Tuesday, January 29

Voices From The Past.

Just before I begin this post, I would ask all the Blogger friends to join me in sending good wishes & positive vibes to my friend Julia, of Camille's Place.

Julia's Dear Husband has had a very nasty accident, & so all positive thoughts will hopefully help to speed a recovery. Julia knows I am not a religious person, & I don't pray, but I know a lot of you do, & believe your prayers have power.

A domestic accident, a fall from a roof. I am terrified of Gom threatening to get on our roof, & having a fall.

It has been a long weekend, & it has been hot & sticky, steamy, humid, ghastly, for my mere mortal body, with all it's faults.

On the other hand we have spent some lovely time with family & friends.

Yesterday we had another visit from our DogTech man. Leo has passed his preliminary probation with flying colours. He performed very well considering he is such a dominant male dog. He got a good report. He performed very well on his first outing, & did all the requisite obedience tasks, so we were very pleased. He is trying very hard to control his urges to bark. He is a good influence on Honey, hopefully.

I think too, the owners have been trained to a certain extent!! Haha. Which is probably more than half the DogTech man's task. We are very pleased with our progress, & modification of Leo's behaviour, so feel it was not wasted time or dollars.

And the DogTech rep? to die for, so handsome, so downright gorgeous!! A truly likeable person, & very easy to talk to, & very understanding, of nervous doting, elderly, dog owners! Also, the dog, of course!

The 'voices of the past' part of this blog, is next... just taking a bit of time to get around to it! But after all, it wouldn't be me, if I didn't beat around the bush!

This is a copy of a Wedding portrait. I was sent this wonderful photo by a cousin, who is doing a lot of research for family tree information, & trying to collate all he can, about our long gone relatives.

We are unsure of the identity of this couple. My Beloved Brother & I agree, the Groom looks rather pleased with himself, & perhaps a little pissedpie-eyed?

The poor Bride looks very apprehensive, & it may be due to the constriction of the dress in the waist region? I am fascinated with her dress, & how elaborate it all appears. I feel some serious 'brass' might have been invested there- or perhaps a talented relation or mother might have created it, with love & devotion.

This next photo is of a known, & loved Great Aunt. Here she is pictured with a Niece- we are unsure of which niece, sadly.

This Great Aunt was greatly love by my brother & I, as children, & I know my mother dearly loved her as an Aunt.

Her story is very tragic. She was stricken with Polio when she was 18. She was engaged at the time, & as family lore has it, she released her fiance from any obligation, as at that time, Polio could result in death, or severe disability.

As it happened Mary, which was her name, was left with a limp, & a turned foot, which necessitated shoes, & slippers which needed to be tailored to her disability. I often used to wonder about the cad, who was her affianced, who deserted her, on an easy 'out'. I wonder, did he really love her, did he regret his decision to opt out of their 'contract'?

Mary was a gentle, beautiful person, who was loving & quiet, with a wonderful bubbly sense of humour. How sad her life was, really. She nursed her mother until her death, then her father until his death. A cousin, who had been Mustard Gassed in the First World War, came to live with them, & Mary took care of him until his death. A lonely, sad, life, spent in the devotion & care of others.

Mary was a non identical twin, & her twin sister got married, & had a family. I know Mary would have made a wonderful mother. Perhaps the Niece she is nursing in the photograph is one of her twin sister's children. She was always gentle & kind to us as children, & we were very sad when she died, alone.


Recently, a loved Aunt, from another side of the family, told us she had burned letters she had written to her then-to-be-husband, while he was in Prison Camp during the Second World War. She also had the letters he had written to her, & those were destroyed also.

As it happens, the Aunt is our Father's sister. Her Husband-to-be was our Mother's brother. We have always felt a special closeness to both of them.

On hearing of the destruction of the letters, my brother was shocked, & said our Aunt should not have destroyed the letters. I could see both points of the argument. I know from past experience, I don't always want someone else reading my letters. I know in time, it is irrelevant, & it is always so interesting & intriguing to read old letters, from people who have gone ahead.

I can also see my Aunt's point of view. Not wanting her heart & soul exposed to others. As she said, they were her words, & his words to her, so she didn't feel the need to share those with anyone else. My brother was sad. I am inclined to agree with my Aunt.

I wonder, is that a female reaction, or is it a general reaction?

The 0dd thing is, I find old letters so intriguing, & I love stories that are based on facts, often gleaned from old epistles.

Would you like to think your letters of agony & perhaps purging of personal griefs, or pain, were out there for others to read?

Would you like to think your love letters were left for posterity, & other readers to pore over?

Seals & Crofts, We May Never Pass This Way Again.


bluemountainsmary said...

Well of course the story of Mary breaks my heart.

I have destroyed old letters - I didn't think I could but it was a good thing.

meggie said...

Mary, I have really missed you!!
Yes her story always broke my heart too.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Wow. So much covered in this post. I agree with your brother that it is a pity that the letters were burned. I have a strong desire to know my predecessors and such letters would have been worth their weight in gold. I wonder if this will turn out to be a difference in perspective between the sexes.

meggie said...

