~ Gran's Birthday ~

Happy Birthday Grandma
My Grandmother, my Father's mother Irene, was born on January 28th 1899.
By the age of two her mother had died, leaving her father with an older daughter, a son, and the baby.  Her brother ended up in Australia, where he joined the army and was sent to Europe in World War One. He was killed in battle and is buried in France.
At some point my G/Grandfather remarried, and I think we can safely assume that his new wife was a good step mother, as in later years my Dad and his siblings along with their parents spent many holidays on the South coast of England with their grandparents. Gran met my Grandfather in 1916, he was in a military hospital in Hampshire, where he was recovering from wounds received in France.  I don't know how their courtship progressed, but shortly afterwards, when Gran was around 18 they married. I have a copy of the wedding announcement as it appeared in the local newspaper. It notes that the bride's parents were unable to be there, and that she was attended by her new sisters in law of which there were five. She gave her husband a watch and chain; he gave her jewelry also. I believe it was a locket. If I ever saw the locket I am unaware of it. Grandfather however wore a three piece suit almost every day of his life, with the watch chain swagged from a waistcoat button, across his ample middle to a pocket in the waistcoat.
Together they had six children, losing one in infancy. Gran had a sense of the ridiculous and could laugh at herself, and she loved celebrations, vacations, her many spaniels and photography.
Although times were hard, I think my grandparents were more comfortable than most, always having a car, and giving soirees for their two daughters, and afternoon teas for family and friends. This was in the 1920's and 30's.
I credit my Gran with teaching me how to swim and taking us on picnics almost every Saturday afternoon in good weather. She always made a point of visiting on my birthday. She would arrive, chauffeured by grandfather, bearing 2 gifts. One for me, and one for my sister who was 14 months younger.
Then two months later she would bring two more gifts on my sister's birthday. She didn't want one of us to feel left out for some reason. 
My Grandfather died suddenly while on holiday in September 1962 at the age of 69.
The last time I saw Gran was on November 12th 1966 when we left to come to Canada, as she stood on the door step waving her handkerchief until we were out of sight. She died in 1982 after a fall at home, where she was found with a broken hip, and having had dementia for some time. After being admitted to hospital, she was found to have pneumonia and within days she was gone at the age of 82.
Happy Birthday Gran, and thanks for the memories.


  1. What a wonderful 'potted' family history- I loved reading it and seeing all the photos. I can just picture your 'genteel' grandfather and grandmother in those days.

    Wonderful memories for you to have and thank you for sharing them with us.

  2. Aloha sheila, isn't it just wonderful to sit back and remember all the snipets of life that memories let us experience. I love reading how people write about their loved ones as much as they describe moments in fabric of their lives. You have beautiful memories woven into yours..
    Thank you for sharing, peace, Kai

  3. thanks for sharing


  4. What wonderful memories. I love the fact that she always brought gifts for all children. How sensitive of her.

    I had a full smile reading this until I came to the part of the handkerchief waving.....this memory, which so much makes part of my own experience, always does me in...

    Wonderful writing Sheila. Thanks.

  5. Such wonderful memories you have of your gran and I love the pictures you posted of her. Look at the smile on her face, one can tell she was a happy person:-) It must have been heartbreaking to have to move away from her and never seeing her again after that. You have cherished memories to hold on to, though:-) xoxo

  6. where is her brother buried? I could go visit if it is near and take a photo for you.

    I love reading stories like this...

  7. Such wonderful memories.. I just love reading stories like this.

  8. oh bless - wonderful family story! they are the BEST!

  9. Lovely memories, Sheila. Gave me goosebumps.

  10. How nice to know more about my great great Gran!
    She looks very happy in all these old photographs. Smiley!
    It is nice how she met her husband, nursing him back to health.
    How romantic! xo

  11. What a lovely tribute Sheila...such sweet memories that will always remain with you. I love hearing the family history of my friends.
    I enjoyed this so much!


  12. Wish we could photograph our memories. Wouldn't it be great to share pictures of them? Even take them out and look deeply at them once in a while. Luckily you are able to describe your memories of your Gran very well. xx

  13. A heart warming and wonderful tribute of your Gran......
    The history of your family is so interesting....I love to read about others lives......

    I live in the South UK......

  14. I loved reading the story of your wonderful Grandmother's life. I love stories like this, & am very interested in my family stories too.
    Thanks for sharing!

  15. Sheila -

    What a wonderful memoir and salute to your grandmother!

  16. Isn't it amazing all the people who make up one life? Sound like you had a lovely Gram. I especialy liked tha she brought presents for each grandchild at a birthday. Sweet woman!

    Thnk you so much for especially kind words to my blog. It is a surprise to me that people like to read about my life. Truly, thanks for your encouragemnent, and for your recalling Janis Joplin. It makes the world a sweeter place when we know others remember some of the very same things we do!

  17. Great to have all that connection to the past for it shapes us more than we realise. They are part of us and we are their future :)

  18. I love that you still celebrate her day and in doing so celebrate your life!

  19. Hi Sheila,
    What wonderful memories of your family, and a lovely tribute to your grandmother. I love the photos, and enjoyed reading your story.



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