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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Some more of my family story...

As well as writing my life story in installments this year, I've also written about my parents and some of their stories. I mentioned in one post that my mother had a daughter from her wartime marriage to a fellow soldier she had met. The story is very sad as this 'gentleman' left my mother before the baby was born. My grandparents helped my mother out by providing a home for her until the baby was born. After the baby's birth, my mother looked for jobs as a cook where she could have her daughter with her and live in.

One place she worked at as a sous cook/chef was the Warren Guesthouse in Mildura. The owners were very kind to her. Somewhere along the line my mother became the penpal of the man who would be my father. I guess they wrote pretty interesting letters to each other because after a while my father asked her to come to Brisbane where he lived. He actually went to Victoria to bring her back to Queensland. My sister was left with her grandmother and the plan was that when my mother was settled, my father said he would organise for Margaret to come to Brisbane also. That never happened and my sister was put into an orphanage when she was about 5. (I still cringe when I think of that even though I had nothing to do with decision making etc and was just a tiny baby :-(...what's that about 'the sins of the father'?)

When my sister was 11, my mother's sister Mary took my sister out of the orphanage and raised her with her own big family of 5 children. When my sister was 19 (and I was 14) she came to Brisbane for a reunion with my mother which I wrote about in this post. I've had an 'on again off again' relationship with my sister over the years...sometimes she was friendly, sometimes not so friendly...I guess I got some of the blame for the 'sins of the mother' :-( She (my sister)  was treated abominably ( maybe a bit judgmental there Maria!) but I'm sure my mother did what she did because she thought it was the right thing to do at the time).

In 2002 DH and I drove south and we went to see my sister (I had previously visited her a couple of times including travelling in a 9 seater plane when she lived in Forbes). It was not a good visit although things did improve by the evening of the day we spent there but I thought that I'd got the message...'you're not welcome' and there was a degree of acceptance with that. DH urged me to send birthday cards over the years which were never acknowledged, then out of the blue we got an email when the city was flooding in January asking if we were ok. I replied and got no response. Then in December I got an Xmas ecard from her.

God works in mysterious ways...I had an old diary of my mum's from 1945 to 1947. In it mum has chronicled the meeting with Margaret's father, finding out she was pregnant, getting married and a much later entry is when she starts writing to my father...That diary had seemed to go missing and one day i found it just in the drawer of my bedside cabinet.  I don't know what made me do this but  I photocopied a few pages and sent them via email, asking if she would like the diary...she answered and was very excited and said her children would love it too.

My sister as a baby
Then I was rummaging in the cupboard in the laundry when I found some lovely old photos of my mother, my sister as a baby and mum's old work uniform when she was in the army (AWAS). So all of those items are being bundled up ready to be posted to my sister and her children.

Mum's old Army work uniform

Close up of one of the buttons...only 4 have been found

Label inside uniform


Lea White said...

How neat to find that diary! That is so special!

Linn said...

Funny you should write about that story today. We had a man come to the house today to quote us for painting downstairs. When he found out we were foster parents he told us the story of his life. Very, very similar story to the one you wrote about, unbelievable that I should be told a story like yours twice in the same day!