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.