I woke up this morning thinking about my mother and her mother. I don’t know who my grandmother’s mother was. I vaguely remember Granny telling me that her father took her and her sister away from South Africa to New Zealand when she was a small child. Her mother (my great grandmother) didn’t want to leave her family; her country, so great grandfather snatched the children and went anyway. His sister went with him to care for the children. He was in the British army – or so the story goes. There has been some discussion on how important he was in the army. My research shows he was simply the aide de comp and not the main player. No matter. Great grandfather never returned to South Africa from New Zealand because he suffered such terrible seasickness on the trip over there. Granny eventually went back to her homeland as an adult. She married a South African man and my mother was their oldest child. Because she was a girl, but was meant to be a boy, my mother’s nickname was Bobby. This had no relation to her real name at all.
My mother had four siblings: three boys and a girl. One of her brothers was a pilot in the South African Air Force. He was killed in the Second World War. I believe he was a rear-gunner as he was quite tiny in stature and I’ve always heard him referred to as ‘Uncle Stumps’ because of it. I have a photo of him. My second brother looks a lot like him.
My mother was an artist. She studied art at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. Some of her botanical studies are beautifully executed. I don’t have them but my oldest brother managed to get them to Australia when he migrated here some years ago. He has them in his keeping and they will, no doubt, be passed on to his children eventually.
I have started writing a novel, part fact and part fiction (the bits I don’t know I make up) about my granny but I’ve bogged myself down in the research so have stopped. Actually, I stopped a couple of years ago, maybe three years ago!
Sometimes I wish I knew more about my ancestors. I’d like to know so that I can tell my grand daughters if they show any interest.