It’s a day

Today is the 6th of July, 2016. Two years ago my Mum, Catherine, the owner and creator of this blog was taken from us. Almost a year has passed since my last blog when we were in the UK. An amazing, special time.

I have hardly even visited the blog in this last year.

I have been busy finding my way in my new life, without my Mum. I navigated my way through losing a friend who had a 12 year battle with melanoma in April 2015. Then I stumbled my way through losing my oldest and dearest friend, Stacey, who had a five year battle with breast cancer in September 2015. I managed to get through both of them without Mum. Amazing what you can do, when you have no choice.

I’m doing ok, my son is now 11, I was able to move him to a school which is a much more positive place for him to be. I’m sure that would have been handled much better if Mum was here, but we got through it.  I have finally managed to get him keen on reading. The library is now a favourite place for him to go and I am delighted to see that he has discovered a series which he loves and is spending every spare moment buried in it. I know Mum would be clapping her hands with joy and sharing her love of books with him.

I have become a much easier person to live with than I was when I first lost Mum. Grief was very hard and I was so unhappy and stressed and emotional. Thank God I have an amazing husband who with the assistance of my wonderful grief councillor gave me the space and understanding to find my way.

Today I knew was going to be hard. I was prepared for it, which I’ve decided I need to be more often. I need to plan to give myself space to grieve, and then it’s likely I’ll actually cope with the day better than I expect. I spent a few wonderful hours with my Big Brother last night. In anticipation of having a hard time today and wanting to connect with him – the closest link I have to my Mum. He flew to Singapore for work today, so seeng him today wasn’t possible, but we managed to squeeze in dinner and drinks  last night.

I was talking with him about why I find anniversaries, birthdays, Mothers Days and other special dates so hard. Mothers Day this year was particularly hard. I had told myself and everyone around me I was fine and then I woke up and I was in a big, dark hole. Horrid. I wasn’t ready, it snuck up on me and it sucked. Big Time. I realised that those times are the days that I really stop and think about Mum and how much things are different now. How different I am now, and that makes me really sad.  I now feel like I don’t have somewhere else to go when things get really tough. I would always go to Mum. She was always there with a warm hug, soothing words, a cup of coffee and would help me put a plan together and gather the strength I needed to re-enter the real world. No longer do I have that safe haven, that soft place to fall and gather myself and my strength.

Of course I still have people to go to – my Husband, my Son, my friends and I have my Big Brother. Thank God for my Big Brother. I honestly don’t know what I would have done over these two years without him.  He provides a different safe haven to that which Mum gave me, but I love the fact that Cullen is so much like Mum in different ways to me. Our relationship is different to that which I had with Mum, and different to how our relationship was before Mum died. Back then we really didn’t understand each other, and now we share the fact that we are navigating our way through without Mum and realising that has had a profound effect on us. I feel like he has taken  over from Mum in being able to know when things aren’t right with me and he picks up the phone just to chat. Sometimes I don’t even realise what is coming – the tidal wave of grief, before he calls. I am so grateful for him, and I know he is of me.  When we left each other last night, his parting words about today were “It’s a day”.  He meant it in the way of today being a big day – hence the title of the post.

So this morning I was exhausted – I slept all morning and then felt like I was in a numb dazed state. I decided I needed to achieve something meaningful from the day, so I took myself off to Nalty Memorisls and organised Mum’s headstone. I’ve been meaning to for months, actually more than a year, but the time hasn’t been right. Today, everything fell in to place, and the deposit has been paid, the shape and design of the headstone set, and all I need to do is provide the text – that’s the easy part. I’m really pleased. It,s going to be amazing and then every time I visit the cemetery (which I don’t do all that often) I will be so proud of the headstone and the statement it makes about Mum and who she was, and what she meant to us.

The other thing I wanted to do was write a blog post, so this is my second accomplishment of the day.

Tomorrow I will wake up and it will be over two years since my Mum died. I’ll be in to the next phase. For now I’m happy to have quietly seen the day through, and ticked a couple of boxes.

We are headed off for a week in sunny Cairns on Saturday to spend with my Dad, which should be a nice getaway. I look forward to feeling warm. It’s been so bloody cold lately.

Then I will prepare to mark the one year anniversary of Stacey’s death in September and will be very pleased to post photos of Mum’s headstone here, when it’s complete.

I hope all of you here reading this today still remember my Mum often and with love. You all meant so much to her.

Until next time,

Kirrily

The Remembering of Jarren Vaughan Habel…

birthday-cakeToday, as I awoke, all that kept running through my head was “Tá Brón Orm” (the sadness is upon me) for today is my beautiful baby boy’s 43rd birthday.

I’ve written about Jarren Vaughan and his early death from measles both HERE and HERE so what was it that flung me into such deep sadness today which meant I only managed to crawl out of bed, swallow a bit of food and then retreat to the comfort of the “blankies” willing myself to sleep, to forget and to be at peace?… Total oblivion, if only for a few more hours.

