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This report is taken from PN Review 159, Volume 31 Number 1, September - October 2004.

Beginnings and Endings Priscilla Tolkien

This memoir and reading was among the tributes delivered at a celebration of Elizabeth Jennings held at St Anne's College, Oxford on 27 March 2004.

Beginnings. My memories of Elizabeth go back to when she was six and I was three years old. We shared a neighbourhood, a culture, both religious and secular, and the friendship that grew between our families, both parents and siblings. We both lived in North Oxford, were brought up in the Catholic faith and attended the same parish church, St Gregory and St Augustine's, in Woodstock Road. We went to the same schools, Rye St Antony, a small Catholic school, and the Oxford Girls' High School. By this time the difference in our ages meant our paths became more separate although the friendship and link between us endured.

What remains for me now, so many years later, is a series of memories sharply in focus: after Sunday Mass waiting with my youngest brother for my father kneeling between us to finish his prayers while we were pulling at his long heavy winter overcoat to remind him of our presence. And looking across the aisle and seeing Elizabeth (she was called Betty in her childhood) with her sister, Aileen, similarly tugging at their mother's coat while she remained at prayer and they were reminding her of their need to go home. A symmetry of experience shared between us.

Our parents became friends through the Church and on one or ...


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