Monday, August 30, 2010


In the past week or so my mind has been drawn into a family-related project that I call 'Pictures and memories from long ago'.

With a strong sense of purpose, I have scanned pictures and documents, and copied accounts of the lives of some of my forebears. These fragments of memories have been drawn together, as I have remembered people and stories from the past.

The two women pictured in this post are truly wonderful women, from whom I have learnt values and been inspired to follow their guidance. The stately old lady is Jane Eliza Harriet White, aged 95 when this picture was taken, I think. My Grandma lived in the old homestead overlooking the bay at Redland Bay, Queensland. The tall palm trees made the house visible from a mile or so away as we headed towards School of Arts Road. Grandma had given birth to, and cared for her eight children, through terrible times or war and the Great Depression.

The beautiful younger woman, with two little girls, is my mother, Ella White. Mum's story includes missionary work in China, where she met and married my father. She gave birth to, and cared for her seven children, through the 50s and 60s. I have written about my mother in this blog in the past, especially as I waited for my own daughter to give birth.

Both Mum and Grandma included twins amongst their children. Mum had trained as a triple certificate nurse: nurse, midwife, and infant welfare sister. Grandma had done lady-like preparation for life in the early 20th century, including learning to paint landscapes. These two women have given me my two passions that go beyond family: midwifery and art.

My work of collecting and collating pictures and stories has been inspired by my enjoyment of digital technology. A simple e-book format that I used for my first book, Midwifery from my heart, has been readily adapted to the job at hand. I am bringing out the old albums, scanning the pictures, and presenting them in a way that tells a very special story.

My children and grandchildren are not very interested in their heritage at present. They have busy lives. But one day they may find, as I have, great pleasure in remembering and adding to my memories.

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