HE PURAPURA MARARA SCATTERED SEEDS
Memories of My Isaac Grandmother & Uncles & Aunts
I am Margaret Yvonne Joseph (Nee Isaac) eldest daughter of Abe & Gladys Isaac, I was born on 22nd December 1939, having two brothers older (Tobia & Richard) and four other sisters younger than me, (Valerie, Donna, Maria & Joy).
My earliest memories of my Grandmother Hala was at 38 Hope Street in Dunedin, my Dad used to take we three older children to visit her most Sunday mornings after Mass. I can remember her being quite sick, she seemed always to be lying on a couch in her lounge. She was a very beautiful lady and always very kind to me. I remember her giving me a little pink purse (I think it was probably an evening bag), it had lovely silver scrolls on the front of it. I loved that little bag, and used to play with it and take it with me whenever I went out. I am not sure what happened to it. She also gave me a cross on a chain which had (I presume) “look alike” diamonds in it. From memory it had one or two stones missing. I had always kept that little cross, and I gave it to Roley (Alison, Val’s daughter) when she was making her video before her trip to Lebanon in 2012. I would have only been 4 in the December of 1943, and I see by the records that Hala died in September 1943, but I do just remember her, and my younger sister Maria always reminds me of our Grandmother Hala.
Many years later, May 1957 when I was a Debutante, Aunty Annie gave me a beautiful ‘old gold’ bracelet with 3 diamonds & 2 sapphires in it, which had belonged to Hala. My Dad was absolutely delighted that she had given this to me, and I have now passed it on to my own daughter Vicki who really loves it. I also did make enquiries about the value of this piece of old jewellery because of the stones and the inscribed gold, but was told that although the gold was ok, the stones in those early days were actually only chips and if they were disturbed in any way could well just disintegrate. However, Vicki still loves the fact that it belonged to her Great Grandmother and does wear it from time to time, as I used to do as well.
My memories of Uncle Joe and his wife Jean are very vague too, I do recall how lovely Uncle Joe was, always had a beautiful smile and was such a nice man. My Dad said he was always a gentleman and Dad held him in very high regard. He used to be a cobbler and I can remember after he died that Dad had some of his tools of trade, and my fondest memories of my Dad is when he used to mend all our shoes, I used to be fascinated by the way he would put the tacks in his mouth as he resoled the shoes. I was always scared he would swallow the tacks!! Some of my cousins will remember Uncle Abe’s cough too!! And will fully understand why I was scared.
Uncle Neave, I remember well. I would sometimes go and stay with Aunty Mary (she was also my Godmother) when Uncle was away on business. He was also a lovely man but a bundle of nerves, he would walk up and down the kitchen or any other part of the house, he just couldn’t sit still for very long. I think one of our cousins, Toby Farry, and his two sons inherited this habit as well. When they visited me they would all walk up and down my lounge – I used to tease them saying they would wear my carpet out.
Uncle Neave and Aunty Mary lived at 36 Hope Street and that little house holds so many precious memories for me, of times I spent there both before and after I was married. Aunty Mary was a real little darling, (she was known as Birdie, because Neave had a sister called Mary as well.) Uncle Neave died when he was still quite young and Mary continued to live there, looking after her dear old father, I am not too sure how long they both lived after Uncle died, or when.
I don’t remember Uncle Frank at all, but I do know that he was estranged from the rest of the family. He apparently married a lady who had been divorced, and in those early days in the eyes of Frank’s family that was not well accepted. I believe they did have a son (Ivan) but I think he has died too. I do remember when Frank died though because it was sometime either near the end of April or May 1963 (I was getting married on 18th May of that year, and thought my wedding may have to be delayed), but my Dad said it wasn’t necessary to do that.
Uncle Hallam was another person I remember quite well, he was known as Shorty because of his height, he was a fun uncle, never married, never had much money, but always gave us children something, whether it be a penny or ice cream or a few pennies. He seemed to be the wanderer in the family and spent a great deal of time in Auckland after Aunty Mary & Uncle John Farry moved there, he seemed to always be in Rodney’s (Otto’s) company.
I remember when that family moved to Auckland. We happened to be visiting Aunty Lizzie & Uncle George in Elm Row when May & Toby Farry came to say goodbye to us. I remember crying because I loved playing with them, they were the youngest in that family, and years later I was one of May’s bridesmaids and became great friends with all the rest of the family as well.
