Tuesday was mostly spent in the children’s room at our local A&E with my daughter and tiny grandson who had decided to top up his dose of liquid paracetamol by drinking from the bottle. We were well looked after and Isaac had various tests to determine the level of paracetamol in his blood. It was very low!! My daughter thinks that most of the stuff was spilt. However, it didn’t stop her feeling bad, even though the doctors and nurses said that this was one of the most frequent reasons that small children visit A&E; even when I reminded her that her older sister had done the same thing when she was very small and that it had never even occurred to me that I should take her to see a doctor!
Anyway, it’s not time yet for them to come along or for me to demonstrate my dodgy parenting!
Right – it’s back to my dad, the strangely named Cuthbert whose first name was John. He was born in December 1907 and was the only child of my grandma and grandpa. However he did have two half sisters and a half brother and this is how that came about.
Grandma, Lavinia Ethel (known as Ethel and another of these people using the wrong name, although maybe I can understand it in her case) was born in 1868 and her father was the headmaster of a school in Manningham. I’ve heard rumours that JB Priestley was one of his pupils but it might just be that – a rumour. I believe that grandma also had a spell teaching in the school, which might explain why she remained bossy right up until the end of her life, when she was still telling her 60+year-old daughter what she should and shouldn’t do when looking after me. (“Don’t take Anne to the park Doris, she might fall in the river”). Anyway, Ethel married Charles who, I believe, came from a fairly well-to-do family who owned a factory in Halifax. They had three children who survived and two who died in infancy. All these children were born between 1891 and 1899. The children who survived were Elsie, Doris and Ronald. You will see that there is no mention yet of my dad. Rumour has always been that Charles was a bit of a bad egg. I understood that he left Ethel on more than one occasion to seek his fortune elsewhere in the world and that every time he returned there would be another new baby. As I say, I have no proof of this whatsoever but what Charles did next perhaps does make you think that he was by no means a saint. I had always believed that Charles had eventually gone off to South Africa where he had died fairly soon, although we have found a single birthday card which he sent to his daughter, Doris. However, thanks to the wonders of family history research on the internet, I have discovered that Charles had a whole new family in South Africa. There is no record of him being divorced from my grandma so, whether he was a bigamist or not we shall never know. However, he did marry someone in South Africa, they had a son together and Charles lived until 1937. Actually I’ve been in contact with Charles’ grandson and his wife and, although they are not directly part of my family, it has been a nice feeling that something positive has come out of what appears to have been a sad time in the family history. It’s always been part of the family story that Charles’s family did little to help my grandma and her remaining children and that they struggled in poverty for some years until, that is, she met my grandfather.
I think that’s enough bigamy and desertion for today. I have been to the opening of a fabulous school library and am gearing up for some intense furniture construction this evening. More tomorrow, including a love story with a happy ending.