Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why I can't balance a budget - it's genetic

[Mum's the little one, Nana is the imposing lady]

The following newspaper article was sent to me by my sister, sent to her by a cousin from our birthplace, Christchurch.

The first surprising thing I noticed was it mentioned our mother's family name and then specifically named our grandfather and grandmother (I've blocked these out in case anyone's privacy is violated).

As the youngest in the family, I didn't get to meet Grandad and Nana as they had died long before I was born. There were a few stories told of their life and fewer stories of Mum's childhood but between the five of us we have been piecing together some sort of family history. It's colourful to say the least. Not in the glamorous, high life way but in the blood, sweat and tears of their marriage kind of way. Well, read for yourself how classy my genes are ....

(You may have to zoom in to read this, sorry for the quality but it is cut/pasted from an old newspaper scan.)

I cannot get over the fact that they felt the need to take a seemingly simple matter of how much should be spent on the household to court! And we reckon our courts are held up with piffle now!! I wonder what murder cases were delayed because my grandparents were arguing over the number of chops to be had for dinner! Though probably not many occurred in Christchurch in the early 1930's. It wasn't exactly Underbelly-Razor-city.

I explains ALOT about the relationship my Mum had with Dad, how she hounded him about money, or lack thereof. She was even known to search for money in his wallet while he "slumbered" as well! But the difference was they both had a gambling problem, but I think Mum was a little more secretive about it.

I do remember her rationing chops but not eating that much herself. Most nights she would dish up ours and Dad's dinner and just nibble until she was taken out to the club.

There was no "strong desire to run the household" on Dad's part and Mum did it reluctantly but efficiently. We mostly ate alright, well we did by the time I came along, my sisters and brother might have a different take on it.

What I do love about this diamond of a discovery (besides the great humour in the writing of the account - "Laughter" - not sure if this was Nana or the court laughing, though I know I did), is that it gave my family an inside view of what it was actually like to live in that home when our Mum was a little girl. Not many people kept accounts of their life and I'm sure even less had a court account of what was going on.

It got me to thinking, after trying to convince my sister that she should be writing down all the stories she's finding out and ones she remembers hearing when she was young, that all the Mum bloggers out there are actually putting down an actual account of what their family life is like as it's happening. Can you imagine your grandchildren coming across an old blog of their family in about 80 years? How valuable is that to them? Even better is discovering an old handwritten diary from a relative, so hopefully the art of journal writing will not die out.

Do you have a diary from an old relative? Did you discover any hidden skeletons?

It's I Blog On Tuesdays day (thanks for reminding me Gemma!). Who else is blogging today?

[Also don't forget you've got till Sunday to enter my Panasonic competition, so visit here soon!]


  1. Perhaps the previous generations considered themselves as moral and if their actions were not entirely so at least they were secretive about what was going on in their lives.
    They lived an insular life and belonged to close knit communities.
    Whereas now we socially network on a macro scale because of geographical positioning. We do not live in small communities with family around us and our tribal existence is with our peers either socially or electronically.
    However, I do have yearly journals that i kept since the early seventies, albeit a few years where I was distracted with child rearing.

  2. Ohhhh soooo juicy!!!! A very good insight into the life of your mother, certainly would help put parts of the puzzle together.

    My Pop wrote a book about his life and I have it. I havent read it. I am waiting for when I really can read it, properly. It's too important to just read without commitment, I don't want to waste it.

    My mums family put a great book together about my Grand Nonna and her life and coming to Australia and it also includes all my Nonna's sisters and my Nonna, who are all named after Italian opera singers. It is a great book and has lots of woggy recipes in it as well.

    Ahhh and also in my uni days I wrote a paper about my Nonno and his working life. That is also cherished, the bloody prints of photos cost me a fortune too!

  3. Hey, what a story! I never thought about this aspect of budgeting but now as I think my mother isn't the best savor either! So may be it is genetic, oh my poor kids! They will be such spenders! Have a nice day!

  4. This is pure gold in so many ways Becci! It beats all the 'dressed up' versions of stories the family tells over the years. This one is court reported - no arguing with the facts !!!! Very funny but also quite revealing as you say.



  5. My dad made my grandmother write about her parents, and I made him write about his, and then himself as well.

    Family history is so much more important than cancer and diabetes; it's all the funny things like the random artistic talent that can be traced back to an uncle. It's such a rich tapestry.
    Thanks for sharing this, and for linking up :)

  6. That was classic!! Honestly, if my Mum had found that article in the 80s she might have tried something like taking my Dad to court for more money towards the household!
    I like the idea of those websites where you can design a little coffee table book of your blog for posterity! Would be great to give my kids when they are older!


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