Friday, August 17, 2007

An American branch of the good ol' family tree


This is my entry in this week's Show and Tell which is hosted by Kelli at There is no place like home. I had been planning this entry and, as co-incidence would have it, the theme for this week's Photo Friday is "Old" so I am linking this post there as well.
I love looking at this picture. This woman probably died before I was born. I think the photo was probably taken in the first quarter of the twentieth century but the clothes are what we would think of as nineteenth century. To me, she looks a strong woman - strong features, strong shoulders. Do you think she looks tall? I seem to think she might be. My Aunt Molly, in the later years of her life, passed some family photographs to me. She included with the photo the following note:
  • This is Auntie Cross - as we knew her. She was Mum's aunt and the mother of Charlie and Violet. I think she was Mum's mother's sister but I'm not quite sure. Charlie went off to China and used to send Mum materials, gifts - all sorts of things. You might have seen floating round the house - either yours or ours - silver ash trays with a big coin the centre and a little one near the rim - or a little pewter bowl with copper wire outside. They came from Charlie and he once sent Mum a real eggshell china tea set - you almost could read the paper through it but when you filled the cup with tea and lifted it up the tea weighed the cup down and you finished with a lap full of tea - hardly the way to treat your guests. Violet was a great friend of Mum's - she was my god-mother. For her day, she was a bit of a rebel in as much as she just refused to get married, getting very choosy about the men who approached her. Eventually she decided to go overseas. She set sail for Canada - but on a shore excursion on the way over, she fell and broke her hip. She was put into hospital in Vancouver where, of course, she knew no one. The wife of the doctor who took care of her in hospital befriended Violet and it was at her home that she met Jack Roberts - and, if he was as nice when he was young as he was when he was old, it's not surprising she married him. He was a widower and she went back to America with him. Now, in those days, if you wanted to go to America as a resident you were put on a list and had to wait until your number came up which could be years. If Violet had ever come back here for a visit, she would likely have to stay here for anything from months to years even though she was married to an American. So she didn't see any member of her family until I arrived on her doorstep back in 1960 in Columbus, Ohio. Charlie died while on some sort of patrol (I don't know what he did, actually) but there was some talk that he was murdered by natives - if you could call any Chinese natives. All over the years, Violet and Mum kept in touch sending each other letters, gifts, magazines, etc. etc. They died within a couple of weeks of each other. [This was in the mid 1960s.] Violet and Jack had one son who is called Rodney - but sometimes Dallas. I, of course, met Dal and his wife, Virginia, when I was over there and we have sent each other Xmas cards ever since. They have five children - Mum and Violet were cousins so you can work out what relationship exists between you and Dal's children. One more word about Auntie Cross - she visited us a lot when she was alive. When I became engaged to my first husband, she took me aside and offered her advice for a happy marriage - "Always", she said, "oblige your husband in the bedroom." So that is Auntie Cross who would be your great-great Aunt!

So, dear Reader, somewhere in the United States of America - almost certainly in the vicinity of Columbus, Ohio - are cousins. First cousins twice removed? Third cousins? Well, lets just settle for that quaint term, "kinfolk", shall we?

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