Thursday, 26 April 2007

the fabulous briscombe girls...

It's funny. Ever since I started blogging I've begun to think a lot about my past and where I'm from. Perhaps, due to the fact that my sister read my diary when I was 11, and I swore that I would never commit to writing my thoughts again, I want to now create some record of the people, places, events and third hand tales that have shaped me over the years.

One of the biggest insipirations of my life has been my grandmother. Throughout her life (and even after she died) she remains the one anchor in my life. She had a pretty tough life in a lot of ways. The youngest of 5 girls and the daugther of a beautiful raven haired Irish women by the name of Olive and an incredibly bright, charming, extremely religous and more than a little eccentric man, Everett.

Olive and Everett had fallen in love at a young age and quickly settled down to marriage and children. Everett had trained as a priest before deciding on a life in the law and whisky in the evening. As was the case amongst many Catholic families the children arrived quickly and consistently. Leading up to the depression, my great grandfather fell deeper and deeper in to the solace of drink and the company of colleagues leaving the young Olive at home with 5 girls under the age of 8. When she annouced in early 1926 that she was expecting her 6th child, Everett was livid. He made it clear that this was not welcome news and he held her personally responsible. A month later Olive died of septecimia as a result of a backyard abortion. She was 31.

The five remaining girls were separated and spread amongst various family members. My grandmother was sent to live with her Aunt and Grandmother in Mosman where they owned a milkbar. Everett would visit perhaps once a year and my grandmother would not know her sisters until she was much older. The love of her grandmother and aunt allowed her to grow up in to an amazingly strong women and she went on to marry my granfather who adored her until the day he died.

My grandmother gives me the strength to believe that I can be anything I want to be. I was born on 20th December 1978. She was born on the 18th December 1925. Every year on her birthday she told me that I was the best late birtday present that she ever got. I hope that I remembered to tell her that she was the best present that I could ever have hoped for. Despite the difficulties with my parents, she gave me enough love for a whole lifetime. I love you, Ruthie.


Danielle said...

Beautiful tribute to your grandmother! I feel the same about both of mine.

Luli said...

Thanks Danielle. Grandmothers are the best!

Julia said...

What a beautiful, beautiful, amazing story. I feel privileged to have read it. Thank you.

...Hehe my birthday is 8 December 1978 :-)

Luli said...

Hi Miss J. Thank you for your lovely comment : )

Ah, we're 2 weeks apart in age! Were you born in Sydney? I was born at Royal North Shore Hospital. Maybe we were on the same maternity ward!

Julia said...

Ah, I was born in Paddo (typical!). But I went to Royal North Shore all the time as a sickly little one!