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.
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.
Hester’s husband of just a year died suddenly, just a month short of their first baby. Now, twelve months down the track, Hester was still trying to cope, still trying to make ends meet, still trying to provide the best for baby Jack.
She went for a walk with Jack. That’s how she met Conway. He was a solo dad. He was out taking baby Roland for a walk. Hester and Conway got on like a house on fire. It was a whirlwind romance, surrounded by toddlers’ clothes, and all that.
Anyway, they got married and had another four kids. And although it was always sad that both had lost their spouses at an early age, both agreed on one thing: it was the best bit of bad luck that could have happened.
When Dora lost her third husband in less than five years, people started to talk. Dora was still in her early thirties. She had three children, all from different husbands. Each husband’s death had been a tragedy. They’d all died young; one from cancer, one in a traffic accident, and one by his own hand.
Her kids would come home from school and say that Sally or Harry or whoever had said that their fathers had been poisoned. Dora would see people in the supermarket point and whisper behind their hands.
There she is! There’s the woman who mysteriously buried three husbands in less than five years.
There was only one thing for it. Dora would move her family to another town. She would start again.
And she did that! It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t cheap, but she did it! Another house, another school, another group of strangers.
Her kids would come home from school and say that Sally or Harry or whoever had laughed at them because they all looked different from each other and had different fathers. Dora would see people in the supermarket point and whisper behind their hands.
There she is! There’s the solo mother with three kids. She’s seen more ceilings than Michelangelo.
Maribella was horrified. Biddy’s husband hadn’t been buried for two months and already Biddy was cavorting around like her husband hadn’t died. Two months! Biddy had joined the Forest and Bird Society and she went off on a hike wearing the most technicoloured cardigan under the sun. It was a disgrace.
Maribella’s husband had died over three years ago, and Maribella maintained a dignified composure. She had, at a great niece’s wedding, added a little slither of purple fabric to her otherwise black outfit. Apart from that, she knew how to behave as a grieving widow.
“You are a disgrace!” said Maribella to Biddy. “A disgrace!”
“There are only two things you can do when someone dies,” replied Biddy. “Either you can wait to die yourself or you can get on with it.”
“Well, unlike you,” said Maribella, “I loved my husband.”
Biddy was hurt by that but said nothing. She trotted off to the next Forest and Bird Society’s hike as sprightly as a fantail; as colourful as a parrot; as song-filled as a thrush. Of course she missed her husband. Of course she did! But she wasn’t going to make everyone else go into mourning.
Fleur was a well-practiced widow. She had grieved for four husbands over the years, and she looked magnificent in black.
Jeremiah was her first husband. He was relatively ugly, but rich. The marriage was brief. He was killed tragically while walking down the street. He was run over by a rampant road roller.
Next came Douglas. He was pretty old for a young widow such as Fleur, but he ran a successful women’s clothing business. In fact, Fleur wore to his funeral a beautiful black skirt and jacket with purple accessories straight from one of his shops. He had died when a shelf in the shop fell on top of him.
Then there was Bertie. Bertie was a “pretty-boy”. Everyone was amazed that Fleur would fall for someone so effeminate. But he had his good points: he owned several race horses, and was a dab hand at betting on the nags. It was such a tragedy when he was kicked to death by his favourite filly.
Finally, there was Lloyd. Fleur discovered after the marriage that Lloyd was already married to Freda. He was a two-timing so-and-so. He was murdered by Freda in an outburst of rage. Freda rots in prison to this day.
Fleur’s resilience was admired. To be a widow once is a great sadness. To be widowed four times takes on the façade of an epic, a saga, a Euripidean tragedy. How do you do it, Fleur?
“I don’t,” said Fleur. “I always pay someone else to do it.”