some premonition

It’s my writing group on Tuesday and the subject or topic or prompt to write was ‘Rope’ and the challenge was to write in a different genre from usual. It was a real struggle but I managed it in the end, and the genre I eventually settled on was I guess what might be speculative fiction, in that it’s what might have happened if events had been different. In my rope story, I imagined that I’d not had glandular fever, our family had not moved to the west country, and I was at the same secondary school I’d been at from eleven.

This may not seem connected, but a couple of days ago I went to a family funeral and although obviously a sad occasion, it was nice to be with cousins who I’d not seen for ages. We spent a lot of time talking about our family history, and like all families there are mysteries Maybe the greatest mystery is how my great-grandparents met, he the son of a very wealthy Jewish family, she the daughter of a basket maker – but a basket maker on somewhat of an industrial scale, not someone sitting in a cottage weaving withies. A follow on mystery is how their daughter, Ida Isobella, seen here below on her wedding day, brought up in London, got married to Reginald Matthews, the son of the manager of a timber yard from Littlehampton.

They were married on March 4th 1916, they were both twenty-nine years old, and they don’t look particularly happy. Maybe it was the convention, but we know that their marriage was difficult and that their personalities were very different. The sailor-suited page boys are three of Ida’s nephews, brothers Howard and Eric and their cousin Louis – in the middle. It was of course, halfway through the first world war; Reg was devastated that he could not serve as he had some sort of medical problem, but he had a non-combat role (and joined up again in his fifties in the second war)

Two years after their marriage, Ida and Reg had a son, and sometime not long after that, Reg went to work aboard. We don’t know whether it was at this time that he went to Brazil, or whether it was to the Cape Verde Islands, but while he was away, Ida had a daughter, born two years after her brother.

Ida had an unconventional childhood, but the family were never short of money even though her father died when she was only eight, and she was the middle child between four brothers. I almost get the feeling – looking at this record of their wedding day, a hundred years on and knowing what happened next, that they had some premonition that their lives would not be easy.

ida and reg wedding


    1. Lois

      I agree. She was a lovely person, although I barely remember her, very kind and loving and forbearing, he was a very formal, a by the book sort of person, but he was not a nasty or unkind man. They were just not the best partners of each other. I remember him and he was quite stern, but very generous.

      Liked by 1 person

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