I wonder that too. I spoke in length with my Aunt, & I could understand her reluctance, to think of her children & grandchildren standing in judgement upon the letters. I think they would have been interesting, but I could so sympathise with her point of view. She is a very private person, & felt her personl space would be invaded.
I did feel it would have been an interesting insight to the desperation that time brought about.
When my Uncle returned to NZ, he was suffering from severe malnutrition, due to extremely poor diet, & pneumonia, which resulted in his hospitalisation. After they married, our Aunt had several miscarriages, which we now know were due to our Uncle's incarceration in the Prison Camp, & the dreadful malnutrition suffered. Many wives of POW's suffered from miscarriages.
A tragedy shared by family, which is not alway recognised today.

jellyhead said...

Yes, I can understand a woman wanting her letters kept private. However, I personally wouldn't mind leaving letters when I die, providing they didn't contain anything hurtful to those left behind. After all, I'd be dead, so how embarrassed could I possibly be? ;-)

The story of Mary is very sad. She must have been such a generous-hearted person, too.

I don't know your friend Julia, but I wish her husband a fast and complete recovery.

Thanks Meggie for your post.... never a dull moment here at Life's Free Treats!

Pauline said...

A wonderful post - my family and I have been doing similar research. I find myself seeing both sides of the letter discussion. I love reading my mother's letters to her mother but I have destroyed any letters I wrote (and he kept and returned to me) from my ex-husband.

Joyce said...

My mother did a lot of family research and I always found those old photos fascinating. The body language of the bride and groom is interesting. They are almost turned away from each other. I wonder if it was an arranged marriage?

Catalyst said...

The wedding picture: Could that be Doc Holliday and Katie Elder?

No, come to think of it I don't believe they ever married. Strike that.

ancient one said...

I have a wedding photo in my possesion that came from my husband's family and no one knows who they are.

I'm glad Leo is improving.

Loved Aunt Mary's picture!

I once destroyed a whole journal that was written during a time of depression. Wouldn't want anyone else to know how bad that was!!

ancient one said...

On another note... these blog subjects we post tell a lot about us!

MargaretR said...

I'm not a religious person either, but I know Julia of Camille's Place and my thoughts are with her, what a trajic thing to happen. I hope her DH will make a full recovery.
I think Mary has such a beautiful gentle face. The story reminded me of my cousin who was very ill with polio, but became leader of a Mountain Rescue team despite being quite lame and a few other problems. He still sends me a Xmas card every year. You a;ways bring back so many memories Meggie.

My float said...

Good heavens, I definitely need to destroy old love letters. (Not sure why they're still in the house, actually!) I would hate for peopel to read them, no matter how far down the line it is. I think we really expose ourselves when we write love letters and I'd hate to do that to the people who loved me enough to write.

Your Aunt Mary's story is very, very sad, though I wonder if she saw it that way...

Mike said...

All good wishes to Camille. So many ways to hurt yourself around the home.

crafty said...

I am a letter burner.

Anonymous said...

Awww I never burn anything. I keep a very personal diary and whilst I would not want anyone I know to read it - or people I know now (my children for instance) to read it after my death, I would love a more distant descendant to have it. Our ancestors can seem very remote, very black and white, letters and diaries bring them to live and show that life in the past was much the same as it is now and that they shared the same indecisions and insecurities that we do. I would love to have old letters or a diary from my great-grandmother for instance.

Whilst I would not particularly want my own children to read my diary I would hope that if they did at some point, that they would understand from what I have written why I have done what I have done and thought what I have thought. I stand by my actions and whilst they are not always without fault, I think they show that I am very human!

It seems a shame that we write so little these days - letters/diaries - because things on computer are unlikely to survive in an accessible way.

Lovely post and wonderful photos. I love doing Family History.

Christine Thresh said...

I have old journals and I do not want to destroy them. They do have some depressing things in them, but what happened happened. I think it might be hard for my children to read some parts, but my grandchildren might find them interesting (when they are older).

Yolanda said...

I love old journals and photos . What a Tresure they are. Thanks for sharing these.

BBC said...

Ouch, a fall from a roof is serious. But I'm still getting on them, I think I'm indestructible, will find out one day I'm not.

But I've made it 64 years without breaking a bone. If I break one this late in life they can just shoot me and drag me into the woods to return to nature.

Thanks for your comment, I'm not always funny though, I often tackle what I think are serious things.

Thimbleanna said...

Gosh Meggie, what a sad story about your Aunt. Isn't it so fascinating to see how other's lives play out? As for the burned letters -- I'm siding with the aunt. TheManoftheHouse and I were apart for a year before we got married and he wrote almost every day. After we got married we had a little burning o' the letters -- no one wants to read that stuff -- most of all not me LOL! We did save the first and last letters for posterity. That little Leo is so cute -- glad he's making good progress!

h&b said...

All my teen diaries are boxed and in the garage.

If a fire swept through, I would not be sorry to lose them, but I am unsure at what point I will do the deed myself ?

I really do not want anyone else reading them .. I only get them out when I want to x-ref something for MYSELF.

So my vote is for: burn.

Tanya Brown said...

Goodness, so much food for thought here. Poor Mary. I hope she got at least some satisfaction out of the fact that she made others' lives better.

Regarding your aunt's letters, my opinion is that her burning them is quite a loss as far as family history and understanding her better, but in the end it's her business.

As far as me, personally, the matter is very grey.

The Sagittarian said...

oh, I just love old photos. My husband has traced his family all the way from Straford (in the 'naki) to Lavorno in Italy! Its amazing! (and much more exotic than me tracing my family back to Scotland...)