No great mystery really… it was the unearthing, a few weeks ago, of the last loving message, sent 18 years ago, from my now deceased mum on the event of Jarren’s birthday. Mum and dad were living way down south in Goolwa, at that time, and it was a beautiful hand-crafted card which turned up in the post.

jarren. note from mum

Every year mum always remembered, always contacted me and we shared the loving memories which included the joy and sadness at the loss of that little scrap of humanity… Jarren Vaughan Habel.  My husband was in the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force), we were living in Perth, Western Australia, and mum was the only family member who ever knew him, held him, fed him, comforted him and marvelled at the miracle he was… apart from myself, his dad and his big three year old brother, Cullen Andrew.

I wrote on the back: "Nana and Jarren (Aged 5 weeks the baby, that is) May 1970"

I wrote on the back: “Nana and Jarren (Aged 5

weeks the baby, that is) May 1970″

"Cullen, Nana and Jarren enjoying special cuddles" May 1970

“Cullen, Nana and Jarren enjoying special cuddles” May 1970

The sadness was because of the realisation that never again would I get a loving message of remembrance on my little boy’s birthday… and the tears fell.  Little did I know what was awaiting me when finally forcing myself to face the day. Logging onto Facebook was a beautiful message from “My Little Ray of Sunshine”, my precious daughter Kirrily Ann, born 2 years after Jarren…

Kirrily and mummy -  Sep 1972

Kirrily and mummy – Sep 1972

… and then came the acknowledgements and loving messages from others showing that my beautiful Jarren Vaughan will always be remembered and included as a member of our family and the ache in my heart eased.

It was especially lovely to hear that my youngest Grandson, Jay, had been talking with his mummy about Uncle Jarren and asking questions… such as why he was given that name?…  Kirrily passed on the story.

Thankyou everyone and much love to you all.

~~~~~~~~~

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

LEAVE OUR ANCESTORS ALONE!!! …

Memorials ready to be crushed for roadworks. Karakatta Cemetery, WAustralia

Memorials ready to be crushed for roadworks. Karakatta Cemetery, WAustralia

Is anyone out there maybe suggesting that I’m “obsessive”?

I confess, I give up… I am

Regular readers would no doubt remember my outrage at the “re-cycling” of cemetery plots here in South Australia and the horror at the very likely possibility that my precious Great Grandmother would be dug up.  You can read about it HERE

My next post was full of excitement as I explained that the South Australian Govern-ment had just released a “Draft Burial and Cremation 2012” Bill was and asking for comments, and suggestions, from the general public and not just from those with an invested interest.On accessing the Draft Bill my head was turned inside out with the “legalese” but plodded on and so posted “Shortcuts for Commenting” to give a bit of a “leg up” to anyone else thinking of putting in a submission.

My final post expressed both surprise, and delight, in having managed to completed this somewhat onerous task and offered to email copies of my submission, if requested.

The good news is that the new “South Australian Burial and Cremation” Bill has now passed it’s “2nd reading” in the House of Assembly with the next debate in just a few days time, Tuesday 5 Mar 2013.  Fingers crossed that we may finally have some effective legal protection for our Ancestors, their remains, their gravesites and memorials. Will post the outcome as soon as it comes to hand.

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CrissouliSadly all this good news, and hopeful thinking, was somewhat shot down in flames just a few days ago when Crissouli on her Blog, That Moment in Time, alerted us to the wanton destruction and desecration of gravesites in Western Australia.  Please click HERE to read her post and  see many photos of exactly what is going on there.  It’s hard to believe that such beautiful and spiritual, stone monuments are being gathered up and crushed for “road works”, often without relatives being informed.

Published in the “Subiaco Post” on 1 May 2006 is Ms Allchurch’s horror, and continuing anguish,  on discovering that the joint grave of her much loved Great Grand-mother, Grandmother, Aunt and mother had been destroyed, despite written assurances from the Western Australian Metropolitan Cemeteries Board that she’d receive notification if any changes were proposed.

Cemetery desecration. Karakatta WA

Cemetery desecration. Karakatta WA.2.

Makes you feel helpless, doesn’t it.  Thanks to Sandra Playle there is a Petition you can sign to add your voice to the voices of others demanding that authorities STOP desecrating the final resting places of our Ancestors, destroying their monuments and discarding any physical memory of them just like so much flotsam and jetsam.

On 24 Feb 2013 Sandra wrote:

“By the MCB’s admission there is around 80% cremations so I fail to understand the reasoning for renewal. I have always advocated that the cemetery be:

(a) Closed for new graves.

(b) Open for burial in existing raves ie; family in with family to the limit of three as has been the practise.

(c) Open for cremations and the scattering/placement of ashes.

(d) If they must insist on new graves then the existing headstones stay insitu and the new ones are made SMALLER to fit in the area between. This would mean the surrounds would have to go from existing graves.”

Once upon a time, the general public had trouble making their collective voice heard but technology, and the “social media” has changed all that.  I urge you to sign the petitioon and pass the message on via any medium at your disposal: Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest etc.

You may think that Western Australia is much too far from you for your voice to make any difference, but it will, indeed it will.  International exposure can work wonders in this “Global Community” of ours and tomorrow it could be your Ancestor’s gravesite being destroyed, or you child, or your brother/ sister’s …

If you wish to sign the petition, just click HERE

Finally, I must share Crissouli’s beautiful poem which reaches into my very soul.

GRANDMA’S FOUNDATION

I went to visit Grandma
Her stone it wasn’t there
I thought I made an error
But I did look everywhere
It was then I noticed rubble
Right against the fence
And a dumpster full of rubbish
It really was quite dense.
Then I saw my Grandma’s name
As if she was calling me
“Please help me darling granddaughter
Will you please help me be free
For crushing is the next step
Road base they say they need
  I suspect that is just a cover up
It all comes down to greed.
The land here’s rather valuable
I heard the workmen say
My lovely stone you saved for
Will be destroyed today.”
(c) Crissouli

Memorials in the dumpster with all the rubbish and ready for crushing...

Memorials in the dumpster with all the rubbish and ready for crushing…

“Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead, and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people their respect for the laws of the land and their loyalty to high deeds.” – William Gladstone

