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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

intermittent light

listen too............."Song To The Siren"
the gentle author;aged 10-ish?Leith Docks.A photo taken by my Mum.
Robert Louis Stevenson's grandfather invented the ‘intermittent’ lights for lighthouses as well as planned and/or constructed 23 lighthouses.Click Here to read how I am related to R.L.S.  Last Friday was my late Mum's birthday.............and Sunday is Mothers Day in England..........which holds an abstract interest for me......

This is another of my rather magnificent twinkling  Sepia Saturday posts.
My maternal grandmother died in childbirth.My maternal grandfather was a sailor.He married 3 times (2 wives died)
(Tellingly)My mother always felt he (rather than her) had abandoned her.
He never really was with her......'got himself a new wife & a new ship......meanwhile ,my Mum was looked after by distant spinster aunts.He only saw her intermittently......then  died in Malta a few months after I was born.We never saw each other.I know nothing of him other than my Mum's bitterness & these  few old photos............maybe genealogists are mistaken? Better to leave the past hidden?Things usually are lost or hidden for a reason......... 



I always thought I would visit his grave in Malta, but am not sure to what purpose?
"My Father Was A Lighthouse Keeper":Lyrics

Let me be an advocate for my Mum and ask you to look  at the above photo of  her 6th birthday party
.( And then, read here) ! He came for the "photo-opportunity " .Note the body language + positioning.............I feel she got a bit of a raw deal, despite what the above "evidence" may suggest.
last year I came across this photo  (never seen before by me)of my Mum on facebook.She worked at The Laura Mitchel  Clinic in Halifax in the 1970's.

Marjory Francis Zimnoch nee Younger.

37 comments:

Kurt said...

Malta is lovely this time of year.

tony said...

Yea,I,ve never been there.Reports suggest it's a Love It or Loathe It Kinda Place.Maybe I Will Go at some point.If I Do,and when the cop at passport control asks me about 'The Purpose Of Visit'
I Say ......?

Akelamalu said...

How sad for your Mum, and you that you never knew your grandfather.

Brian Miller said...

that is a pretty cool picture of you tony....just tell them you are there to visit family...smiles.

Kristin said...

Tell them you are there to visit your grandfather's grave. Doesn't everybody visit relatives graves? Is that strange? I never knew.

My daughter and I are planning a trip to Montgomery, Alabama to visit family graves with her 9 year old twins. They are thrilled.

Wish I had a photo of me looking as cool as you do by a ship.

tony said...

My Mum Never Went To His Funeral:Never Visited His Grave.For Me To Visit Now Would Almost Feel Disloyal To Her Memory.......

Postcardy said...

There's no point in going to Malta especially to visit his grave, but it would be nice to visit if you were already there.

Sean Bentley said...

Only thing I know about Malta is that Anthony Burgess lived there awhile. Great photos - love the white sox!

Martin said...

Tony, a totally honest and moving post. I read your words with Tim Buckley playing in the background, and a lump in my throat.

Boobook said...

I think I'd want to visit his grave. It's not his fault that he died and is buried so far from family - it's a sailor's occupational hazard.

tony said...

His backstory is a bit hazy to me.Mum didn't talk much of him.
He had several occupations before sailing.A hairdresser (in Leven,Fife) for example.A Prominent local counsellor/Mayor of the town (Tory I imagine!)..
..He chose to be a sailor:he chose to leave the scene he was in.

Little Nell said...

Some sad elements to this story Tony, but on the upside - you're related to RLS!

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

You are so cute! What a great picture, and I loved the song.

I am sorry that your Mum was badly hurt by your grandfather's choices and indifference. Maybe he thought that she was better off without him, and that she was fine where she was. Or, maybe he really was just selfish and just wanted to do what he wanted to do.

I have one Great-Uncle who "abandoned" his wife and two sons when they were babies, though he did have a relationship with them when they were older. I always held a grudge against him, until I started getting into the letters from his ex-wife and realized that yes, he was selfish, but he was never around even when they were married due to work, hospital stays, etc. The bond was never strong enough to keep him around forever. She ended up living with her parents and he knew that they were safe. Didn't send much money to help out, either. He felt terrible when his son stopped by to visit on his way to war and needed some money (not much). Hobert said, no (though his new wife slipped some to Dan on the side). That was the last time that Hobert ever saw Dan alive, and he sure did feel guilty about not giving him any money. Serves him right.

You certainly are under no obligation to visit your grandfather's grave. But as you find out more about him and learn about his "other" sides, perhaps you can begin to forgive him for the hurt he caused your Mum. A big order, that's for sure!

Take care,

Kathy M.

tony said...

Yes Kathy, there must be a whole other side to this history.And,to be fair, he seemed to have financially looked after my Mum as she grew up....Men ,in general,are often emotionally absent ...especially in those days.

Big Mark 243 said...

The musical accompanying this and the other post you linked to is quite moving... along with the words and photos... "the dreams about me"... wow, I feel myself sad for your Mum... and for you as well, but hers may well have been a more profound sadness, as she knew what she was missing with her husband lost to the sea...

