Family documents are a tossup- what was considered worth keeping for one hundred years? I have documents that date from 1910 to the 2000s- a school memoir, the draft of a will, travel diaries, photos, ephemera, and hundreds of letters that start ‘Dear Mummy’. Trivia from the past becomes fascinating when a window into a different way of life opens- even if one only gets a peek.

This family history starts in the middle of the eighteenth century when the Hazell brothers left England and ended up in St Vincent, West Indies.  My mother, Cynthia, recorded what she and her cousins worked out about the family tree, and also wrote stories about her mother’s life in the 1890s and the early twentieth century.  The blog follows chronologically from the early posts with those stories; a memoir written by my grandmother, Carol, when she was seventeen; family photos to illustrate the posts, to the 1920s when Cynthia’s letters begin.  I hope you enjoy the twentieth century from her perspective.

  • Family Letters

    August 9, 2019 by

    When I first thought of reading my mother’s old letters to my grandmother, it was because I had been listening to CBC radio talking about the polio scares of the 1950s.  My husband Pat is five years older than I and can remember the public swimming pools in Windsor being closed because of fear of… Read more

  • December 1 1969

    June 4, 2023 by

    I just want to say that the building of the National Arts Centre in the middle of the city near the canal, the downtown shopping district and market, the Parliament Buildings, and major hotels was a game-changer for Ottawa. All of a sudden in one building there were new restaurants, boutiques, with an attractive green… Read more

  • November 29 1969

    May 31, 2023 by

    This letter from my grandmother reminds me of how different my ‘60s’ attitude was, compared to that of my grandmother and even my mother. It was the flower children era! I was at university, free to study what I wanted (unlike my mother at my age), free to wear jeans every day to class if… Read more

View all posts

Follow My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.