~~~~~~~~~

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

Trapped…

It was a typical hot summer January day as my brothers, and I, splashed around and cooled off in the Swimming Pool adjacent to the Kiosk at the “Gorge Caravan Park”.  We’d been exploring the bush for days, having fun on the “swinging bridge”, paddling in the creek and then back to the caravan for a good old “nosh up”. It was an idyllic holiday and there was no sign of the approaching danger, and terror, which would remain indelibly imprinted on my 8 year old brain forever.

Gorge Caravan Park and Kiosk. Google Earth.

Gorge Caravan Park and Kiosk. Google Earth.

The first sign that anything was amiss was when mum and dad came over to check on us and to enquire, at the Kiosk, as to why so many people were packing up and leaving. Never will I forget the look of horror on my mum’s face when they found the Kiosk locked and abandoned. Hurrying back to the caravan and turning on the portable radio the terrible reality dawned. Unbeknowns to my parents a bushfire warning had gone out, our camping ground was now surrounded by raging fires, and it was too dangerous to try and flee the flames.

Although they must have been terrified my parents calmly sat the four of us down, explained the situation and advised that we needed to “stay put” until the fire had been extinguished and it was safe to go home… however, we were told to keep close together and if dad gave the signal we were to run down to the adjacent creek and immerse ourselves in the water until he said it was safe to come out. Although nearly “scared out of my wits” my dad made me feel as safe as anyone could be, under the circumstances.

bushfire

It was so hot, and stuffy, in the caravan that night as we tried to sleep with the smell of smoke in our nostrils and the glow of the surrounding fire lighting up the night sky. Eventually I dozed off and was awakened by a weird noise and felt a HUGE bump and the caravan began shaking until I was sure it would fall over. Dad leapt out of bed and out of the door “as quick as Jack Flash”. It turned out to be just a poor old terrified cow who’d stumbled against the van and was causing a lot of “ruckus”.

The next I remember is that it’s morning and mum and dad saying the fires were out and it was safe to go home. I later learnt that the bushfire had been contained only because of a fortunate change of weather and the work of some 2.500 volunteers who’d responded to the desperate call for help. As we drove that 30kms back to the safety of the Adelaide CBD, I will never forget the blackened bushland and the devastated countryside we passed through. Sight, and smells, I never want to experience again.

Bushfires_aftermath,_Big_River_near_Anglers_Rest.Wikipedia

On the South Australian Professional Historians website, Alison Painter has written:

“The 2 January 1955 is known in South Australia as ‘Black Sunday’. Terrible bushfires swept through the Adelaide Hills, blackening 600 square miles of coluntry from One Tree Hill in the north to Strathalbyn in the south. Forty homes were lost as well as many other buildings including the Upper Sturt railway station and Marble Hill, the Governor’s summer residence on Norton Summit.

On that hot weekend the Governor, Sir Robert George, and his family went to stay at Marble Hill. By Sunday afternoon the smoke and heat showed that the fire was very near and in spite of the efforts of the staff with garden hoses the building suddenly caught alight. The family and staff narrowly escaped by throwing wet blankets over themselves. They huddled near a bank as the elegant old home burnt fiercely and the tower collapsed at the height of the blaze. Since then the impressive ruins have been partly restored by the National Trust but the Governors have never returned.

There was great loss of property and stock in the fires in the hills and in the south east, but only one man died, at Inglewood. Until the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983 this was the worst bushfire in the State’s history.

Advertiser, 3, 4, 5 January 1955. “

Black Sunday.1955.Marble_Hill_Ruin.Wikipedia

The South Australian CFS (Country Fire Service) reports that:

“Two fire fighters lost their lives and damage, spread over a total area of at least 40,000 hectares, was estimated at $4,000,000.”

