Handing Down


When I was a child, without fail each birthday I would receive a card from Great Aunt Dorothea. She was, in fact, my Great Great Aunt and to my knowledge I never met her. Separated by distance and generations, I may never have known anything about her were it not for my Uncle Bob.

Bob was my grandfather’s brother who decided to write the story of our family using records, letters, diaries, photos and the memories of living relatives. He spent his time turning these personal histories into books which he printed and bound for any of the family who wanted one. He wrote two volumes and was working on the third when he passed away.

I could retell the stories here, my forebears lived through dynamic and uncertain times. Aunt Dorothea and her brothers were scattered across the globe, living diverse lives yet still connected through their letters. Letters filled with every day life, news, grief, hopes and tigers. Letters which put me to shame in an age when I can contact my family in myriad ways yet rarely do. Letters asking for advice on conception signed ‘would be mother of six’ which make me smile and yearn for the very same number.

While I may dream of turning my recipes into a cook book or of penning a novel; if my words could reach anyone I hope they reach down the generations. I hope our every day is as fascinating in eighty years time as I found the lives of the generations before me. I hope I make the leap from obscure relative into their hearts, the way Dorothea and her brothers are in mine. This is my time capsule for them.

Oh, and if you’re reading this: there’s nothing wrong with Uncle Monty, that’s just the way he smiles.

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  • Reply Kate July 5, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    oh! how lovely. Those bound books sound absolutely precious!
    Question – do you know of a way to archive / back up a blog? (I write a blog for my two year old daughter on WP …perish the thought if ever I were to lose it!) x

    • Reply Kat July 6, 2011 at 1:38 pm

      Er, sadly just ring bound :)
      Yes – got to Tools – Export – then follow the steps to export posts to your hard drive. You can format blogs into books quite easily, I think something like Blurb – http://uk.blurb.com/ would work.

  • Reply northernmum July 5, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Lovely. And fab photo of the kids.x

    • Reply Kat July 6, 2011 at 1:38 pm

      Thank you x

  • Reply Bekka July 6, 2011 at 12:08 am

    So lovely to read this post. Fascinating and true. Montys face is great but tell me what has Betsy spotted across the garden! I do like the way her big sister is holding her. Lovely family you are – and I can imagine you with 6! x

    • Reply Kat July 6, 2011 at 1:38 pm

      Betsy and Milla are watching some acrobats!

  • Reply yummychunklet July 6, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Wonderful post!

  • Reply cartside July 7, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Oh what a treasure those books must be. I’d love to have something like that, so much gets lost so quickly. I’ve tried a bit of family tree stuff, but there’s not much information, and it’s so hard to really get a glimpse of what life was like on an everyday basis.

    • Reply Kat July 15, 2011 at 7:36 pm

      I put it down to a lifetime of hoarding! My Great Grandmother had heaps of letters which gave Bob lots of information. The one thing that comes through is that they are not so different from us, just earlier.

  • Reply CLAIRE July 10, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    You’re already doing it to a degree. I have saved my pregnancy blog in to a document which when I get round to it will be for Lola! Im also insanely jealous. We have little known family history. Blame divorce and whatnot. Sigh.

    • Reply Kat July 15, 2011 at 7:39 pm

      You should give it to her when she’s pregnant!

  • Reply Bristol Parenting Cafe July 11, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Love that photo! One year on I’m still waiting for a photo where all 3 of mine are looking in the same direction with all their eyes open. How amazing to have all that family history. Can you tell me more about the tigers?

    • Reply Kat July 15, 2011 at 7:42 pm

      Ah, tigers! My favourite tiger story:

      Dorothea had been living in Burma for some time but had yet to see a tiger, something which vexed her. One day she was followed through the jungle by a ‘curious yellow creature’ which she shooed away when it had been tracking her for some time. She drew the creature and sent the picture to her brother (my great grandfather). He replied with some mirth that her yellow creature was in fact a tiger – yikes!

  • Reply Bec Metcalf July 12, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    I think you have just summed up why I blog, as a keepsake for the children. Memories are precious and we don’t savour them in the moment, only when looking back I think. i need to remember that whenever I feel rubbish or down about Beetroot&Gherkins.
    I am in love with Monty’s face in that picture, just scrummy.
    (And I also could imagine you with 6!Myself also!)

  • Reply Caroljs July 15, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    That’s fantastic I wish I knew more about my family, maybe one day I will get around to researching my family tree

    • Reply Kat July 15, 2011 at 7:45 pm

      I am really lucky, I don’t know if I’d have the patience for researching it myself.

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