Memories of flower and bird and wind and world, and all the living and all the dead.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Rachel was born in 1893, the eldest of three children. Her father had a small farm, mixing farming with open-cast mining. By the time she was sixteen, he had sold the farm for good money. Deep mining was eating its way through the valleys. Daniel spent the money on buying a pub. Sadly for Rachel and her brother and sister, their parents enjoyed the pub far too much and the money disappeared rapidly. She left home to work as a kitchen maid in a local manor farm.
Willow pattern blue eyes, strawberry blonde hair and her delicate build caught the attention of a young man in the house. By the spring of 1912, she was pregnant and by the summer, jobless. Returning home to her parents, she found herself unwanted there as well. Utterly rejected and homeless, she was found wandering the lanes by her widowed aunt who took her in. Her aunt was childless with no experience of childbirth. Rachel’s tiny frame struggled with the large baby for days of agonising and frightening labour. Rachel was nineteen and this was January 1913. Defiantly, she named her baby after his father who never acknowledged the kitchen maid and her unwanted baby.
Large, square and ugly, she adored him. But she knew that she had to provide a living and a home for them both. Her aunt ran a boot round, collecting and returning boots and shoes door to door for mending and Rachel joined her, expanding the business walking many miles pushing the perambulator with the boots piled in with the baby. Her brother and sister came to visit and, gradually, her parents allowed their daughter to visit.
Rachel looked for more than lodging in her aunt’s home. She wanted security and, at barely twenty-one was still young and pretty.
Meeting William put Rachel’s life on a completely different course. They met in 1914 and were together for the next forty-seven years. She had found a step-father for her baby and a man who could provide a good living for the little family. She settled into respectability and domesticity.