The Australian Bureau of Metereology explains:

“The nature of the Australian environment – long periods of dry, hot weather and volatile natural vegetation – makes many parts of the country particularly vulnerable to fire. Southeastern Australia has the reputation of being one of the three most fire-prone areas in the world, along with southern California and southern France. The Black Friday fires in 1939 in Victoria, Ash Wednesday (1983) in Victoria and South Australia and the 1967 fires in Tasmania, have each killed in excess of 60 Australians. They loom as dark shadows in the consciousness of residents of these states on summer days when strong northerlies, extreme heat and low humidity follow a long dry period. Throughout the 20th Century, many other fires have claimed lives, destroyed people’s homes and livelihoods, and reduced thousands of hectares of forest to charcoal and ash.”

bushfire seasons

Once again the “bushfire season” is upon us as the temperatures soar into the 40’s and are set to remain there for some time. May all who live in bushfire prone areas and  those fire fighters, and volunteers, who risk their lives for others keep themselves safe and well.

To those who’ve lost loved ones, property and livelihoods in previous bushfires… may you be blessed and comforted as the memories return along with the scorching heat. My childhood terrors, of 58 years ago,  are nothing in comparison.

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RESOURCES (including photos) and FURTHER READING:

http://www.cfs.sa.gov.au/site/bushfire_history.jsp

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/nosh-up

http://www.sahistorians.org.au/175/chronology/january/2-january-1955-black-sunday.shtml

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sunday_(1955)

http://www.postcards-sa.com.au/features/marble_hill.htm

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/environ/fires.shtml  

~~~~~~~~~

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel.

Memories of New Year Celebrations Past…

Semaphore, South Australia  - War Memorial clock. Wikipedia.

Semaphore, South Australia – War Memorial clock. Wikipedia.

As the year 2012 was coming to a close my mum’s beautiful eyes danced before me as, once again, she related those childhood memories of the 1930’s when each New Year was brought in, on the foreshore of Semaphore beach here in South Australia, surrounded by her mum’s HUGE Murray family.

She loved to tell how on the stroke of midnight, and as regular as that big old clock kept ticking away, Uncle Stan would chuck his ‘baccy pouch in the gutter and declare:

“That’s it, I’m giving up the smokes!!!”

Auntie Hilda, one of my Nana’s younger sisters, would just as regularly quietly reach down and tuck her hubbie’s “baccy pouch” into her handbag to give back the following morning when he’d be raging around the house demanding to know what had happened to his tobacco.

It seems that every year the whole family would wait for this scenario to be played out and, as the clock struck twelve, they were never disappointed.

Seeing in the New Year - 2013, on the Semaphore foreshore.

Seeing in the New Year – 2013, on the Semaphore foreshore.

The New Year continues to be heralded in, on that same foreshore. Nowdays it’s not so much the tick of the clock which announces that a bright new year has begun but a magnificent display of fireworks previously unimagined.

May the New Year bring much joy to you, your loved ones, and all whom inhabit this world of ours. 

New Year 2013

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Many thanks to the South Australian Advertiser: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au for these last two photos.

To take a walk through Semaphore’s Historic Precinct just click HERE

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine A. Crout-Habel

Take me or leave me…

David Grayson describes beautifully the realisation that freed me, some 40 years ago, from all those doubts, insecurities and worries of childhood. The time when my motto became… “To Thine Own Self be True” which I had engraved on a bracelet. For many years this bracelet never came off my wrist and helped with the remembering, and gave courage, to always be myself and to love the person that I am.    

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The sense of wishing to be known only for what one really is is like putting on and old, easy, comfortable garment. You are no longer afraid of anybody or anything. You say to yourself, ‘Here I am — just so ugly, dull, poor, beautiful, rich, interesting, amusing, ridiculous — take me or leave me.’ And how absolutely beautiful it is to be doing only what lies within your own capabilities and is part of your own nature. It is like a great burden rolled off a man’s back when he comes to want to appear nothing that he is not, to take out of his life only what is truly his own.

 David Grayson, journalist and author. (1870-1946) 

 ~~~~~~~~~

Copyright © 2012. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel.

Ww is for – What does that mean?…

 

Always a curious child, my lovely mum would shake her finger at me with the warning…Remember, Catherine… Curiosity Killed the Cat.” Well here I am… and still asking questions. 

Guess one of the reasons  researching Family History is such a pleasure is because as soon as you answer one question, there are always many more popping up begging to be investigated. In this Gould Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge I share just a few.

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ENGLISH CENSUS OCCUPATIONS

What fun those UK Census records are… I love pouring over them to get to the “nitty gritty” of my Ancestor’s lives – not only where they lived, moved to, married etc., but especially their Occupations. The tricky part of this can be that the enumerator has VERY bad writing but often it’s simply a job I’ve never heard of… e.g. my Scottish Great Grandfather, James Ogilvie, was a “Currier”. What??? … although, at times there’s an occupation I kind of know, but am not entirely sure about. Here are some examples:

ACATER – A present day caterer. A person who supplies food provisions to various outlets.

AUGER MAKER – Someone who made the carpenters augurs; a type of hand drill which was operated via a crosswise fitted handle.

ANVIL SMITH – A person who made Anvils and Hammers for Blacksmiths.

