Story Archive

14 Jul Micki Maunsell’s story of Amy

Her name was Amy Reeve. My brother Richard called her “Mummy” or “Mum,” but to me she was always “Belinda”, after a cartoon character named Belinda Blue-Eyes. She was born around 1899 in Tasmania, and was the youngest of four daughters and one son. At least, this is what I thought until a recent internet search revealed that she was actually born nine years earlier, on February 3, 1890, and was the fifth of six daughters and one son. Perhaps only four of the girls survived, and that is why I was never aware of the other two. I recall Belinda telling me that her father, a surgeon named Charles Frederick Reeve, was a Baron from England, who met and married my grandmother in Australia.

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05 Jul Julia Arkos’ story of Julia

My mother was born Julia Veronica Szappanos in Szarvas, Hungary on June 16, 1933.  Her mother, Margit (Lazar) Szappanos and father Janos Szappanos were performers with a dance act that toured Europe under the name “Rita and Ray”. Janos was also a circus performer and developed a blindfolded knife‐throwing act with Margit. Shortly after my mother’s birth, due to the busy traveling schedule her parents had, they moved to Szeged, Hungary to live with her grandparents, Janos Lazar and Juliana (Karolyi) Lazar. Her grandparents had a small farm with an attached bakery, and her grandfather Janos was a master baker. My mother’s grandparents raised her and her parents dropped in from time to time as their touring schedule allowed (she was always thrilled to spend time with her dad, who did dote on her, but she described her mother as “distant”). My mother had a happy childhood helping with chores on the farm (loved the animals especially) and described herself as a tomboy, climbing trees and getting into fistfights with the local boys.
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