The handwriting is very carefully formed, the manner deferential and self-effacing and the range of interests constrained and homely. We move on nearly fifteen years from the first "letter" announcing the birth of my grandmother, this next offering was written by her: Sylvia Irene Veronica Cole. This gem of a collectable was written in 1910 when SIVC was a whisker past 14 years of age; written from Tamworth, a small country town in the northern tablelands of NSW; written to HER grandparents. The watercolour gives me a thrill each time I study it. My older brother, who saw it for the first time this past weekend, was mesmerised.
Sylvia's mother was Sarah-Annie and HER mother married three times (Evans, Finch, Faull) all of whom were road-workers and Australian. Ma Cole was not highly educated and I surmise that her own mother was even less so. My guess is that in this letter, Sylvia is writing to her paternal Grandmother, Hannah Wilkins Cole, who remained in England and to whom her husband Steven, returned after a brief sojourn in the Antipodes.
A wee slip of a girl who was to bear four children to a man 17 years her senior; to lose the two younger children whilst continuing to live to 88 years of age. A grandmother who told me about her astonishment on her wedding night; who poo-pooed her garulous older spinster sister's pontifications about married life: "what would she know!" I adored her.
|SIVC in 1916, aged 21; and, in 1942 aged 47, with two sons serving in the AIF in New Guinea.|