I’m lying in bed feeling sorry for myself. It’s ten days since I caught this virus from, guess who? my significant other. The first flu I’ve had for years and, guess what? It went straight to my newly 20/20 vision eyes… Yes, nowhere else but there! Until today, when I felt nauseous and knew it wasn’t from “you know what”! Perhaps the tummy ache is a good sign, the last kick of the virus before it leaves for good…
Good things have been happening, too. A descendant from a shared long deceased relative has got in touch with my sister and me to find out about her ancestors, especially one Kitty Walker. Kitty figures slightly in my recently, almost finished, memoir about a dysfunctional past. (And also in my brother’s genealogy book “A Little Bit of Irish”).
This person who got in touch, ironically via my brother in France, I’ll call “Heather”. She is the daughter of Kitty’s daughter— let’s call her “Meg”—who was brought up in an orphanage in Sydney, and died at a relatively young age, after getting married and having a family, including Heather.
The photo of Mum (above with Dad) was taken at about the time poor little Meg was being put into an orphanage at age seven or so. Kitty was Mum’s aunt, the sister of her father. I never knew her. She must have had the child Meg late in life, possibly in her late forties. No one in the extended family I grew up in, seemed to know about this at the time.
It’s great when you feel a past hurt is able to be soothed by your actions. What hurt, you ask? Some people in my extended childhood family refused to give answers a long time ago when the orphaned woman, Meg, came begging: not for money, but for information about her family tree.
“This Kitty ended up in the gutter!” was the ignorant excuse passed down through the years, and “the daughter’s no doubt from the same litter”, only wants a handout from us.
It all boils down to ignorance and shame. This withholding of information leads to more ignorance and false assumptions further down the track. Yes, there was alcoholism in our family tree, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a symptom of emotional problems, and often of an amazing gene—or genes—shared by many creative people like Kitty Walker: the artistic ones!
So it’s back to Ancestry searches and telephone calls for me, to try to fill in some missing gaps.
If anyone out there has any more information, please let us know for this person’s sake.
Kitty Walker, born 1886 in Grafton NSW, Australia, was artistic and a singer, and helped the campaign to get Sir Earle Page elected into parliament. She had a vibrant social life before, perhaps, falling on hard times in later years.
The other good things? My memoir is nearly ready; and I’ve been invited to write for a New York based website, which encourages creatives to have their say. My posts on the site, “My Trending Stories”, are so far mainly of poems I’ve written down through the years.