Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

How Did They Meet? February 8, 2011

Filed under: Family history,Golf,Kenya,Travel — Janet @ 6:28 pm

Have you ever wondered how your parents, grandparents, greatgrandparents met?  Well, I can trace my forebears back to the grandparents.  I’ve already recounted how my paternal grandmother answered an ad in a newspaper.   I think that method was not uncommon in previous generations.  I do wonder about my maternal grandparents.  I had always assumed it was in some sort of maybe academic settting since my grandfather went to MIT and my grandmother went to Wellesley.  But I’m not sure when they each graduated.  I think my grandfather was Class of 1904.  Which would have meant he was about age 30.  I don’t have a date for my grandmother’s graduation from Wellesley, i.e. I don’t know whether she was Class of 1904 or what.  Since she was born in 1872 and they married in 1906 – well, what was she doing between say the age of 18 and her age of 34 when they married.   I wonder if she studied or taught music for a while either before Wellesley or after.

Now as for my parents – they met at a golf competition at Oakley Country Club, within walking distance of the home where I grew up.  My father was widowed, for the second time, in 1934.  From the diaries of his second wife, Mildred,  my sisters’ and  brother’s mother, I read that my father played a lot of golf.   He often nipped off for a round of golf leaving Mildred to cope with one, two, or three young children.  So golf was very much a part of his life.  So in the 1935 season, he needed a partner for some sort of Mixed Competition.  The call was sent out to golf clubs in neighbouring towns, Winchester being one of them.  My mother’s father, Grandpa Friend, was a very active member of Winchester Country Club, and my mother was a keen golfer.  My grandfather urged her to answer the call so over she went to Belmont, 3 miles away, and played in the competition with the man who was to become her husband, and my father.  I don’t know how they ranked in the results of the golf competition but maybe they did well.  In any event,  that was the start of the courtship, and in December 1935 they married.

Now, the burning question – how did Ian and I meet.  That is a bit convoluted.  To cut a long story short, Ian arrived in Kenya from Belfast in early August 1966.  I arrived 10 days later from Berkeley California.  We were each put up at the United Kenya Club – a sort of  hotel for people either coming for a short term, or for newcomers who were looking for more permanent accommodation.    A few days after I arrived I had a postcard which I wanted to send to someone in the U.S.  I asked around but couldn’t find anyone who knew what the postage would be.  Finally I asked this nice looking fellow who was lounging on the balcony reading some sort of report.  He didn’t know the necessary postage either but he offered to accompany me to the Post Office to find out.  And that was the start of it all.

I don’t have photos close to hand of the events outlined above but what I have found this morning is a puzzling postcard, which lead me to google for the United Kenya Club.  Said googling has turned up a very interesting history of the Club.  Mentioned in this history is one Andrew Ligale who became a Government Minister and, in 1981, the Chairman of the United Kenya Club.  In 1966, Andrew Ligale was away in Nottingham, a planning student at the University there.  In 1967, Ian was a delegate to a planning conference in Germany – the other Kenya delegate was Andrew Ligale.  Somewhere I have a newspaper photograph of the 2 of them striding along together, clutching their conference papers.

  mystery postcard from my mother’s archive.  A real photograph of the Reception Hall, K.F.C. Club, London.  I have a feeling this postcard dates from 1963 when my mother travelled through London en route to Africa.  Her first trip to Africa.  A trip she enjoyed so much that it got me interested as well.  And one thing lead to another, as the saying goes.

But can anyone tell me what the K.F.C. Club was, or is?


Another Postcard From My Mother’s Archive

Filed under: Family,Family history,Middlebury College,Postcards,Skiing — Janet @ 5:52 pm

Yesterday I showed postcards with red 2 cent postage stamps.  Some of the stamps were of Thomas Jefferson, and others were of John Adams.  It was Summer 1957.   Now I have found a postcard from February 1958.  Oh ho – there is a purple 3 cent stamp with the Statue of Liberty.  The postcard was sent from Stowe Vermont.  I must have been skiing between semesters.  I report that the skiing is excellent – but for some reason (unstated) the legendary Ma Kelley, the Dean of Women at Middlebury, has 20 more gray hairs.  Hmm, I wonder what that was all about.


