My maternal grandmother was a wonderful woman. She was kind, caring and nothing was ever too much for her to do. She was a talented cook, dressmaker and gardener, all self taught. Grandma was a bit of a rebel though.
She fell in love with a travelling salesman back in 1918. He obviously had a charismatic nature and before too long Grandma found out she was pregnant. Back in those days it was almost enough to be sent to the gallows if one became pregnant out of wedlock.
Grandma stuck it out though. She was sent packing by her mother and father and ended up being a housekeeper for a wealthy Vaucluse, Sydney family.
Gran worked up until the day my mother was born. Despite the pressure from so-called social workers, and the stigma of being an unmarried mother, she decided to keep her baby.
This was an extremely brave thing to do. There was no welfare for anyone back then in 1920. There was also no help from parents or anyone else. Being an unmarried mother made her an outcast in society.
The wealthy family stood by her though. They let her keep her job and stay with them, baby and all. What a wonderful family they were.
Grandma never told the travelling salesman about being pregnant. He had a wife and children so she did not want to complicate things even more than they were.
For four years Gran worked in Sydney. While on an outing to the Botanical Gardens, Gran met Arthur. He was a merchant seaman and instantly took a liking to Gran.
They married a short while after meeting and Arthur joined the public service so he would always be there for Gran and my mum.
A few years later Gran had a second daughter. This girl was a delight and very musically talented. The family was now complete.
Arthur and Gran led an interesting life, moving from one project to the other. They eventually retired to Victoria in 1962. Sadly, Arthur passed away just six months after retirement. Gran stayed in the little house they bought together until her death at age 94.
Incidently, my mother never knew Arthur was not her real father until she was in her mid-30s.