Showing posts with label it's got to start somewhere. Show all posts
Showing posts with label it's got to start somewhere. Show all posts

Sunday, 22 September 2013

In the beginning(s)

Don't get me wrong.  I love Canada. It's my home.

I was born here one year after my mother's arrival  -- and nine months after my father joined her. She had been born in Wolverhampton and raised in Kenya; he'd been born in Putney and raised in Colchester.  I grew up Canadian, but somehow feeling less Canadian than my contemporaries who had grandparents living nearby while mine were strangers, living thousands of miles away across the Atlantic Ocean.  It wasn't until I first travelled to England that I had a tangible feeling of roots and belonging to a place.  I mean, clearly I belong in Canada, but there's something about being able to see the streets where your parents lived, or the churchyard where your great-grandparents are buried.

My marriage to an equally Canadian fella whose father was born in Brixton and whose maternal grandparents emigrated from Kent to Alberta in the first decade of the twentieth century led (belatedly) to a honeymoon that took us all too briefly back to England.  After a few weeks spent with newly-met cousins with faces and mannerisms which were --- familiar,  I began to ask the questions and take the notes that lead inexorably into the never-ending jigsaw puzzle/mystery novel that is family research, struggling to give names to those without whom my parents, my husband, our eventual daughters, and I, would not exist. Not even in Canada.

In short, to paraphrase Neil Innes: Ladies and gentlemen, I have suffered for my research.  Now it's your turn.