“Ebeth” is a relatively unusual contraction of Elizabeth: compare Liz, Lizzie, Beth, Lisa, Liza, Betty, Libby, and even Lizbet and Eliza… Normally, for a favourite family name like Elizabeth, close relatives would have differentiating versions, but the Scobbies seemed to like it: using it for aunt and niece. It’s not clear if this is because the younger Ebeth’s birth and early childhood occurred while her aunt was in Smyrna, or not. It seems that her mother, also Elizabeth, was called by her middle name, Bertie.
I like this portrait – I think there’s a little bit of attitude. My memories of Ebeth contextualise her as being one of the four sisters of my father. From my perspective it was rather surprising that “sisters” could be silver-haired pensioners (them being half a century older than me). They were impressive, kindly, and had natural authority. More surprisingly perhaps, I was under the impression that my aunts were English, partly because two (had) lived there, but just as much from their posh accents. In fact, all were just speaking “1920s Laurel Bank”, an accent that was decidedly not Glaswegian.
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