Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Gossip Girls

Yesterday I had a great outing with two of my first cousins. Although I see them regularly it is always at family gatherings or when we meet up with our extended families for lunch at some venue or other around Sydney. We never seem to get a chance for a real good gossip.

At the last family gathering, a 21st for one cousin's daughter, we decided that it would be nice to just have a get together for the three of us. As we each live on the different outer edges of Sydney we chose the CBD as our venue. Although it was a stinking hot day outside we holed up in The Cortile at The Sydney Intercontinental Hotel for High Coffee and there we stayed for over four hours.

My cousins aren't into family history but they love family gossip and sharing stories. As the oldest of the three I was able to share memories of our grandmother who was a robust, calm and gentle devout Catholic fiercely proud of her Irish heritage. The youngest cousin only remembered here as a little old lady with dementia while we older girls had memories of a proud, upright lady.

For years I had wondered why this grandmother had moved from her home town of Dungog awayfrom her family to Canowindra. My middle cousin piped up "I know that". A mystery solved! Nanna suffered from asthma and took medical advice to move from the humidity of Dungog to to a drier climate in Canowindra. Second cousin then added "Is that who I should blame for my asthma?". She didn't know that her grandmother had suffered with chest problems. As we talked about our parents, their early lives and shared stories they had passed down we learnt more about our family history and relationships.

Grandmother, Mary Curry (nee Tierney) 1936
The girls got a giggle when I told them of a couple of shotgun marriages that occurred in the family prior to 1920. The cause of death of another relative brought a smile to their faces as they had always thought the reason given to them for his death was implausible. Pooling our knowledge from snippets shared by our parents we worked out that another relative had given birth to three children and had put them up for adoption. There must have been a few ears burning in heaven and on earth yesterday as we shared stories of various family members. As a result of our conversations I will be adding a few private notes to my family database.

We three had such a wonderful time together. Two of us are only children and the other has only one sibling who lives overseas so we are starved of the close relationships those with many siblings enjoy.

Jill (right) withe her paternal first cousins 1980.
I can highly recommend sitting down with your cousins and sharing stories. Those cousins might just have a piece to complete a puzzle that has been baffling you.


2 comments:

Rosemary said...

Wonderful Jill. I'm envious. We grew up w/o any opportunity of knowing any of our cousins. We were in Sydney and they were all over in the west and in those days you didn't just call to have a chat.

Jill Ball said...

It was special Rosemary. I love those girls to bits.

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