Day Twelve: Where Your Family Is From

I don’t know much about where my father is from except that he grew up on a farm in Alberta. Only recently has he started talking to me about his upbringing – how he once won an attendance award at school because going to school was such a welcome break for him from the vigorous manual labour involved in doing daily farm chores. The last time we sat and talked he told me a fascinating story about his mother, who was originally hired as a housekeeper by his father. And (I think) when she got married to my grandfather and began having his children, she had already had a child, fathered by a different man. Her name was Ivy.

My mother is from Fox Cove, a little fishing village on the Burin Peninsula in Newfoundland. Her mother was Clara, her father James, and she is one of eight kids – 2 sons and 6 daughters.

Here’s an interesting story my mother told me when I was just a few months pregnant with Clara (named after my grandmother of course).

My great-grandmother was in an abusive relationship when my grandmother was just a baby, in the early 1900’s. My great-grandmother decided to leave her husband because of the abuse (which was unheard of at the time – to leave, not the abuse) and decided that she needed to move to St. John’s and find work there. Her dilemma? She would come home to visit Clara but she couldn’t bring a baby to the city and care for her while she worked to support them both.

My great-grandmother went to her uncle and asked if he would care for Clara and she would send money home. My great-great uncle agreed and took Clara in and raised her as if she was his own.

This story is interesting for me for a number of reasons but the really interesting thing was the name of this great-great uncle, who took Clara in. His name was Henry.

Henry was (and still is) the name at the top of my list if Clara had been a boy and yet I had never heard the story about my great-great uncle before deciding on that name.

I’ll likely talk more about Fox Cove tomorrow (favorite memory) but I’m including this image, artwork painted by Paul Hannon, who’s known for his paintings of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia (which is, of course, where I’m from).

Hannon is easily one of my favorite artists, simply because of the emotions he invokes in me when I look at his work.

It’s not where I was born, at least not physically, but it’s where I’m from. It’s who I am, at my very core.

*Making blogging fun (and easy) again by participating in this 30 Day Challenge.

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