Uncle John was my Godfather, and the first time I visited Auckland when I was about 18 I stayed with Aunty Mary and him, they were so good to me. David, Toby & May were still living at home then and what a wonderful holiday I had. Mary, Rosanna, Zita, Betty & Hula were all married by then, but were always visiting their parents, I remember Mary so well she was really beautiful and a real lady. The three older boys Rodney, Dan & John were married and had a car lot in front of their parents house in Grey Lynn, so you can imagine the comings and goings of those days. It was after that holiday that I decided I wanted to live and work in Auckland, but I had to wait until I was 22 before that happened, and of course during that time I met my own husband Frank. He spent a lot of time with the family (he and Dan had been at school together in Dunedin), and when I met Frank he was flatting with Dan’s brother David, so I guess it was ‘meant to be’, I do know that the whole family was so happy that Frank and I were together!!
My memories of my Aunties is so lovely, Aunty Mary was also always very kind to me,(but she always seemed to be praying!!! Aunty Lizzie was a real darling, Aunty Annie a little frightening, but she meant well, and Aunty Salma was just such a dear lady, but quite different from the others. I only knew of Aunty Dolly, and didn’t meet her until I was in Dunedin for Uncle Kelly & Aunty Anne’s Golden Wedding, she was such a dear soul, I do remember going with my Dad to visit her and Uncle Peter when I was young, but they were in a hospital and I always stayed in the car.
As for Uncle Tony and Uncle Kelly, well what can I say, especially Uncle Kelly, he and my Dad used to make me feel as if I was Cinderella, they were both so kind to me. I had a lot ‘hang-ups’ when I was young, but it didn’t matter to either of them.
Uncle Kelly and Aunty Anne lived in Havelock Street with us when I was little, and did they both spoil me! According to my mum, A. Anne used to dress me up and always take me out, she also was always trying to give me curls!! Oh those rags were a real pain. However when they moved to Mosgiel, I spent many happy times there and Uncle Kelly had the patience of a saint, especially teaching me to ride a bike. In his eyes I could do anything if I just kept trying. How I loved him and my Dad!!
My memories of Uncle Tony is that he always seemed to be fixing cars. He and Aunty Mavis had a large family so we didn’t see as much of them in those early years. I do remember my cousins though, but most of them were still quite young when I was married. I had a lot to do with Young Tony (as he was always known) and he was just gorgeous, so sad that he died so young. I have since met the rest of the boys and they are all very nice. I know Joe & Michael better than the others, and met Annette for the first time when she was in Dunedin for my brother Richard’s 70th birthday. I may have met her earlier in Melbourne, but not sure.
My memories of Uncle Scotty are very dear to me. He was the youngest member of Dad’s family, and he died in his late 30s. I think I was about 18 when he passed away, but I do remember how much fun he was. He and Eileen and their young children were frequent visitors to our home in Havelock Street. As I grew older I would spend a lot of time at their home in Andersons Bay and Eileen would always be sewing (she was a very good dressmaker). Whenever she made a dress for me, Uncle Scottie would voice his approval, he was always very complimentary to me. I can remember when Eileen was making my debutante frock he was so impressed by how I looked, he offered to be my partner and present me to the Bishop. I used to tell him he needed to see an optician!
One very fond memory I have is when I was about 16, I went with Eileen and the children in her car towing the Caravan to Queenstown. I can so clearly remember Sonia & Noel asking us when we had only reached Caversham, "how many more miles before we get there”. Uncle Scotty was working somewhere in Central Otago and he would come and visit us in the evening.
He loved his wife and children dearly, and always had a kind word to say about all of his nieces and nephews. His sudden death was a great shock to all of us. I remember staying with Eileen and the children for a couple of weeks after, it was so sad, Rosita was only 9 months old at the time. He would be so proud of his children now, they are a credit to both of their parents, and he would have adored his grandchildren.
In conclusion, all I can say is that I think all our uncles and aunts would be very proud of us all. I would like to think that our darling Grandparents would have been very pleased with their offspring and how we have all turned out!!!
I love each and every one of my nieces, nephews, grandchildren & cousins and just wish we were all living in closer proximity to one another – imagine what a party that would be!!
Margaret Joseph (Nee ISAAC)