Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers through the generations....

To My Mum and Nana

My Grandmother Doris Morgan and my Mum, Marjorie
on their way to a family picnic at the Botanical Gardens
c. 1944

 I miss you Mum; I miss you Nana. 

I think you would both be pleased at what I (the back sheep of the family) have achieved, and I know that you Mum, would be excited at the information I have found since I took on your role as Family historian, and the new family connections that I have made. Many of your cousin’s children are now interested in Family History, one of whom even holds a Roberts Family Reunion each year. I’m sure you wish you could be part of the excitement of discovering new relatives and finding out about their stories. 

Roberts Family Reunion 2011
I remember as a child the large extended family gatherings that took place in the  Botanical Gardens in Sydney; all the kids running and playing hide and seek amongst the tree roots, and rock caves that seemed so large back then. This must have been a long standing tradition as I have a photo of you as a child attending just such a gathering. I wish I knew who all those women were; how are they related to us? Where did they live and what did they do? From electoral rolls, I realize most of the women were stay at home mothers, with “HD” (Home Duties) given as their occupation. Were you the only one who had to work? Did they know or care about their convict ancestry? So, so many questions; questions that I bet you knew the answers to, but which I can only guess at.

We were such a large and connected family back then, nothing was more important. But I was a child and took it all for granted; sometimes even found it a nuisance having to “Go and visit Auntie Stella…”; “Take this down to Uncle Tom’s….”; so many eyes in our small suburb which all seemed focused on what I was up to, that I eventually left. Now the remnants of that large community are spread far and wide, and I so wish that I could just walk down the street a couple of house and have a cuppa with Auntie Thel or Auntie Mavis, and hear the stories again – this time paying attention instead of fidgeting and being anxious to get down the beach instead.

I'm only just discovering how many people in our small community I am related to… The Burn’s, Cree’s, Cotton’s….., names I am familiar with, but was unaware of the family connections until recently. So just who are all these women and children? I know that you are there Mum with your Auntie Vi (bottom right), Nana, you are also there right in the middle, as is your Mother-in-law, My Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Olive Roberts (Dillon) (2nd from right, top row); but the rest..., I really wish I knew. I wish you were here to tell me.

Roberts family gathering at the Botanical Gardens, Sydney
c. 1934
And Nana, this is a picture of your Grandmother, Louisa Morgan (Nicolls), daughter of two convicts who were transported to Tasmania, and eulogized as “A Grand Old Pioneer” pouring the tea. Just what was the occasion that called for the wearing such hats? Surely not just afternoon tea with the rellies! And just who they are I have even less chance of finding out, but I am still glad to possess this picture, so thanks Nana for keeping it for me, even if I can only wonder… 

Louisa Morgan, doing the duties at Afternoon Tea, probably at her home in Lidcombe, NSW
c. 1900?

Love from Linda

xxx xxx

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Merry Month of May Music Meme

The Merry Month of May Music Meme : a meme for your amusement (or not)

1. Song(s)/Music from your childhood: It was an… Itsy Bitsy, Teeny Weeny, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

  2. Song(s)/ Musos from your teenage years: Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Joan Baez, The Band, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, The Doors, Eric Burden….

  3. First live concert you attended: Billy Thorpe at Coogee Oval (Sydney), 1963?

  4. Songs your parents sang along to: Dad: Australian Country Music classics like Slim Dusty; Mum: Welsh Choirs and Harry Secombe and Burl Ives.

5.     Song(s)/Music your grandparents sang/played: Don’t think they did – Granddad only had the wireless on for the ABC News at 6pm. Though right into their 70's Nana and Granddad would go to a dance at the local RSL at least twice a week (fox fur draped over Nana's shoulders), so they probably enjoyed waltzes, foxtrots and other dance music of their era - Granddad was an excellent dancer!

6.     Did your family have sing-a-longs at home or a neighbours: At Christmas we sang Carols at my Great Grandmother’s house – 2 houses away; most of my great Aunts and Uncles and their families all came too as we all lived close to each other.

7.     Did you have a musical instrument at home: As a child, No; However my husband was very musical and we had multiple guitars, electric piano even a drum kit for a short while ; Two sons "played" saxophone when in primary school (Oh my poor ears, even with bedroom and hallway doors closed) and my husband and his mates would gather for regular "jams" that would last well into the night

Youngest son daring to touch (one of) his Dad's guitars
8.  What instruments do you play (if any): None

9.  What instruments do you wish you could play: Piano, Guitar

10. Do you/did you play in a band or orchestra: No

11. Do you/did you sing in a choir: No, but I’d like to! One son was in the Australian Boys Choir, but left as he hated wearing a “dress”

12. Music you fell in love to/with or were married to: When a man loves a woman (Percy Sledge), Stand by me (John Lennon), Dance me to the end of love (Leonard Cohen) were played at my wedding.

13. Romantic music memories: Being serenaded by both my first boyfriend and my husband who could (and still can) play guitar and sing quite well

14. Favourite music genre(s): Soul, Blues, Gospel, Country AND Western, Bluegrass, Contemporary folk, classical….

15. Favourite classical music: Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. I used to know all the words in German and could sing along - "Freunde" (badly) still love to pretend to conduct!

16. Favourite opera/light opera: Madame Butterfly (Puccini); especially the aria "One fine day" - very moving and emotional

17. Favourite musical: On stage? None; Maybe Gilbert and Sullivan

18.  Favourite pop: Not sure how that is defined, but not really my scene

19.    Favourite world/ethnic: Cajun music (and food) from Louisiana

20.   Favourite jazz: John Coltrane

21.     Favourite country or folk: Johnny Cash, Carter Family,  Alison Krauss

22.    Favourite movie/show musical: Singing in the rain, Sound of music, The music man on a rainy Saturday afternoon

23.   Favourite sounds tracks: O Brother where art thou?; Morning of the Earth (Surf movie from 1972), Woodstock

24.  What music do you like to dance to: If it has a beat, I’m up there!

25.  What dances did you do as a teenager: Swim, Twist, Stomp… (stomp, stompin’ at Maroubra, everybody’s doing the Maroubra stomp!) Yes Little Patty lived at Maroubra, close to my Great Aunt

26.  Do you use music for caller ID on your mobile: None, I like the sound of a phone ringing to let me know my phone is ringing

27.  What songs do you use for caller ID: None

28.   What songs do your children like or listen to: Anything from Rap to World Music and Bluegrass. They are diversifying and more discerning as they get older

29. Favourite live music concerts as an adult: Leonard Cohen, Bo Didley, John Lee Hooker Jnr, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, John Butler, Xavier Rudd…. Many seen at festivals such as The "New Orleans Jazz Fest"  and the "East Coast Blues and Roots Festival" held at Byron Bay, which we try to get to at least every second year

30.  Silly music memories from your family: Dad singing ...Home, home on the range… where the deer and the antelope play…

31. Silliest song you can think of: Jake the Peg (Rolf Harris)

32.  Pet hate in music/singing: Manufactured pop groups, lip syncing

33.   A song that captures family history for you: Home, home on the range… where the deer and the antelope play… it was an ever recurring event….  
NOTE: It was strange that my Dad always told my mother that she couldn't sing, as I have recently found out that she entered many, many eisteddfods right though her childhood and early teens, and received not top, but very good marks!

34. If you could only play 5 albums (assume no iPods or mp3) for the rest of your life, what would they be: Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, O Brother, Morning of the Earth, Johnny Cash

35. Favourite artists (go ahead and list as many as you like): Music or Painters? Either way I love nearly all music if it’s original, moving and well executed; same with art.