Annotations to Postcards 1957

Filed under: Family,Family history,Ogunquit Maine,Postcards — Janet @ 5:18 pm

Late last night I had trouble trying to annotate my sequence of postcards and their messages – see yesterday’s entry.  Actually I wrote the annotations and put the postards in their proper sequence and with all the fiddling about, the annotations and the proper sequence vanished.  It was enough to make me say a bad word – and then decide to try again this morning.

The sequence of the pictures on the cards doesn’t really matter.  What is rather interesting though is the sequence of the messages.

Postcard from Vermont, May 23 1957 – Spring semester final exams are imminent

Postcard from Ogunquit, June 24 – I’ve had a ride in Mr. Turner’s boat pictured in the postcard

Postcard dated June 26 – I’ve had a bit of a disaster with the oven and I thought my last days had come  (I’ll add here that I do remember the “explosion” very vividly but I don’t recall thinking things were nearly so terminal.)

Postcard dated July 9 –  I write that on my Sunday dayoff I do not feel like cooking at all and hope that my Aunt Alice will invite me round for a meal  (In fact my 2 vegetarian  grandmotherly employers quite often took me for a lovely meal at the Barbara Dean – a restaurant in the old-fashioned style)

July 11 –  I write about going fishing again – ( this seems to be a frequent mention -50+ years later I don’t recall these fishing expeditions at all)   I went to see a marvelous production of Brigadoon at the Ogunquit Playhouse

July 26 – I baby sat for Grace and Hal (Grace Auntie Alma’s daughter)

August 3 – My cousin Rusty took me to the Ogunquit Playhouse to see Basil Rathbone in an Agatha Christie mystery, “Witness for the Prosecution”

The postmark August 3 is poignant for me.  August 3 1957 was a Saturday.  The next day on Sunday August 4, 1957 my mother and grandfather were playing their usual Sunday afternoon round of golf at Winchester Country Club there outside of Boston.  Sadly my grandfather collapsed and died, on the fifth hole.  The news reached me in the early evening.  Aunt Alice contacted me at Grace and Hal’s home where I was having dinner.  Grace was so good – she walked the Marginal Way with me for a couple of hours as we absorbed the shock.  Even now, 50+ years later it hurts to write this.


Postcards from 1957 – Ogunquit Maine

Filed under: Ogunquit Maine,Postage stamps,Postcards,Travel — Janet @ 5:46 am

n.b.   It’s now getting late and I have corrected this entry any number of times and WordPress seems to keep over-riding my alterations.  I’ll try again in the morning to fix things again.

Remember when a postcard could be sent for 2 cents.  Amazing isn’t it.  Well, that was quite a few years ago.  I seem to have sent quite a few cards during the summer of 1957 when I was working in Ogunquit Maine.  I was the chief cook and bottle washer for 2 vegetarian ladies who owned the Brush and Needle Studio there in Perkins Cove.  The premises are now greatly expanded and are well known as Barnacle Billy’s.  These ladies were like grandmothers to me and they were in fact of that generation.  My Aunt Alice (my mother’s younger sister) and her husband Russ(ell) Ireland owned the Sachem Hotel (since torn down) and also the hotel next door.  Mimi and Auntie Alma were Uncle Russ’s mother and aunt.  I lived over the shop and was the cook, and also a shop assistant in the afternoons.  A wonderful summer job.

In my mother’s archive I have found a number of postcards which I sent to her that summer, but first a card sent from Middlebury Vermont just near the end of the spring semester in May 1957.

  postmark May 23 1957  Middlebury Vermont

Now for the postcards from Maine:

  postmark July 9 1957  Ogunquit Maine

  postmark June 26, 1957 Ogunquit Maine

  postmark June 24, 1957  Ogunquit Maine


  postmark July 11 1957  Ogunquit Maine

  postmark July 26 1957  Ogunquit Maine

  postmark August 3 1957  Ogunquit Maine