So far I haven’t reached the part in my story where I actually start discovering when my ancestors came to Liverpool but I’m getting there!Yesterday, husband John and I attended a Get-Together. My cousin Marjorie and her husband Richard were over from California and wanted to meet up with my brother, sister and me, so it was arranged by her elder sister, Maureen and me to do just that. Our mothers, May and Flo being sisters, we have a special relationship with Mo, Marj and their younger sister, Irene, who lived in New Jersey. The three were a great help to me with research for FRIENDS AND LOVERS.
Our family relationship, though, was enriched by many happy memories of when we were kids that include visiting the Pivvy (Pavilion) theatre, Toxteth, to see the pantomime but mainly of camping in Towyn, North Wales. We would swim in the sea, sometimes as late as ten at night, never mind being stung by jellyfish! Our mothers only ever paddled with their skirts tucked up, so they would collect cockles and cook them in a big pan back at the camp site and we'd eat them hot. We would play the songs of the day on the jukebox down at the penny slots just across the railway from the beach. (Who remembers ‘A White Sports Coat and a Pink Carnation’?) And occasionally we would visit the fair or the cinema in Rhyl where we’d watch such films as ‘Rock Around the Clock’. (Just thinking of Bill Haley and his Comets makes my toes twitch.)
When our dads had their week’s holiday and came to join us, we’d go to Conwy or Rhos-on-Sea swimming pool. But best of all was Uncle Bill taking us into the hills in his little black Ford ( I remember sitting on the roof rack with our Don and how thrilling it was, never thought of the danger) and we’d visit the stream.
Below is my sister Irene, cousin Irene, Marjorie and me at the stream in the fifties.
North Wales is still close to our hearts and when Marj is back in Liverpool, she and Maureen always visits the stream. It was no different this time but little did she know just how near she and Maureen were to the home of the second cousin we had never met and whose grandmother was our grandmother’s sister.
Phil Swift had got in touch with me early on in 2012. He was on the Ancestry site when he came across a comment I’d written on my family tree about my mother having pushed a young Swift in a pram when she was a girl. He thought it just possible that the youngster was his dad. So it proved and an intermittent correspondence between Phil and I began. He was able to fill in a couple of gaps in my knowledge of the Milburn family, because our grandmothers’ eldest sister had married my grandfather’s eldest brother. He also emailed me some photos and amongst them was a photo of a smiling young man in naval uniform.
My heart ached for him. I just knew he could only be my mother’s cousin, Thomas Milburn, who had gone down with HMS Black Prince at the Battle of Jutland in 1916: the photos having been discovered in the house of his younger sister Edith in Wallasey on the Wirral.
So Phil and his wife Margaret were at our Get-Together, even cousin Irene in New Jersey got a word in on Skype and we all reminisced and promised to keep in touch. I discovered that Maureen's husband, Pete, whom Mam had always called Piccolo Pete had played in a group at The Cavern, whilst cousin Marjorie had worked in the cloakroom at The Iron Door. All gist to the mill of the author.
Pete, Phil, Margaret, June, John, Marjorie, Don, Maureen, Richard, Irene, Barbara.