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?