Blacksmith working with Hammer and Anvil – Wikimedia Commons Licence

BESOM MAKER – Made brooms, usually from twigs with a central pole.

CARMAN – Driver of a vehicle used to transport goods.

CARTER – Carries, or conveys, goods in a cart.

CHARWOMAN – Cleaning woman (domestic servant) who usually worked for hourly wages, often on a part time basis. They usually had several employers and, unlike Maids, did not “live in”.

CURRIER – A man who dresses and colours leather after it is tanned.

DAY MAN – Caual worker, usually employed for the day.

FLAX DRESSER – Prepares Flax prior to it being spun.

Flax Dresser – heckling. (Wikimedia Commons Licence)

HURDLE MAKER – Maker of Hurdles/Woven Fences, often made out of Hazel or Willow.  This was a surprise, to me. I thought “hurdles” are those fence like constructions made for horses to jump… {chuckle}

JOURNEYMAN/JORMAN – A Master Craftsman who has served his Apprenticeship, mastered his craft and no longer bound to serve for years but is hired day by day – often self employed.

LIGHTERMAN – Someone who operates a flat bottomed boat used in loading and unloading ships.

19C Lighterman (Wikimedia Commons Licence) Artist:James Abbott McNeil Whistler

VITNER – Wine Merchant.

VICTUALLER – A seller of food and drink. Usually refers to an Innkeeper.

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Growing up with a constant stream of proverbs like: “don’t count your chickens before they hatch”, etc. I’m always fascinated, and curious, to discover their origins. Some are self-explanatory but others not so.  Here are some which were very common expressions throughout my childhood and am SO happy to have tracked down their origins.

*  In Shakespeare’s time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes and when you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making it firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase “GOOD NIGHT SLEEP TIGHT”.

*  In English pubs ale is order by pints and quarts… So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell… “Mind your Pints and Quarts and settle down!!!.” It’s where the phrase “MIND YOUR P’s &  Q’s” comes from.

*  The saying “THERE’S NOT ENOUGH ROOM TO SWING A CAT” comes from the days when sailors were punished with “a cat o’nine tails” (whip with nine leather straps). However, because there wasn’t enough room below deck to lash the whip, the punishment was given on deck where there was enough room “to swing the cat.”

*  In the 1400’s a law was set forth that a man was not allowed to beat his wife with a stick thicker than his thumb. Hence we the “RULE OF THUMB.”

*  Many years ago, in England, pub frequenters had a whistled bake into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a drink, they would whistle to get served. ‘WET YOUR WHISTLE” is the phrase inspired by this practice.

*  The saying “THE CAT’S OUT OF THE BAG” (i.e. a secret revealed) originates in medieval England when piglets were sold in open market places. The seller usually kept the pig in a bag, making it easier for a buyer to take home, but some dishonourable sellers would put a large cat inside the bag in an attempt to deceive. However, if a shrewd buyer looked into the bag then the cat was literally out of the bag. The following advice was first recorded in London around 1530:  

“When ye proffer the pigge open the poke.”

The bag was called a poke which is where the saying “BUYING A PIG IN A POKE” comes from, and means, buying something unseen and probably unwanted.

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In closing, I have to say that when mum warned that “CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT”, I knew that I was being told to STOP asking endless questions … but what was this “bizzo” about “killing the cat?”.  Now I finally know the origins of this proverb.

Originally it was “CARE KILLED THE CAT“. The term “care”, at that time, meant “worry and sorrow”, not looking after/protecting, as is our more contemporary meaning.

Now it all makes sense and the young child, which still resides within me, can settle down… Yep, born pedantic 🙂

Here’s a vid you might enjoy:

http://youtu.be/49aBfO8MHRc

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FOR RESOURCES & FURTHER INFORMATION:

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/curiosity-killed-the-cat.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anvil
http://www.parsonshurdles.co.uk/
http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flax
http://www.maybole.org/home/pettit/currier.htm
http://www.irvineburnsclub.org/flaxtrade.htm#dressing
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightermen
http://www.worldthroughthelens.com/family-history/old-occupations.php
http://www.worldthroughthelens.com/family-history/old-english-sayings.php

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Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel.  

Dd – is for Delightful, Delicious & Delectable

FAMILY HISTORY THROUGH THE ALPHABET CHALLENGE

Researching and writing about the lives of family can sometimes make me sad. When this happens, there are a number of useful strategies which soon have me bouncing back. My “Weird, Wild & Wonderful” blog is aways a happy place to play. Trawling “You Tube” for fun, ridiculous and romantic songs is another favourite and sometimes writing about amusing incidents from childhood like “Dad, fencing and Nana”, which are passed on to my descendants through this blog, soon get the chuckles going again.

