My mother's side of the family at my parent's wedding 10 October 1956

My mother’s side of the family at my parent’s wedding 10 October 1956

It seems like yesterday that the people in this photo were very much in my life but they have all passed now.  This is my mother’s side of the family and her mother on the right died within a week or two of this photo being taken.

In the front, centre is my Great Gran, Jemima Chapman (nee Taylor) who seems to crop up a lot in my blogs.  I guess she is the matriarch of this family – on her right is her daughter, my grandmother, Elizabeth Brown (nee Chapman) whom I know very little about. Behind her on the right is her husband, my grandfather, James Brown, (who died when I was four years old).  My grandfather was a joiner and I have vague memories of digging up his garden with a wooden spoon.  I believe we lived with him in Pollock, Glasgow until I was about two.

Behind my Great-Gran is her son, William (Bill) Chapman who is on crutches.   Uncle Bill contracted polio and lost a leg as a child.  It never held him back.  He was a watch-maker and worked in the Argyle Arcade in Glasgow’s city centre.  I used to pop in and visit him occasionally when I worked nearby.  He and Aunt Mary (next to him in the photo) worked hard and were extremely independent.  Aunt Mary had callipers on both legs which I assume was also from polio.  I remember they had a little 3 seater which had hand controls and I remember them going on a driving holiday around Europe.  (My mother doesn’t remember this so I could be wrong).  It was a highlight for them.  Again I know little about Aunt Mary other than that her name was Mary Horne Alexander and she was born in Aberdeen.  I would like to find out more about her and it is on my very long to do list.

Uncle Harry (back left) was my Great-Gran’s other son.  Uncle Harry (Harold Chapman) played the bagpipes.  He was a soldier but I am not too sure of his regiment.  My mother told me the story that Uncle Harry was fighting in the war when he was shot in the heart.  Fortunately for him, he had a tin of corned beef in his top pocket and the bullet went into that!  Later he had some of his hip blown away.  However he survived to tell the story.  His wife in front of him was my Aunt Chris who I remember as a very harsh woman who played the piano.  That harsh exterior she had seemed to disappear when you put her in front of the piano and I remember lot of family parties where we all sang around the piano while she played.  My mother told me that Aunt Chris (Christine Cullen) was pregnant with twins when she fell off a ladder and they were stillborn.  So far I have been unable to find either a birth or death certificate for them.

There was a lot of tragedy around that family but they always had a smile on their faces.