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People say life is the thing, but I prefer reading*

The Rellies

I'm currently re-writing my maternal grandmother's life story. There's only one paper copy that I know of, which was written years ago on a typewriter by my dad, so I'm preserving it electronically.

Things I have found out that I didn't know before:
  • My great-grandad used to work in Deuchars Brewery (strangely, now A Certain Boy's favourite beer). He got a splinter in his finger from the beer barrels, and this caused an infection. He was sent to the Royal Infirmary, where they decided to amputate his finger. In Outpatients. He then walked home. (They were hardy men in them days.) For the rest of his life he would complain of pain in the missing finger.
  • My great-granny worked as a cleaner in the Oddfellows Hall on Forrest Road. (I came along later, when the Oddfellows Hall was a pub called Bar Oz, and got thrown out for being too drunk. Bar Oz has recently changed back to being Oddfellows, and I pass it most days on my way to the sandwich shop.)
  • My great-granny's family in Brora, Sutherland, used to send rabbits down on the train. They would be taken to the butcher to be skinned, and stewed for dinner.
  • My great-grandad was in the Home Guard during the Second World War, one great-aunt trained as a joiner, the other worked in a munitions factory, and my great-uncle was in the RAF. He got shot down over enemy territory, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal and a parachute, from which his sisters made many blouses and scarves. My granny, being a bit younger than her siblings, worked in a factory preparing cat-gut for use in surgery on the Field Hospitals.
  • My granny was engaged to another man when she started seeing my grandad.
  • I knew that my grandad wasn't present when his first child, my mum, was born, but I didn't know this was because he was at home, sleeping! Priorities eh.

I've loved reading about my great grandparents, and my granny's life before my grandad came along. My grandad has also written his life story, which I intend to read as soon as I can get my hands on it. I hate the thought of my grandparents taking all this knowledge and all these stories with them when they go - if we don't record it now it will be gone forever, and that would be a sin.


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At 24.1.07, Blogger Drama Queen said...

Your grandparents wrote down their life stories? How lovely is that?! I always ask my nan to tell me all her stories as I want her history to live on, even if its only through me. . .    

At 24.1.07, Blogger Cat said...

I feel like I have a real lack of family and subsequently family history. I've not had any grandparents since I was 13 and my dad's been dead almost ten years now. Neither of my parents were close to their siblings, so it really is just me, my mum and my brother, and I'm not especially close to either of them. I do hope that I have a family of my own in time, otherwise I will die a very lonely old woman!

That said, if it's true what they say about friends being the new family, then I have siblings a plenty.    

At 24.1.07, Blogger SpanishGoth said...

I wrote down what my grandparents parents told me before they went disco-dancing in the clouds. I figured I might forget the wonderous tales they could recount from 70 years previous.

Good for you - it will be a treasure that you can add to and hand down (as is my intention).    

At 24.1.07, Blogger Teeny said...

DQ - yes I was quite impressed by it too! Only on my mum's side though, my dad's parents never got round to doing it.

Cat - I feel very lucky to still have three out of four grandparents. I'm sure you'll have a Mr Cat and lots of Baby Cats to look after you when you're old!

Goth - 'disco-dancing in the clouds', what a nice euphemism! I do intend to add to it but that involves me actually remembering things so it doesn't bode well.    

At 25.1.07, Blogger SpanishGoth said...

Small tip for you Teeny, make a list of titles which you can carry around with you, don't plunge straight into it. For example:-

Granny Kills a Chair
The Lamb in the Oven
Grandpa finds a Scorpion
Grandpa and the Angry Ram

These are actual examples for me - then when I am in the mood to write I sit down and use the title as a reminder of what I wanted to write about. Works for me anyway.

*places quill in top waistcoat pocket and departs*    

At 25.1.07, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no grandparent stories, except for the one when my paternal grandpa went to London during the war (his one and only time there), and all the guys got to go in the tunnels during the airaids, but the women had to stay in their beds, and therefore got bombed.

What crazy man didn't think they might need the odd woman to continue the race?

Talking of being hardy back then, Pol's grandpa had broken ribs at one point (unsure why), yet tied some cardboard round his chest and went off to work nonetheless!!    

At 26.1.07, Blogger Teeny said...

Goth - Grandpa and the Angry Ram?! I'll look out for that one on your site...!

Petitfilou - you'd think the men would've let their lady wives into the shelter first?!    

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*Logan Pearsall Smith

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