After having spent a fair amount of time on this earth, I have reached the conclusion that in the grand scheme of things, the only thing that actually matters is family. There may have been times way back when my thinking kind of skittered away from that fact, but I always came home. If you think about it, one works to support a family, votes to protect (hopefully) your family’s way of life, espouses causes to prolong or bring the planet back to what it once was – to save it for your family. Sooooo, pretty much everything you do ~ or at least I do, since I won’t speak for others ~ is essentially for family. We are eventually forgiven the lapses that occur in our late teens and twenties when we quite naturally became me-firsters.
Even though Mum’s family were in England and we were in Canada, there was a close relationship. Her sister Peg had one daughter and brother Den had seven children, and of the eight, only Den’s first son John is older than me. During the war, Mum and her sister-in-law lived with Gran ~ John and I were put to bed each night under the dining-room table to protect us from bombs if we could not be taken to the shelter in time. I once spent a holiday with his family before we came to Canada when I was nine. The next time I saw my cousins I was sixteen, then twenty-seven, then fifty-something – but –we were always in touch.
Which is why it is so difficult to understand that we knew nothing of Dad’s family in Canada.
Dad was an only child, so there were no aunts and uncles for us there. His Mum Nell had a brother Jim who flitted in and out of our lives as children. Jim had a daughter who was (rightfully I think) estranged from her father, so we never knew her. Grandpop of course had his three sisters, Ella in Vancouver who visited Montréal once, Lizzie in Dundee whose daughter Irene was mentioned occasionally and Jean, also in Dundee.
One of the first things I was to discover was that there are many, many more and not very far away …