When I returned home after time spent with my father, this past summer, I was determined to interview my paternal aunties about my family. I had never felt such an urgency to record their stories as I did after losing my Mom, her laughter and her memories. The thing is…once a person collects the archives, the narratives, the recordings and the photographs, it’s important to sort them into some concrete ‘container’. They need to take a shape.
This morning, my camera battery is plugged into the wall recharging. My tape recorder is set to pause at minute 22 of an interview with my Auntie Ruth Rollingson…my ancestral record from Dick Chandler (sent to me by my cousin, Anne) is open to L400 William Thomas Haddow and I am so excited and blessed, I am bursting at the seams! Auntie Ruth speaks about her memories of my Great Grandmother, Mary Eleanor Haddow’s crocheting and her obsession with good manners and courteous behaviour. Later, I will publish this recording here, as a part of the provenance of today’s MAGIC! But for now…I have to write about yesterday’s delivery.
Mary Eleanor Haddow, with her family. She is center back.
My grand Uncle, William Thomas Haddow (usually called Tom), married Emma Stafford. (much more to be said about Emma…as well as her brother Charles, who apparently ended up a well known photographer in Calgary and archived by the Glenbow Museum…but that will have to wait). Tom and Emma had two little girls; Agnes Mary (Mae) and Edith Emily. When Edith married Robert McKeown, she received as a gift, a crocheted table cloth from my Great Grandmother Mary Eleanor.
Yesterday, I received a box delivered to my door, from my beautiful cousin Anne who lives in Kansas…you guessed it! Wrapped in tissue, lovingly, and with photographs that provide treasured provenance, the table cloth. I broke out into tears AND hoots of every sort. My cousin, Margy, joined me at the feast table as I retold the story for her. I am so blessed beyond belief. I ran my fingers over the delicate crochet, knowing that this was made lovingly by a woman I treasure simply through the few stories that remain of her. I am grateful to you, dear Anne.
This photograph shows the table cloth in use sometime in the 1940s and includes young Anne, with her mother, Edith.
This next photograph shows Edith’s son, Gerry, enjoying a Christmas feast some time in the mid 1950s. An exceptional photograph…with a very special table cloth.
And this morning…warmed by Christmas light, the beautiful gift of a table cloth, to be treasured forever as a special remembrance and reminder of the power of family and of Christmas love. Your generosity amazes me…I cry as I type these words.