WHY WE NEED TO THINK ABOUT GRATITUDE.
On Saturday, September 13, 1874, three of my ancestors (my maternal grandfather’s paternal grandmother and my paternal grandfather’s maternal grandparents) boarded the Indus for a three month and sixteen day voyage to Australia. My paternal grandmother’s maternal grandmother was pregnant with my great-grandmother at the time. And this was nearly two years before Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone.
When my great-grandmother was born, the only computer the world knew was the Egyptian created and Chinese used abacus. The most my great-great-grandparents could have had was for my great-great-grandfather, if he could read and write, take a photo of my great-grandmother and sit down with a quill and inkwell and write:
Dear Mother and Father,
Joyous news. One April 20, in the year 1875, Ann and I welcomed a bonny daughter, Jane. She weighed seven pound, three ounces. We took her to church for baptism.
Your loving Son,
And the letter would have reached England 14 weeks later. Bearing in mind my great-great-grandparents were Brethren, in the modern day, they would have shunned me, as a university educated person typing this on a computer.
Today, we have computers, Skype, Facetime and numerous other technological advances. I know that there are grandparents with grandkids they’ve never seen, due to COVID19 restrictions, but some people want their cake and to eat it, too.
Charles Hinton Snr and Harriet nee Stone, my great-great-great-grandparents, did not ever hold their granddaughter, and their grandson, Edward John Hinton (named after his great-grandfather, John Nutt), died on the battlefields of Messines Ridge, at the age of 31, before they could know him. And, indeed, it took a court of inquiry to establish that my great-great-uncle was dead, after he was reported missing.
The only ones of my ancestors who may have had their mothers present at their giving births who had come to Australia, were my maternal grandmother’s paternal grandmother, as she arrived in Australia at 16, and while her father died six months after their arrival, my great-great-great-grandmother, Jane New, lived for 35 years after their arrival. The same for my maternal grandfather’s maternal grandmother, who arrived as a six year old and her mother lived to be 88, dying in 1899.
In my view, if you’re unwilling to be vaccinated and wear a mask in public, then you cannot complain about not being able to see friends and relatives. So be grateful for Facetime and Skype. You can still see your relatives.