by Graham Cox
WELLINGTON, TELFORD, ENGLAND.
Thelma Merker, nee Birtles was a distant cousin of my late Father. My Mum & Dad and Thelma were all born in the same year, 1916 and they grew up in the same area of north London. Thelma moved to America after the war and it was not until the late 1980s that we met up again when I was able to take my parents out to Florida and to Thelma's house in Nokomis. Sadly both my Mum & Dad passed away in 1999.
Over the past 5 or 6 years Pamela & I have been very fortunate to have been able to visit Florida twice a year and we always included a trip to see Thelma during our vacation. Thelma used to take us to the Venice Yacht Club for lunch and those three or four hours that we spent with her really were a high point of every visit that we made to Florida.
In March I wrote to Thelma and mentioned that Pamela & I would again be in the Sarasota area in May and if convenient we would like to visit her. When we saw Thelma last July she appeared to be very well considering her age and it came as a complete shock to learn of her death.
We will shortly be arriving at the Longboat Key Club for a three week visit and although our trip this time will be tinged with a little sadness, Pamela & I are so thankful that we were able to visit Thelma so many times. Thelma was a wonderful lady and we will always have many lovely memories of her.
Thelma liked to talk to us about England and we used to discuss the way that things have changed so much both in our country and in America. We all agreed that a lot of the changes were not for the better. Thelma mentioned several times about visiting England. I am glad that Thelma never made the trip. London is not the compelling, exciting and safe place that it was in 1950s and 60s.
Alyce Gee kindly gave me the location of the Bath & Racquet Club and during our vacation we would like to call in and pay our respects at the bottle brush tree which was planted in Thelma's memory.
Graham & Pamela Cox
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