Needing comforting and cheering up after my latest two posts to “Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge”, one about “Baby Crout” and the other “Cousin Lizzie”, I mused over the letter Dd and immediately “Delightful, Delicious & Delectable” jumped into my head. It’s just a little story from childhood which brings back fond memories. Maybe it will trigger some happy thoughts for you too…

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It’s 1950 in the working class suburb of Queenstown, South Australia, and just a couple of miles “up the track” from Port Adelaide where dad and grandpa worked “on the wharf”. Picture a large family kitchen with four hungry “tykes” sitting around the table, waiting for breakfast, and amazed to see their dad busy at the task. Why dad? … I have no idea. Maybe I do, but don’t want to think about it as it may bring back the sadness…

The four of us – 1950. (c) 2012 C.Crout-Habel

Anyway, dad put four bowls in front of us announcing They’re POBS – Mam used to make them for me.” Well, I’d never tasted anything so delicious and delectable in all of my four years. Sixty two years later, and still a feeling of calm envelopes me with the very thought. So, what were these magical “POBS” and what made them special? The breakfast dad put before us that day was simply a bowl filled with cubes of white bread, sprinkled with sugar and moistened with warm milk but oh so so delicious. Over the years, and on rare occasions, dad served us POBS but mum never did. Right from the start mum’s POBS were rejected… they just didn’t taste the same.

This South Australian girl knew no other person who ate POBS, or even knew what they were. I figured it was just a fun name that my Yorkshire born dad and his “mam” used for a bowl of bread, sugar and milk until, in 1995, I visited his home town of Windhill, Shipley, Yorkshire, England. Seeking the whereabouts of dad’s childhood home I met up with a delightful group of elderly people at the Windhill Community Centre, Church Street, Windhill. They named themselves the “Windhill Memories Group”, were amazed that Harry Crout’s daughter had come visiting, all the way from Australia, and happily shared their memories. Lillian Moorhouse was one who maintained contact and would sometimes send copies of her pencil drawings of  “Windhill of Yesteryear”. One day a booklet arrived titled “HOMECURES OF YESTERYEAR” and there on page 5, to my amazement, was a description for POBS – not a made up family name at all!…

HOMECURES OF YESTERYEAR by Lillian Moorhouse, page 5.

Years later, with a “search” on Wikipedia, I discovered that POBS are a traditional Lancashire dish. The internet also has many forums & discussion groups where talk about POBS arises. It was here I learnt that POB stands for “Pieces Of Bread” and also that a crushed up Oxo cube, sprinkled on bread and covered with hot water falls into the same category. What a surprise to discover that POBS were also enjoyed by others.

To ensure that this simple meal lived up to the title of “Delightful, Delicious & Delectable”  it had to be served in the appropriate dish – one of mum’s small, rimmed, white bowls which were dotted with tiny pink flowers and edged with gold.

So … a delightful, delicious, and delectable meal, of bread and milk, needed to be prepared by dad and served in the appropriate dish to make my day.  🙂 … happy memories.

~~~~~~~~~

SOURCES: HOMECURES OF YESTERYEAR by Lillian Moorhouse © Lillian Moorhouse Reg. BB/818 No 33371. Published by: Windhill Memories Group. N.E.W.C.A. Church Street, Windhill, Shipley, Yorkshire, England.

Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family

Cc – is for Cousin Lizzie

FAMILY HISTORY THROUGH THE ALPHABET CHALLENGE

Cc was always going to be about cousins. I have a rather interesting bunch. Some I never knew existed, like the “Crout half-cousins” in Canada and the “Crout full-cousins” in the United States. Then there are the “Ogilvie cousins” I’m now in contact with via the internet; one still living in the “old country”, Leeds, England and his Uncle who migrated down here to the “antipodes” in the 1960’s. The seafaring “Hampshire Crout cousins” make an interesting read with a couple of “kissing cousins” thrown into the mix and there are the “Murray cousins”, here in South Australia, with whom I’ve just re-connected after near on 60 years.

However, it’s “Cousin Lizzie” who has “taken the yellow jersey” and for three reasons:

     *  The Last Will & Testament of my Susan features her prominently
     *  She’s been on my mind since writing about Baby Crout last week
     *  It’s become apparent that many relatives are not clear about where “Cousin Lizzie” fits into the family, nor what it is that made her “different/ special”

~~~~~~~~~

Cousin Lizzie is the Grand-daughter of Susan Kelleher and an integral part of my Family History.

On 13 May 1855 Susan, aged 18, arrived in South Australia from County Clare, Ireland, aboard the ill-fated “Nashwauk”. She and her sister, Bridget, took up service in the Mid-North of the state – the Clare Valley – and on 13 Jan 1856 Susan married Edward Nicholls.  They had three daughters;

Catherine Ann Nicholls – abt 1856
Mary Ann Nicholls – 29 Oct 1858 
Margaret Nicholls – 5 Aug 1860

Sadly Edward died of pneumonia, just 4 years after marrying, and is buried at his workplace, Bungaree Station, Clare, South Australia.

Bungaree Homestead – 1863

Four years after the death of Edward, Susan married Timothy Rowen at St Michaels Church, Clare, South Australia. They had 4 daughters and 1 son;

Bridget Rowen – 22 Dec 1864
Eliza Jane Rowen – 1 May 1867
Andrew Rowen – 19 Feb 1870
Susan Rowen – 23 Jul 1872
Mary Ellen Rowen – 6 Oct 1874

I’m related through Susan and Timothy’s second daughter, Eliza Jane Rowen, who is my Great Grandmother. Cousin Lizzie is from Susan’s first marriage to Edward Nicholls. Her mother is their youngest child, Margaret.

