a note for the newspaper’s funeral announcement: For his funeral George requested that we wear something bright.

1496. Averill’s late husband’s wallet

Averill was described as “a petite little thing” but she had a will of steel. Once something got into her head there was no letting go. It was this bloody-mindedness that made her determined to find her late husband’s wallet.

She had gone through all the cupboards, all the drawers, even the laundry pile. She had looked under the seats in the car. She looked beneath the furniture and down the back of the sofa cushions. All to no avail.

It was now almost fourteen years since her husband had passed away. She had long forgotten about the wallet.

And then she remembered; for no reason at all she remembered. The wallet was in the back pocket of his trousers. He would still have them on. He was wearing them when she had shoved his body into the freezer after she shot him.

1484. Good grief

Lucy and Harry had some lovely everyday things. It’s not that they were super rich. They weren’t. But over forty years or so they had collected some lovely household things.

The dinner set was getting on to be thirty-five years old. They had selected it together over a period of five days, um-ing and ah-ing over dinnerware patterns. In the end, the pattern they selected was perfect; not too ornate or extravagant but just right. They had several lovely sets of crystal glasses. Of course, one or two of each set had broken over the years, but the remaining ones still sparkled. Then there was Harry’s collection of beer mugs. There were over eighty mugs. Through the years Harry’s beer mug collection had been a lifesaver when wondering what to get him for Christmas, what to get him for his birthday. Then there were ornaments on shelves around the house. Some books and trinkets, even some wooden carvings they had picked up while on a trip to Fiji.

So many things in the house! So many memories!

And then Harry died.

Life wasn’t so easy for Lucy after that. She had to watch the pennies. In fact, to make ends meet she pawned the occasional household item. The dinner set for example fetched enough to take care of a few weeks’ rent. Harry’s collection of beer mugs fetched a handsome price. All in all, such things helped Lucy to survive until the financial complications that set in after Harry’s death were sorted out. At last things were back on an even keel.

How Lucy wished she hadn’t parted with such items of memory. Yet still, they had been her survival.

With a little more spending flexibility, Lucy began to purchase a few replacements over time. She bought new dinnerware. Oh the freedom of it! She didn’t have to compromise! She could buy the pattern she most liked. Here and there she could purchase the occasional little treat – a new picture in the dining room, for example, of a plump monk wine-tasting next to a winery vat. It was ideal, but she couldn’t help but think that Harry would not have liked it: too religious he would have said. Lucy loved it.

So it was that Lucy still missed Harry, but she had discovered a new sense of freedom. A new sense of choice! A new independence!

And then she met Archibald. How things can change in a week.

1314. The black of grief

Once Bernadette had decided to murder her husband she planned it meticulously. In fact, it was rather fun. Detailed planning was Bernadette’s forte. Her husband, Wilfred, was on medication. An overdose would do the trick. The most difficult part was the grief following his inexplicable suicide. Fortunately, Bernadette was a born actress. She had brought only a small lace handkerchief to the funeral and had to borrow Malcolm’s large cotton hankie. Those in the back pew of the church could hear the sobs coming from the front pew. Such a sad funeral.

Bernadette wore black for two months, that is, until she married Malcolm. They had a wonderful seven years together. I see Bernadette’s wearing black again.

1195. Fat man’s widow

Roberto was so fat when he died that a special coffin had to be made.

“We don’t stock gigantic coffins for grossly fat people,” said the undertaker to the grieving widow. “You’ll have to get one specially made.”

The poor grieving widow had nowhere to turn. She said she couldn’t afford to have a coffin specially made, let alone a very large one. She went to see if she could get some government benefit to help out.

“We don’t pay for gigantic coffins for grossly fat dead people,” said the Government agency. “If he’d gone on a diet and exercised a bit of self-control before he kicked the bucket we might have looked at it with a bit of sympathy.”

The grieving widow went to see the pastor of the local church.

“Why would we want to help out?” asked the pastor. “Your late husband was a grossly overweight, fat pig. You can’t have your cake and eat it, although looking at the size of your dead husband I’d say he’d eaten as much cake as he could stuff in his mouth. Haw! Haw! Haw!”

By now the grieving widow was desperate and the body (still sprawled on the sofa in her sitting room) was starting to disintegrate.

“Why haven’t you got rid of the body of that disintegrating, grossly overweight, slobby fat pig?” asked the children of the dead husband’s first marriage.

“I can’t fit his corpse through the door and the undertaker won’t help out until the money for the coffin is paid up first,” said the grieving widow.

People heard of the grieving widow’s plight. Thousands of dollars were donated. The grieving widow used the donated money to go on a world cruise in an ocean liner. You can imagine the stink that caused.

1081. Lost the will

Vvivia’s parents had been rather creative when naming their daughter, and when she was all grown-up it was clear that Vvivia had inherited a great deal of their creativity.

Vvivia was widowed when rather young, and her departed spouse, who had been a lot older, left her a considerable sum. It was not long before Vvivia recovered and remarried. Again she married an older widower. His name was George Stenton.

The first thing George did was to rewrite his will, leaving all to his new wife. A few months after the wedding Vvivia left George; a no good husband; absolutely no good; not what she was expecting. George rewrote his will again, leaving everything to his sons and daughters from his first marriage.

Not long after, George died. There had, according to Vvivia, been a reconciliation.

I, Vvivia Stenton, swear that since the death of my husband, George Stenton, I have had access to his papers and repositories and I have searched diligently therein for any will or testamentary writing made or signed by the said deceased and that I have been unable to find any such will or testamentary writing. I do verily believe that the said deceased died intestate and that I am his widow.

Vvivia went on to marry again, in fact, several times. She was able to comfortably retire from pursuing her hobby by the age of thirty-seven.

1052. Tears from onions

Quite frankly, Marjory was sick of her husband. They’d been married for three years, both for the third time. Things hadn’t worked out as happily as intended for Marjory. She had presumed on her third wedding day that this was going to be it, but he quickly became boring. Personality-less. Spineless. He liked to cook. He was hopeless at it.

Marjory devised a plan. She mixed poisonous tulip bulbs up with the onions. They didn’t look too dissimilar. And of course, her boring husband wore big powerful spectacles because he was half blind – or so he reckoned.

There he was (Marjory watched him) chopping up the tulip bulbs and tossing them raw into a salad. She must remember not to eat any! Hopefully, because he stuffed his food in like there was no tomorrow, he would have stuffed a considerable amount of poison into his system before he realized they tasted horrible.

And he did! The funeral was last Thursday. His two former wives came to the funeral. Marjory’s two former husbands didn’t attend. They had both died, each time leaving Marjory a grieving widow.