Saturday, 19 May 2012

Anniversaries and other twaddle

If three-score years and ten really is the allotted span, then everything from here on in is a bonus.  Yes, folks, today I have reached that mythological milestone.  Today is also the birthday of my great-great-great-aunt Phoebe.  Her 220th.  Well, it would be if she were still with us.

One result of my enforced inactivity this past week has been that I have spent far too much time in front of my computer digging around in the dusty archives of parish registers and other obscure corners adding to my already extensive family tree.  Hence the bit about Great-Aunt Phoebe.  I had been aware of her existence but it was only a few days ago that I learned she and I share a birthday.

A relatve I had not previously encountered was a distant cousin named Walter whose history gave me cause to stop and ponder.  Born in a very small village in East Anglia, he left home in the mid-1880s to seek a new life across the Atlantic.  Exactly how old he was in uncertain as he quotes the year of his arrival in the USA as any one of three in the various census returns I have examined.  However, he was either 14, 15 or 16 at the time - which seems pretty young to me.  Somehow he ended up in Cincinnati where he found employment as a driver with US Express, a job he kept for many years.  He married, had a daughter, divorced and married again, although I have been unable to find what happened to wife number two.  His later years were spent moving around Cincinnati from one boarding house to another until he died in 1953.  Oddly though, there is mention in a newspaper report of a cousin and another daughter, the cousin then living in Cincinnati although there was no mention in the report of the daughter's whereabouts.

I had rather assumed that Walter had led a somewhat solitary and, perhaps, rather unhappy life without ever seeing any of his family after leaving England.  But my assumption was probably wrong as he was a member of bothe the Odd Fellows and the Masonic lodges in Cincinatti.

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This is not the picture I had intended to post today but I stumbled across it quite by chance in my Picasa album on-line and thought it not totally inappropriate.  You see here the South Downs behind Brighton.  On the right are buildings of the University of Sussex while on the left can be seen part of Coldean, a Brighton suburb.  This picture was taken two years ago when that field suddenly burst into a riot of colourful poppies.


3 comments:

Buck said...

Happy Birthday!

I have a lil less than three years until I reach my allotted time. I think it's gonna be a near-run thing if I make it at all.

#1Nana said...

Happy Birthday and best wishes for many more bonus years!

Uncle Skip, said...

Happy Birthday, Brian. Sorry I'm so slow on the uptake.

Somebody ...actually two somebodies ...sent me one of those life expectancy quizzes insurance companies have. If anyone wants to try it, let me know.