My Mother was born to a Christian family on May 25, 1912 in Rangoon, Burma and was fifth in a family of six boys and six girls. Her name was Beaulah, Muriel, Edna, May Andrews. Her Mother was from South India and dark and her Father was from England and white with red hair. Even though he was the only child he was ostracized by his family for marrying an Indian whereupon he changed his last name, we think from Bean to Andrews which was his Mother’s maiden name. We never knew anything about my grandfather’s family, except that his father was supposed to have been an Admiral in the Navy. Her Dad worked as a rice mill Engineer and they lived in a house built over a graveyard. As we were growing up we heard many a ghost story from my Mum about that old graveyard!
It was hot, a very hot day, sultry, just before monsoon season, but there was exuberance in the air, there was love, excitement, and celebration. It was 1915 in Jamalpur India, during the colonial period of British rule, and perhaps ruin.
My mother was born in 1911 in a tiny rural town settled on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina. When she was eight her parents and their four children moved to Windsor, Ontario, and later to Detroit across the river, where two more children were born.
My mother, Channa Veller Milner, died of a heart attack in 1981. She was in her 70s. It wasn’t until after her death that I learned she was more than what I had experienced with her. My father had shared stories about his family with me but my mother never spoke of her childhood or family experiences.
Bess Ready was a wonderful mother. God knows, without her and the way she dealt with others in this life, who knows how we would have turned out. That’s particularly referring to the seven of us—the six kids she raised, and dad. Ultimately we all became what we became because of her, at least the good parts of us.
When put together, the threads I have of my mother’s life resemble a kind of open woven fabric, a shawl perhaps – a few bright strands with lots of holes. Still it's comfortable enough to wrap myself in and even find some warmth.
How do I know my mother’s life? From memory? Perhaps from anecdotes she relayed during our long walks to and from the grocery store. Still other parts feel sewn into me, as if she deposited them into my imagination for safe keeping.
My mother, Hilda Margaret Hardie (née Salter) was born May 24, 1914, in Manchester, England. She was the first born of Maggie and Alfred Salter. Maggie was a housewife and Alfred a leather artisan who specialized in violin cases. She grew up in a row house on Milton Street, in the area of Manchester captured by the long running soap opera, Coronation Street.
Gladys Ina Marie, my mother, was born April 26, 1916 in Sarnia, Ontario to Emile and Emma Burge, their 4th child and 3rd girl. At 18, Emile had emigrated alone from Sweden, courted and won Emma, a 2nd generation Swede from a large family in Bay City, Michigan, who initially shunned him because of his accent. Together they moved to Canada. ‘Papa’ was a traveling lumber salesman for years; then operated a Shell gas station beside their house.