Only two of Susan’s three daughters, from her first marriage, survived childhood.  Their second daughter, Mary Ann died of “Heart Disease” on 12 Sep 1874, aged 15, just one month before her mother gave birth to the youngest child, Mary Ellen. Their eldest daughter, Catherine Ann, married William Walsh. They had 5 children, 4 survived childhood and went on to create a long line of Walsh/Nicholls descendants.

By all accounts Cousin Lizzie’s mother, Margaret Nicholls, had a sad and traumatic life. On 9 Mar 1875 , at the age of 15, Margaret was the plaintiff in a Court Case against her step-father Timothy Rowen. My Grandmother, Eliza Jane Rowen, was just 8 years old and a witness. The “Northern Argus, March 23, 1875” reports,

“Timothy Rewin (sic), who was indicted of an offence against the person at Armagh, on February 7, pleaded not guilty, and as the evidence of the prosecutrix did not agree with the medical testimony, the jury were directed to acquit the prisoner which was accordingly done.”

 The court document reads,

“Plea Not Guilty – Verdict by direction of His Hon. the Chief Justice, Not Guilty”.

It seems that, after the Court Case, my Grandfather became estranged from the family. Their home at Armagh (outside of Clare) was sold and Susan moved, with her children, to Laura where they remained until 1887 when she moved to Broken Hill, New South Wales taking the youngest children with her. Over the years, many of the older children also settled in Broken Hill.

Shortly after Susan and the children moved to Laura her daughter, Margaret, married Scottish Immigrant, John William Tait, at St Johns Catholic Church, Laura, South Australia. Margaret and John had 5 children,

Catherine Jane Tait – 25 Jul 1880
Elizabeth Ann (Cousin Lizzie) Tait – 10 Jul 1882
John Edward Tait – 29 Aug 1884
Agnes Melinda Tait – 12 Oct 1886
Margaret Ellen Tait – 19 May 1889

Only Cousin Lizzie and her sisters, Catherine Jane and Margaret Ellen, survived childhood. John died at the age of 18 months and Agnes when she was 6.

Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia

As all of their children were born at Laura, it seems that Margaret and John continued to live there until 1889-1892 when they moved to Broken Hill. I believe they moved to “the Silver City” because this is where Agnes Melinda died but this needs to be verified as they may have been visiting her mother/ family at the time.

What happened next in Cousin Lizzie’s life is open to conjecture. She would have been about 7-10 years old when the family re-settled and it seems her life would have been quite difficult for, on 17 Mar 1989, my mother wrote,

“… They had a daughter named Elizabeth but who within the family was always called “Cousin Lizzie”. She was rather deaf but understood if you spoke loudly. I rather think she lip-read, she had a speech impediment due to the mid-wife who delivered her deciding to snip under her tongue believing other-wise the baby would be tongue-tied. (this practice I believe was not unusual in those days)”

To read about “ankytoglossia”, the problems it can cause and the ways in which it’s treated, even today, just click here.

Mum talked, and wrote, about how it was said that Cousin Lizzie’s father rejected her because of this impediment. Also that he deserted the family and divorced Cousin Lizzie’s mother who then took her own life. I was told how Susan took custody of her Grand-daughter, caring for, loving her and leaving her well provided for so she would never be “without a roof over her head.”

Aware that there are always “two sides” to any story, I’m always reluctant to pass on negative “family stories”  but this one needs to be told, given the contents of Susan Rowen’s “Last Will & Testament” which arrived in my “Dropbox” just last week. Susan did indeed leave all her worldly goods to her Grand-daughter and makes it very clear that she had “issue” with Cousin Lizzie’s father when she writes that the legacy is,

“… for her use and benefit absolutely and I desire that she shall have no dealings whatever with her father or sisters, and if the said Elizabeth Ann Tait cannot make her home with her Aunt Susan I desire that she be placed in a Catholic Home in Adelaide. I want a quiet respectable burial.”

Cousin Lizzie did go on living with Aunt Susan for many years after her Grandmother’s death. They arranged her gravesite memorial and, I have it on good authority, they both continued to tend Susan Kelleher Nicholls Rowen’s grave, in the Broken Hill Cemetery, for many years to come …  along with Aunt Susan’s daughter, Ann.

I have yet to discover when Aunt Susan died and when Cousin Lizzie moved from Broken Hill to the Port Adelaide district, in South Australia. What I do know is that she was a strong minded woman, living on her own means and in her own home at 6 Denman Place, Exeter in April 1934 because this is when my dad and his first wife, Connie, were living with her. My understanding is that she continued to lived contentedly and independently, with family nearby, until her death at the age of 60 on 15 May 1943 in South Australia.

Although Cousin Lizzie faced many challenges, especially as a young child, she certainly was not a “dunce” or a “dummy”, as many seem to think. It appears that her father did indeed have difficulty coming to terms with his second daughter’s “impediments” but her mother’s family gathered her to themselves … loving, caring and supporting her till the end of her days.

