It was school holidays. I was in my mid-late teens, and I was at my paternal grandmother's house. The phone rang. My grandmother answered...
"Oh really?! What a pity. I'm sorry to hear that. Well, thank you for telling me. Goodbye."
She turned back from the phone.
"That was odd."
"What was it Grandma?"
"That was someone calling to tell me that my sister had died!"
This stunned me. I didn't realise my grandmother had a sister.
"Oh... I'm very sorry to hear that Grandma!"
Her reaction was not quite what I expected.
"I thought she died years ago!"
Needless to say, Grandma had not been close with her sister. They'd had some sort of quarrel many years earlier, or perhaps they just didn't get on. You could say that explains why I didn't know about the sister... but what about her seven other siblings?!
Grandma was the youngest of nine, seven of whom lived past childhood. Her other siblings had passed away by the time I was old enough to pay much attention to family connections. Grandma was never one to talk much about the past. I'm glad I persuaded her to talk me through her family photos, just the once, before she passed away.