Writeryogini

Writeryogini

Friday, February 17, 2012

Solving a family mystery - Priceless!

Some of you who've followed me for a while will remember my quest to find out where my mother lived - and with whom - when she was evacuated with her boarding school in England, to Beaumaris, Wales, at the start of WWII. At first, we didn't even know what school she was at, but we followed the leads and confirmed that it was the Liverpool Blue Coat School (for orphans and fatherless children). Through the school, I found a woman who was a friend of Mom's. She and I have exchanged letters, and she even sent me the page from her autograph book that my mother had signed - in fact, Mom was the first person to sign this lady's book.

Then, today, my brother was going through a box of old stuff and discovered a food ration card with Mom's name on it ... AND ... her address in Beaumaris! Don't know where that box has been or why my brother has it or why we never knew about it before!

I went straight to Google Earth and was able to hone right in on the front door of the house that my mother lived in. It's just where it should be, based on her description in an essay she wrote in 1940, after she had returned to the U.S. Just as she described, it faces the Menai Strait and the green she spoke of playing on with her friends. I feel like Mom is guiding us toward knowing her story, but she is taking her time about it! Now that we have the address, I've written to the nice people in Beaumaris who helped me before, and asked if there is a way we can find out who lived at that address in 1939 - 1940. That would be the older woman my mother spoke of staying with.

Here is where she lived, second archway from the left in the closer-up picture:


It's amazing what technology can do - I found the address on google earth and then took a picture of my computer screen with my iphone.

I also promised you pictures of dessert from our lunch yesterday, so here they are:


Dick's dessert - chocolate cake with mousse-y stuff and whipped cream



My dessert - an almond crust, chocolate mousee, and inside, strawberries. YUM
 Today I'm teaching the Restorative Yoga class at 11. The yoga teacher who has breast cancer is having her surgery at 12:30, so we'll send out lots of healing oms and prayers to her. You can add yours in too, if you feel so inclined. The more positive energy going her way, the better!

If I haven't visited your blog this week, I plan to catch up this weekend!



42 comments:

  1. How exciting to be hot on your Moms trail.

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  2. So your mom was from the US, was in boarding school in England and then came back to the US? So interesting. Was she an orphan?

    Your desserts look yummy. And I will pray for your yoga teacher.

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    1. Hi Lynn - no, she fell into the "fatherless child" category. My grandparents came to the US from England around 1920. My grandfather had taken off by about 1933, never to be heard from again. My grandmother was a governess here in the US, so it was hard for her to do that and care for Mom. So, she sent Mom to England to stay with Mom's grandmother (my grandmother's mother). But then she passed away and the other relatives didn't want to deal with Mom. That is how she ended up in boarding school. Then my grandmother brought my mother back to the states in 1940, because the war had started.

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  3. Oh how wonderful you found your mom's place! Isn't Google Earth amazing? I do remember your quest for this, and it's so amazing that your brother happened to come upon that post card. We sure never know what we can find when going through boxes!

    The desserts look amazing. Best wishes and good thoughts to your yoga friend.

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    1. Hi Julie - I didn't think we would get answers to our questions, so I'm amazed that we actually are. Thanks for the good thoughts for my friend.

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  4. That's so exciting! This is a facet of techology that is so inspirational; the fact you can find a picture of your mother's house in a few clicks. Imagine what else is out there waiting for you!

    I'm lucky to have an aunt who has done extensive geneaology research for the last 15 years. It's amazing what she's uncovered. We found our family has been in the U.S. for a long time, like 1600s Baltimore with William Penn. I asked her once about Ellis Island and she laughed. "Oh, honey, we'd been here centuries before Ellis Island started collecting names." Well, OK! Wow.

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    1. That's so funny. My grandparents on Mom's side definitely came through Ellis Island, but I think my paternal ones were here with yours :-)

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  5. That's so wondeful. I'm so glad the house still stands, so you can see what it looks like - it makes the history all the more real.

    I'd love to follow my grandparents history, but they came from Ukraine just after the war, and I don't know where to start - all the papers they had when they arrived have disappeared.

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    1. It can be daunting. I just started writing to people and asking questions. The folks in England and Wales were so helpful. I'm glad the house stands too. It's really nice to know which one it was.

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  6. How wonderful that you found an address!
    Prayers on their way for your friend.
    Blessings, Joanne

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  7. Those moments of discovery when doing family history are so exciting! Although rare, you will now scurry down that new path before the next barrier and, of course, another breakthrough.

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    1. That's just how it seems to happen, Stephanie.

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  8. SO EXCITING THAT YOU ARE HAVING GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR SEARCH.

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    1. Thanks, it's a real breakthrough!

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  9. I think I like your dessert best :)

    Good luck with learning more about your mom. You're doing great.

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    1. It was decadent, in the best possible way :-)

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  10. How wonderful to be able to track down more of your mother's history. You are inspiring me to start looking. Thank you.

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    1. I thought we were stymied. And then, this box of old things, somehow magically appears in my brother's possession. it's a real gift.

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  11. I haven't known you long, so I didn't know of your quest to learn about your mother. How exciting. The internet is an amazing thing, that's for sure. Blows my mind sometimes. Happy for you and your brother. :)

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  12. That's such exciting news! Wow!

    I hope you can find the people she was staying with; keep us posted!

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    1. Emily - I think I will be able to find out now who it was. I didn't think this would be possible. I'm a bit in awe of how things can happen.

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  13. I remember you mentioning this in a comment on my post, I can't wait to hear more about it. How fascinating you had the address all along but never knew.
    Those desserts look so yummy, please tell me you both ate every last bit of them?:P
    Sending some love to your friend hope she feels better soon :)
    Universal Gibberish

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    1. Anna, I feel like Mom is helping us now - I have a book in mind inspired by her experience - I think she is helping me gather details.

      Hubby had to help me finish mine, but it was good and we left no crumbs

      Thanks for the love. She is a lovely person.

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  14. That desert looks divine!!

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  15. Wow! Google Earth is just amazing isn't it...

    I hope you find what you are looking for, and keep us posted!

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  16. What a great find and thank you for sharing the picture with us. Wonderful stuff. Amazing what we can find now.

    Namaste.

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  17. Great idea to use Google Earth! That's awesome.

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    1. It's really cool to travel down the streets of this little town in Wales. Truly amazing.

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  18. Dear Melissa,
    Great news for you and your family. Now I'm wondering if there's a book here about you mom as a child and this journey out of England to Wales.

    Peace.

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    1. Dee - there is. I actually already started it, but I will finish the sequel to The Christmas Village first and then devote myself to this one.

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  19. How exciting to find that card and what an amazing resource Google Earth is! I am sure the history of the house and its owners will be unearthable in time...good luck...!

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    1. I think we will be able to answer our questions now - yes. It feels a bit miraculous to me, as I had given up hope.

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  20. Google Earth is amazing. How wonderful that you found and could actually see where your mother lived.

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    1. I know. Now when I go there, I will know. Somehow that matters!

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  21. That's so cool you were able to find where she was staying! I wish you the best of luck on your search.

    And can I say--Chocolate...YUM!

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    1. Thank you - and yes it was so YUM!

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