Thursday, January 23, 2020

Thursday Thoughts

"I wanted to explore the journey of those young women who lost the men they might have married.  They were an extraordinary generation who had to redesign — if you will — the notion of what it meant to be a woman on her own — a spinster."
Those men were lost in the Great War of 1914-1918 in Europe.  This quote is from page 4 of a "conversation" with the author at the back of Jacqueline Winspear's 2004 novel Birds of a Feather.

Winspear's books are bringing back memories from my own life as I read about life between the First and Second World Wars.  This line makes me think of my Aunt Bonnie, whom I'm named for.  She was a "spinster," born in 1904, and thus at the exact age Winspear is talking about.  In 1930, when this book is set, she would have been 26 years old.  I remember hearing Mother telling someone that her sister had turned down a fellow who asked Bonnie to marry him, not knowing he'd be the last to propose to her.  The reason she rejected him?  He didn't have indoor plumbing.

I realized, on reading that line above, that she didn't have as many options as I did, or even my mother, who was 13 years younger than her sister.  The photo shows Mother's family:  father, mother, six brothers, and two sisters.  Their parents are on the left, my mother is the girl on the front row, and Bonnie is behind her.  Mother was 12 when her father died in an auto accident in 1930, so this photo has to be earlier than that, obviously.  Bonnie went on to work (and support herself) by working for Mark, the brother on the far right in this picture, who owned a coal company on Main Street near Ridgedale.  She ran the office and dispatched the trucks delivering coal to their customers.

By the way, they are standing in front of the house I wrote about yesterday, the house on Fifth Avenue where I lived from 1943 to 1949.

1 comment:

Helen's Book Blog said...

This photo makes me think of my wonderful, British great aunt Jenny whose fiancé died in WWI. She never married like so many women of that generation.