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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Luck

March 10, 2020

Professional genealogist and podcaster Amy Johnson Crow has put out the challenge to genealogists and family historians, to write stories about 52 of their ancestors in 52 weeks.

I am happily taking up the challenge, and look forward to writing stories, that will collate many years of research results. In most cases, the research for my ancestors is not complete, and possibly never will be complete, but I’m hoping to build a story of the lives they lived with the information I have to hand. I’m hoping to publish these stories in a book at the end of 2020. Each week a prompt will be given as the theme for the week.

Week 11: Luck


I feel very lucky that my grandparents lived very close to us, for all of my life as a child , and also that I had them in my life, for my early adult years. I’m feel a bit sad to say that I took their being there, for granted really, and never gave any thought to how fortunate I was.

I lived in Shepparton, the town of my birth, for my entire life until I was in my 50s. My mother had also been born in that town and her parents had lived there for most of their lives. So, my grandparents were always close by.

My grandfather THOMAS ALBERT MORRISON and my grandmother LEOLA JEAN WATERS were a huge part of my life. They were always there, and if not there, were just around the corner. I would see them every weekend, when they would visit us, or we would visit them. My grandmother would often visit us on horseback, dressed in all her equestrian finery. Horses were her passion.

My grandmother, who we all called Othermum, was a tiny, some might think, frail looking lady. But looks are deceiving. She was very strong, and I would say, as tough as old boots. She worked full time on the factory floor of a woollen mills, until she retired, long past the official retiring age. She rode her bike to and from work every day, and home for lunch and back. I seem to remember that my grandmother was not at all happy about having to retire.

We called our grandfather Dad, probably because that’s what our mother called him. But not to be confused with our own Dad, he was Daaad, with an elongated vowel.

Daaad was the caretaker of the Showgrounds, and they lived on site. When we visited, the Showgrounds were our backyard, and we would play in the empty pavilions or ride our bikes around the open spaces.

Under the pavilions were lots and lots of rabbits, Our grandfather would give us a cup containing salt, and told us we needed to put salt on the rabbits tails to calm them down, so we could catch them. We spent many hours on our tummies, trying to coax rabbits out so we could put the salt on their tails. Our grandfather told us that trick worked, so of course we didn’t doubt him. The fact that we had no luck at all didn’t deter us.

Sleepovers with our grandparents were very common, and I loved the overnight stays so much. I even loved the early mornings after the sleep over. My grandmother worked full time right up until her retirement, so was always busy. After a sleepover, she would wake us at about 5am, in the dark, even on weekends. We would then have an early breakfast of poached eggs on toast. This is a lovely memory for me. When I think of my grandparents, I think of those early mornings in their cosy kitchen.

My own children were also fortunate that their grandparents lived close to us. They had two sets of grandparents and also had great grandparents as small children. My children’s experience with their grandparents was very similar to mine with regular visits and sleepovers.

 Along Came my Grandchildren

When I was in my early 50s, circumstances meant that I moved away from my home town, to Bendigo, about two hours away. Not so far away, but far enough that working hours prevented me from regular visits. In my first year away, my first grandchild was born and I was devastated not to be able to see him regularly. I had memories of my grandparents always being there and felt sad, for myself, and also for him not to have both grandmothers close by. I now have three grandsons and they recently moved to Queensland. This has caused me huge distress, as I never imagined that I would be a long distance nanna. It’s not impossible but it just takes more effort. Being a nanna looks different to what I expected but it still can be positive for all.

My grandchildren Hudson, Jake and Lucas with their father Steven, my son.

The distance between myself and my own grandparents really makes me realise how lucky I was as a child and the enormous impact my grandparents had on my life.

I spent hours riding my bike around the large empty spaces of the Showgrounds

From → Family stories

  1. What wonderful memories of your grandparents! I was also lucky to live close to one set of grandparents when I was growing up, too. I’m sure you still will have many special moments with your grandchildren as they grow!

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