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Connecting, re-connecting, making new friends, strengthening friendships...

LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 771 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited May 2020 in Cancer Coffee Break

Good afternoon from a very sunny and warm Dorset,

Since we have been in lockdown, having daily routines and activities suspended, I have spent more time catching up with people via social media, zoom etc. I have consciously tried to connect with friends more often simply because our usual way of meeting etc has been interrupted.

This week I arranged a video call including my sister and a relative I had not seen or spoken to for over 50 years!

My dad's sister and her family emigrated to Canada in the 1950's, they all visited in 1969, I remember a photo being taken of all us kids in the living room. I don't remember any conversations etc, I was so much younger than my cousins, I doubt they wanted to play! lol.

Well, since searching the family tree I began to search for them as the last address was obsolete. I googled the family every which way I could possibly go, clicking on every page that remotely had their name in. One day I found a page with a photo of this man, in a newspaper article, the photographer was a different name. But I looked at this picture and wondered....could you be my cousin? I had no reference point for what he looked like but I could see that perhaps there was a vague similarity to my brother....maybe.

I then did a search for the photographer using anything I could. Well FB came up trumps, I found her. Now what? It took me a looonnngg time to have the courage to send a message out of the blue to this stranger. I described myself and who I was looking for, then apologised! haha.

Guess what I hit the jackpot! I had actually found my cousin! His wife and I shared a couple of msgs, then it went quiet. I assumed they didn't really want to connect at all after all, why would they really . We don't know each other.

Until this week, my sister had a go. Got a response! I then sent a message and we arranged a video call over messenger. Wow! It was so great, to finally see and chat properly after all those decades. My cousin remembered our last meeting as families. They were so pleased and thankful that I hadn't given up the search. He told his mother, my aunt and she was delighted to hear we had been in touch too. Hopefully we will do it again and he will get his sister on the call too next time.

This afternoon I had the joy of a video call with Rob, Lesley we'll get you next time...tomorrow! haha.

I am going to surprise another friend soon with a call, it is so much fun, I don't know why I haven't done it more. 😁

I am getting to know people that I interact with more, it's a good thing.

How about you? Anyone else been surprised by a friend getting in touch, or have you been connecting with people who you don't often get to chat to?

It would be great to hear your stories, and some of the good things to come about from this time we are living in.

Looking forward to reading your stories,

Lou 😁


  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭✭✭


    What a fascinating story Lou. It is quite amazing that you recognised something about the photograph of the man in the newspaper and that your instincts were right. It is even more fascinating that you had a video meeting with the family. I do hope that you will all keep in touch now that you have found each other.

    By coincidence, my Dad’s parents emigrated to Canada, though that was in 1903. My Dad was a baby at the time and there were no aeroplanes of course, so they went by boat and left him in England with two maiden aunts with a view to him going out when he was older. When the time came, the aunts would not let him go so he stayed in England. The aunts brought him up and he was separated forever from his parents, brothers and sister. My sister who lives in the USA located one of the Canadian cousins ten years ago and he came to visit her when he happened to be in Texas. I think she found him to be rather weird and the reunion was short lived.

    A couple of months ago, I was going through some old books and found a bible with names, dates of birth and death of family members going back to 1919. Between the pages of the bible, there were a couple of maple leaves which had been pressed. I am assuming the bible was sent from Canada and that the pressed leaves have been in there for perhaps 100 years. Here they are.

    My sister got married in 1960 and emigrated to America with her new husband immediately afterwards. I remember the brief telephone calls on really crackly lines, costing around £5.00 a minute.

    As you say Lou, how wonderful it is that we can now have video conversations with family and friends and I chat to my sister at least twice a week. Wonderful.

    It was a joy chatting with you and Lesley by video this morning Lou. Your conversation header say everything. Thanks for starting this thread.

    Rob xx

  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 771 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Morning Rob!😁

    My story is fascinating?? Your's is incredible Rob! I cannot believe your father's aunts refused to reunite him with his family! That is just awful! Did his parents not have any help to change that? How heartbreaking for them, it is shocking. How they must have regretted not taking him in the first place, surely? Was your Dad aware for his whole life he was separated from them, did he think one of the aunts was his mother? Did he not think when older to go out to Canada too? It is so interesting, I am sorry for all the questions, I am fascinated by family history.

    How great to have the old bible too and with the family history written inside.

    Yes I remember those transatlantic phone calls, you had to go through the operator to get through. It is how we used to speak with my grandparents in America. Not very often mind, too expensive! lol. Mostly communicated by airmail letters, the old blue ones. Wonder if you can still get those?

    It was brilliant to chat with you and Lesley @Lesley too, I don't know why it took so long to think of doing it..haha!😁.

    I hope you have a good day, chat later,

    Lou xx

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Hi Lou

    Yes, it does seem shocking, but I think my Dad's parents accepted the situation and I even suspect that they were OK with it given the financial hardships they faced in their new life in Canada. I still have letters my grandmother sent to my father when he was a boy. They lacked warmth and said things like she hoped he was behaving, doing well at school and going to church regularly.

    My Dad knew about the situation from being very young. To be fair, the aunts doted on him and brought him up in a loving environment. They owned a confectionery and cake shop and eventually during the Great Depression when my Dad lost his job as a marine engineer, they sent him to a Bakery course in Leeds and handed over the business to him. He had gone to Canada when he was 20 but there was no work and he came back home and joined the Merchant Navy.

    My Dad never spoke much about his upbringing but my Mum said that he always regretted not growing up in his own family. He was a real family man and made up for his disappointment by being the best Dad in the World and giving us the upbringing he would have wanted himself. We were mates and I still miss him.

    Mary's story is pretty amazing too and I will write about that another time.

    Rob xx

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,410 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Hi Rob,

    Yes, of course I forget the way families communicated in those days was very different to today. I can imagine the very matter-of-fact approach taken. It is wonderful your Dad had a loving home growing up, and the separation from his own family didn't deter him from making his own.

    I can just imagine the confectionary and bakers shop!!! 😄😄

    My dad was also in the Merchant Navy, he loved it. I have his cap from his uniform, I don't know where the rest went. Possibly my brothers have it.

    Would love to hear Mary's story one day too!


    Lou x

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2020


    Evening Lou

    Haha, I bet your Dad’s cap is in the garage. 🤣

    I just happen to have a photo of the shop. I think it must be around 1913. The ladies were the Misses Dodsworth and the lad with the bike Is my Dad. Your cakes would look amazing in that window.

    Rob 🤗xx

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