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

  • Fall Term 1945: Letter 4

    May 29, 2020 by

    I’m so impressed with the amazing postal system in England in 1945!  Who needed email or delivery companies when such efficient government-run communication existed?  Admittedly, the telephone system didn’t work that well- since not everyone has it in their houses it did mean that Cyn had to keep dashing out, whether in Cambridge or in… Read more

  • Fall Term 1945: Letter 3

    May 28, 2020 by

    A note about some of the people mentioned in this letter:  Ann Chapman, a friend possibly teaching at the same school, married Tadek Winnick, a Polish soldier who stayed in England, and we will read about them in Cyn’s letters in the future.  Mary Egan, a long time friend, lived into her 90s and kept… Read more

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