Saturday, May 16, 2015

LETTY'S BIO - CHAPTER 1

I decided to discontinue the "my view" series for the time being, and launch instead into my mother's autobiography. She began it in 1975, when she was hospitalized. It was the beginning of her writing, and the most evocative for me. I hope you enjoy it.

This story is dedicated to
Melinda Joy Deines,
My Beloved, First, Grandchild


Dear Melinda, I am not much of an author, but you inspired me to write this sort of "diary" so you would have some idea of what life and living was like when I was little, like you. Also as a young girl, and an adult. When you read it, I will likely be old, and I hope you will get some pleasure and laughs out of it. How many more years I have left before me, I don't know, but I hope to see you a young lady.  Gran xxx

Our Family and My Birth


Some families have very impressive ancestors, but mine were very much the other way. The only claim to fame is that I am a direct descendant of William Penn, the Quaker who founded Pennsylvania, USA, on my Mother's side. (later research indicated this cannot possibly be true, since William Penn died with no direct descendants. Perhaps we are related to him through his siblings and their children. No-one knows.)

My dear Father, Walter Laws, was born in a very poor family who lived in Birmingham, England, in 1874. When he was six years old, he and his sister Emily, next to him, were taken from their home and sent out to part of the British Empire (Canada) as immigrants, to work for a certain family until they were eighteen years old. Such was the custom in those days, with poor families. He never again did see his parents, or other five sisters and brothers.
This is the only photo I have of my Grandfather as a child. It was his passport photo.

My grandfather was a victim of the Home Children program which took children from poor families and settled them in workhouses in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. He was placed on a farm in Ontario where he was treated like a slave; which, in fact, he was, since he was not free to leave until he was eighteen years old. His sister, Emily, fared somewhat better in the house where she worked. What is considered shocking and reprehensible now, was considered a brilliant piece of social engineering at the time.