Herstory

More About Me

An unexpected bonus of starting a new blog about your family history is that not being able to sleep at night is no longer a problem. You simply lie there thinking about who and what you should write about. Until last night! Last night was different because without warning I realised that I had to write about myself!


Herstory is a term for history written from a feminist perspective, emphasizing the role of women, or told from a woman’s point of view. The principal aim of herstory is to bring women out of alleged obscurity from the historical record.

Wikipedia

Finding My Story

In a literal sense I found my story in a maroon box! Figuratively I am still in the process of discovery. We all have a story to tell so why would you want to read mine? It is unlikely I will ever know the answer to that question. All I do know is that I need to write it and I need to read it.

The need to write a story began when I was about twelve years old. It was going to be set in the East End of London where I had spent the first 5 years of my life. If you have read my post, “Not The Beginning ” you will understand why! It has taken me 60 years to realise that the combined lives of all the women in my family are a far superior tale than anything fabricated in my imagination.

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. From the intimate diaries of a pre-teen to the anguished poetry of the more worldly 15 year old, I poured out all the words that no one had the time or inclination to listen to. The desire to write never left me……..only the reasons changed. Which begs the question, why has it taken me over 60 years to start?

My World As A Farmer’s Wife

It began with my growing awareness that my three children had a family history that could only be described as “half” a heritage. As they grew up on a farm in New Zealand they had absorbed the concept of heritage from a young age. For instance, the knew that young (male) farmers inherited land when their father of grandfather died. They also knew that as a fourth generation family the fell into the category as “one of the oldest” families in the district. They also knew that this did not equate with economic security or social standing.

For the “half heritage” issue I must take the credit. It is linked to my early upbringing in New Zealand where, from the age of seven onwards I went to ten different schools in ten years. I also lived in three different homes without my parents. As the era of the day dictated I finished my nursing training, married and moved out into the country to happily took on the role of domesticity. Marriage provided me with the opportunity to experience the security of knowing where I belonged and to establish my family, my clan. (Read more about the importance of “belonging” in this post) I wasn’t alone in this goal…….the “Waltons” and “Little House on the Prairie” were very popular on the TV at the time.

When my daughter embarked on the typical New Zealand “OE” (overseas experience) she visited the UK, the Isle of Skye and even got a job in a Scottish castle. After all hadn’t her ancestors arrived in New Zealand from Scotland in the 1880’s. At home we still went “first footing” every New Years Eve. We sang Auld Lang Syne at the drop of a hat and Tin Cannings were still carried out. The fact that her maternal grand mother spoke with a Cockney accent was immaterial. Somewhere in the intervening years I had lost my identity and in so doing my children had been short changed!

This is only the first part of my story. If you choose to read more of my story you will read about coincidences that should only happen in a Mills and Boon novel. That they happened to someone who has never read said novel is bordering on the ridiculous!

I have a theory that losing ones identity is something many women of my era will understand. Perhaps not so of the younger generation. Please leave a comment if you agree (or disagree for that matter!)

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