Saturday, October 13, 2012


My maternal grandmother suffered through many hardships in the early part of her life. Her husband died young from a war-related illness leaving her with five children under five years of age. Her house burned to the ground shortly afterwards and she lost everything. One of her children contracted polio. All of this happened during the Great Depression of the 1930's.
She struggled on and kept her family together, devoting her life to her children who all grew up to be wonderful people.
When she was in her 70's, Nana was hit by a car and sustained serious injuries. She eventually recovered, the only long-term effect being that she never regained the full use of one hand. This never held her back though. She learnt to write with her other hand and continued to sew (her greatest passion)  for many years to come.
After the car accident, Nana received a substantial compensation payout which enabled her to do something she had never had the opportunity (or funds) to do when she was younger : she decided to travel.
Jumping in at the deep end, her first trip, at the age of 75, was to Europe.
While sorting through boxes in our storage area, I came across Nana's travel scrapbooks from the 1970's. What treasures they are!
She possibly kept some sort of journal while she was overseas but it's more likely that she simply committed everything to memory  then transcribed all the day-to-day details about her trip into the scrapbooks pictured when she got home. Instead of taking photos she purchased postcards everywhere she travelled. Unfortunately, there are a few gaps here and there where postcards have fallen out or possibly been removed. (I vaguely recall children using some for school projects?) There is only one photo of her actually on the trip - taken on a tour in Amsterdam.

I've been reading several excerpts from these scrapbooks. Nana had quite a way with words. This from the above page:

"London needs lots of time - which of course tourists don't have. So much to take in, one rather gets indigestion in swallowing too fast and trying to fix it all in the memory.....But how grand it will be to say to myself ..... I've seen that or been there!"

She definitely developed a taste for travel after this, as the other scrapbooks feature many subsequent trips to various locations in Australia.
Nana was a truly inspirational woman. Whenever I become a little apprehensive about the thought of travelling to Europe myself, I simply remind myself of what my grandmother achieved at an even more advanced age.


The Elephant's Child said...

What a wonderful woman - and those scrapbooks/journals are an incredible treasure. Thank you - and you are right about her way with words.

Anonymous said...

Yes an amazing woman, who by the way got me first interested in gardening when she showed me her garden at Stathdon ? Would love to look at those scrapbooks cheers bro x