Elizabeth Ann Tait’s feelings for her Grandmother are very clear in the Memorium Notices she placed in newspapers, both in Broken Hill and Adelaide, for many years. The notice below is but one example.

Barrier Miner- 9 April 1934, page 2

 MEMORIAM

ROWEN – In loving memory of my
dear grandmother, Susan Rowen, 
who passed away on April 9, 1922, at
Broken Hill.

Always deep down in my heart,
Where love burns bright and true;
There’s a light that will burn forever,
In memory, dear grandmother of you.

Inserted by her loving grand
daughter L.Tait 
~~~~~~~~~ 

FURTHER RESOURCES: http://www.trove.nla.gov.au

Copyright (c) 2012. C.A.Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family

Bb – is for Baby Crout

FAMILY HISTORY THROUGH THE ALPHABET CHALLENGE

It’s a crisp Autumn morning in Adelaide, South Australia and I wake with the memory of “Baby Crout” nudging through my sleep be-fuddled brain.  No more dithering, no more doubting, no more questioning for clearly “the little man” is the Bb for my “Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge”. His story is rather sad, as are many, but always reminds me of the care and com-passion which so often resides in the hearts of strangers.

~~~~~~~~~

Over 41 years ago, through the anguish and confusion of my baby boy’s unexpected death, I glimpsed a side of my father never seen before. He was grief stricken and inconsolable. Many years later, when mum told me the story of “Baby Crout”, I understood.

It was April 1934 and the “Great Depression” continued to cause great hardship but Harry Scarborough Crout and Constance Elsie Evans, married 13 Jul the previous year, were eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child – a new life, a new beginning and re-newed hope for the future. Connie, sufferring from “pre-eclampsia”, was being treated by Dr Porter at the Port Adelaide Casualty, which was the only medical care available to the wife of a long term unemployed worker when, on the 21st April she went into labour and was delivered of a stillborn baby boy at the Queen’s Home, Rose Park, South Australia.

Harry Crout, riding pillion, with Sammy – NSW 1929. Copyright (c) C.Crout-Habel

Mum was ony 9 years old, Connie, her beloved half-sister, was 20 and Dad had just turned 22 when this tragedy struck. He’d only been in Australia for 6 years and most of this was spent in New South Wales, or “humping the bluey” around this wide brown land and sometimes “jumping the rattlers” and/or coastal steamers searching for work and to avoid being sent to a “work camp” in the bush. 

The Queen’s Home – 1914

So, as he was leaving the hospital and the nurse handed him a shoebox telling him to  “take it to West Terrace” he had no idea of the significance of those words. Trudging the 14kms home to 6 Denman Street, Exeter, where they were living with “Cousin Lizzie” she certainly knew the significance of the shoebox dad had placed on the kitchen table and put out the call, “Get Fred!”… Grandpa, Connie’s loved Step- father, harnessed the horse & buggy and took Dad and “Baby Crout” to the West Terrace Cemetery where our precious little boy was interred in a “pauper’s mass grave”, under the name “Baby Crout”. To add to Dad grief his beloved wife took her own life, in an excrutiating way two months later, by swallowing Lysol.

No doubt the unexpected death of his baby Grandson, Jarren Vaughan Habel, 36 years later brought many of those horrific memories flooding back.

Sunday Mail, 10 April 1934

Mum and I often lamented that “Baby Crout” had no grave or memorial then, one day in 1995, there was the newspaper article – Mr David McGowan, the West Terrace Cemetery Manager, announced the creation of a “Baby Memorial”,

“…to acknowledge the 30,000 children who died at birth, or soon after, and their parents who grieved in silence for so long.”    

Following the instructions, I soon located “Baby Crout’s” burial site at “Cemetery Extension, Path 4, Plot 6”. The “Cemetery Extension” a field at the rear of the cemetery which had been used as a site for mass graves from the 1920’s up to the 1980’s. This link will take you to the West Terrace Cemetery website where you can access the map, view the position of the “Baby Memorial” and the Photo Gallery. The mass burial site (Cemetery Extension) is marked “Road 5”, adjacent to the “Light Oval A.I.F.” 

On Thursday 7 Mar 1996, at 7.30pm and assisted by Mr McGowan, I quietly laid a bronze leaf engraved;

BABY CROUT
21 April 1934
SON OF CONNIE (NEE EVANS) AND HARRY CROUT
CEM EXT. PATH 4. PLOT 6

Although invited to the Formal Dedication Ceremony, the following Sunday, I had no need to attend. My heart, and mum’s, were at peace knowing our little boy had been claimed and acknowledged. This “heart’s ease” was only possible because of the work of David McGowan, and his supporters who were distressed by over 30,000 little bodies who lay in the forgotten fields at West Terrace Cemetery. Below is his description of the Baby Memorial they created.

David McGowan assisting in the laying of a memorial leaf – 7 Mar 1966

Thankyou Mr David McGowan
~~~~~~~~~~

Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. “Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family