A family neighbourhood.
Posted by Big John on November 9, 2006
It is very rarely that when I delve into my box of old family photographs I come across a picture of someone that I do not recognise.
This picture of an old lady, probably taken in the late 1920s, had me puzzled until I thought that I detected a resemblance to my grandfather, so I e-mailed it to my 83 year old ‘silver surfer’ uncle George, (remember him with one sock up and the other down) and he confirmed that it was in fact his grandmother and therefore my great grandmother who must have been born around 1850.
George told me that he didn’t remember too much about her, except that she lived a couple of streets away from the main family home and that as a young boy, he used to take hot meals to her cooked by my grandmother, who also had a useless husband and nine kids to look after. Apparently he hated this task as the old girl would make him sit with her and eat a biscuit (cookie), which he never enjoyed as it always tasted of mothballs.
Both my mother and father came from large families, each having nine brothers and sisters, most of whom lived with their children within a few streets of each other up until the 1950s. My grandmother lived just across the street from my parents house and the ‘organised chaos’ of a family gathering at her place had to be seen to be believed.
Today the remaining members of those families are scattered from Upper Norwood to Upstate New York, and sadly we have mostly lost touch with each other. It seems strange to say, but over the years I have probably seen my American cousin as much as any other.
If you dare take to the road on any Sunday, you will find our motorways jammed with thousands of cars, most of which I suspect are full of people travelling hundreds of miles to see their relatives, when probably all they once would have done …
……… was just walk across the street.