Bob Scotney said...

A sad story about your family Tony. As I never knew my grandparents I can't tell how I would react to such a situation.
I'd visit Malta if I had a chance since my elder brother spent time there during WWII.

Brett Payne said...

We sure are complicated people. I found this post moving, not so much because of the sad story (and it is a sad story), but for the sensitive way in which you've approached it.

The photo of the birthday party is very telling ... Marjory's father is physically about as far from Marjory as he can get without actually removing himself from the photo altogether, and your mother's the only one in the group not looking at the photographer.

"the genes of Dr Jekyll, Mr Hyde & Treasure Island" AND The Rocket - illustrious company indeed.

Karen said...

A sad story - for both you and your mother. A precious photograph of your mother's 6th birthday.

Jill M Hodgson said...

Although she was felt abandonment, your mum was obviously able to go on to create a close family of her own.... our second chance to have what we've missed. She did well!

Those days of the "spinster aunts" eh? They took up a lot of the slack in families when called for.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Cool picture and very moving post sir.

Ann ODyne said...

Oh Kristen above: Hank Williams is buried at Montgomery AL and one of Steve Young's many great songs is about visiting his grave, It's called Montgomery In The Rain.
worth finding online

This Australians only 2 Malta facts:
Her Maj and the DoE lived in Malta as newlyweds; and the Maltese had a really rotten time in WW2
Tony you were a cute kid - I'm thinking Just William.
The trip seems to be something you need. The G-F is no different from thousands of other men in his situation. Enormous guilt over a wife dying in childbirth, and thinking everyone in the family must hate him. Going to sea was his Foreign Legion moment.
Customs: just tell them it's 'genealogy' which is a huge travel area these days.

tony said...

It's true, I never realized but my Mum is the only one not looking into the camera.As to the Doll she holds....It seems a constant companion. here is another photo of the pair.Also here is my 2008 post about her death in 2008.

Kristin said...

It may be true, as you mention above,that things are hidden for a reason. But unless we look we will never know or understand what the reason actually was.

I am sorry your mother felt/was abandoned and rejected. I hope that her marriage was a good one and allowed her to have some better feelings. My mother wouldn't have gone to his funeral either. But I think I would still investigate because that is what I do.

Ann, thank you for the suggestions! We're mainly going to visit family graves but will put Hank on the list.

Kristin said...

Just wanted to add that this is a wonderful post, the music, the photos, the story.

Joy said...

How sad for your mother, I can understand her bitterness. Pity he died early sometimes parents get a second chance with their grandchildren. I've been to Malta briefly but so long ago that it was when the characterful old buses with their St Christophers swaying by the windscreen used to trundle around the island.

barbara and nancy said...

How sad - your mother's history. And the music too.
Nancy

Mike Brubaker said...

There's always a hidden story in every family generation. So many get lost and never told. And that's what good songs are for.

Kathy Morales said...

Some of us need to search for answers and explanations while others do not - although with the generations still living I keep things hidden. Not everyone whose blood we share lives up to our hopes and expectations, but their influence on our families is clear. Well done..... your words, wonderful pictures, and music to set the tone.

Karen S. said...

Your mum took the coolest picture! You're such a grown up adorable young captain of the sea! Great song too!

Hazel Ceej said...

You look you, Captain T. Lighthouses are fascinating things; subject of many a poem.

Tattered and Lost said...

I always think of the horrible Donald Rumsfeld's statement about going to war and change it to "You go through life with the family you're given, not the family you want."

Then we spend a lifetime trying to replace the people who have harmed us.

Teresa Wilson Rogers said...

Nice picture of you, think I would have recognized you anywhere! :-)

On a more serious note, families are a complicated and mysterious entity. I think if you ever get the chance, you should visit your grandfather's grave site. I'm sure he had his regrests and we have no way of knowing what happened before, and can only move forward for our own sakes. Thanks for sharing this Tony.

Alan Burnett said...

Looking at that picture of you when you were young, and the sidebar picture of you now and that picture of your grandfather, looking at the faces, there is a certain look common to all three.

Joanne Casey said...

I love your old photos, Tony. So many stories

L. D. said...

The picture of you is so great. I at first thought it was pulled from a postcard until you shared that it was you. Gtreat posting.

FrankandMary said...

I do believe it is always a bit more complicated than that(as you mentioned). And someone can be excessively lonely in a crowd. At times I am more so that way.

I can relate to the "abstract" of Mother's Day.

TICKLEBEAR said...

Mothers Day becomes less offensive to me over time. The first time after her passing 920070, I kept getting emails about Mothers day Specials and deleted them in anger... Now, I just delete them, no feelings.

Grandpa doesn't seem like a nice kind of fellow to behave like that, but he wouldn't be the first. Why should you visit his grave in Malta? Closure!! Been there, done that, NEXT!!

I know my parents didn't say too much about their respective childhood, and what I've found out, some I really didn't like.
Could have done without it.
:/~
HUGZ