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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My Grandmother Lavinia Beeston

Lavinia Beeston, my maternal grandmother as I remember her

My maternal grandparents, Charles Parker Beeston (after whom my son Parker is named) and Lavinia Beeston (Walley) came to Canada in 1913 from the Potteries (the six towns where the china and pottery making industry concentrated.) The story goes that my grandfather was not successful in his father's hardware and construction business so in embarassment they moved to Canada. (My great grandfather, Charles Beeston, was a prosperous business man and the mayor of his town (either Stoke upon Trent or Newcastle-under-Lyme.) I must try to sort this out.)

When they came to Canada they left three of their children, an eldest son and two daughters, behind to be care for by "Aunt Jennie" until they got established. It took three years. My mother and one of my aunts were born in Canada.

I have no pictures of my grandmother as a young woman. If fact, the one above is the only one I have. I believe my sister has some of her younger. It is hard for me to imagine her as a young woman. It is even harder for me to imagine she had five children. For me she was always the little elderly proper Methodist lady who took the pledge at 18 and never drank alcohol all her life. While I consider myself politically quite radically left, and I love to be around interesting "different" kind of people, there is much in me that is conservative and conventional, mainly in the realm of the family and daily living.

I remember my grandmother as kind and gentle. She always had a few candy treats for us in her purse, in which their was alway a perfumed hankerchief. I can smell it still! Do any women carry hankerchiefs any more?

My grandmother new a lot about chinaware. You could not serve her tea without her finding an opportunity to turn the cup or saucer over to see what kind of china it was. "Made in England, it must be good."

I remember the death of my grandmother. I was 13. We woke up for school and my parents were not home. Very unusual!, a little frightening. When they came in my mother told us that Grandma had died. This was my first experience of a death of someone close to me. (The first of many) I was asked to be one of the pall bearers, which for me was a recognition of my more adult status.

My grandmother was the source of words of wisdom that I find myself using still. "A stitich in time saves nine." "A penny saved is a penny earned." " Take care of your pennies and your pounds will take care of themselves."

Being English she had some prejudices of the Irish who drank, enjoyed a good time, could confess their sins to make everything all right, were lazy, dirty, crude. . .the usual stuff". Unfortunately, I was too young to sort all this out and it has taken me years to shake off a lot of this. Reading a lot of Irish dramas and history helped.

The strangest thing my grandmother told me in my tender years was that, "When I feel down I should always remember that I am a member of the British Empire!!!" Even at the age of 12 or 13 I smiled and felt I should break out with a rendition of "Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves. . ." I was a second generation Canadian and felt admiration and respect for Britain, I felt no loyalty. I don't think she would have understood. And yet, I am a bit of a Royalist and like the institution of the Queen.

I have had these memories all these years to I guess they are important to me. I must tell my grandchildren more about her.


At 11:06 p.m., Blogger KGMom said...

She sounds like a grand old lady.
I had to smile at the turning tea cups over detail--I confess, I do the same thing. I love English bone china, and can't resist the urge to see what kind of cup I am drinking from.

At 11:41 p.m., Blogger ancient one said...

I came to visit from someone else's blog. I love looking at old pictures and hearing the stories behind them. Your grandmother sounds like a wonderful grandmother. Mine was too!!

At 2:40 a.m., Blogger Alyssa said...

What an interesting look into your life. It must have been very hard for your grandmother to leave her children behind for such a long time. And what courage to come to another country to start a new life. Did you have any pictures of you grandfather? I was wondering 'cause you hardly mentioned him . . .

At 9:55 a.m., Blogger Renie Burghardt said...

Your grandmother's story is so interesting. And yes, do tell your grandchildren all about her. Family stories should be passed on.

And wow, your woodpile looks impressive! The saying that wood warms you three times is true. When you cut it, when you split it, and of course, when it's crackling in the wood stove.

Very nice blog, with lots of good reading.

Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you visit again. As for me, I shall return!



At 10:05 a.m., Blogger Veronica said...

Sweet memories seem to be a little bit of comfort we tuck in the back of our minds. Love, Veronica

At 11:02 a.m., Blogger Michele L. Tune said...

What a lovely story about your Grandmother! Thanks for sharing.

The photo is so pretty, and your words flow nicely. I've enjoyed reading this very much.

I remember my Grandmother. She carried handkerchiefs as well, and had wise sayings. I still remember her words and even catch myself saying the very phrases she always said!

Grandmas are the best! (And Grandpas too, of course)...



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