Friday, October 19, 2007

Glennis Ealston from Yorkshire and Molly Beechey from Scotland

How about this for a coincidence?

I have just learnt that Molly Beechey from Blairlogie , a small village about ten miles from my home in Scotland, attended Craig-y-nos as an outpatient in the 1940s and remembers Dr Williams.

Moreover we have known each other as distant acquaintances for a number of years having attended the same art classes together and last New Year we were at the same New Year’s Eve party in Blairlogie village.

Yet neither of us were aware of our shared Welsh history.

How did I discover it? Well, this e-mail arrived from Glennis Easlton in Yorkshire:

“ A cousin of mine from Port Talbot (found only last year!) sent me details of the Craig y Nos exhibition as I intend to visit the area next week.  My grandfather was in the hospital in 1945 and only returned home to Port Talbot, to die of TB.
He was only in his 60's, and had lost his wife at the age of 46, three sons in their early 20s, and two infant daughters. They all died in Pontadawe, but I know my grandmother had also been in the hospital, but returned home to nurse her sick sons. Brinley only survived his mother by 3 months.  My mother survived and lived to be 88 years, but a post-mortem revealed that she also had had TB.

"Like so many of your other contacts, she seemed unable to talk about her family, and would not return with me to the valley and show me her birthplace.  I only found my Welsh cousins last year. My grandparents were Edwin and Hannah Ford and lived in Alltwen, Pontadawe. My grandfather only moved into lodgings near his brother after all his family had died, and his daughter (my mother) left to nurse near London.

"Another coincidence.  A close friend of mine, Molly Beechey, attended the Craig y Nos hospital when she was a child, with suspected TB, and I sent her the web site. You share mutual friends.  She also lived in Ystradgynlais as a child but now lives in Blairlogie.”

Well, I don’t know who was the most surprised- Molly or myself!

Oh yes, the mutual friend we share is Lys Hansen, my artist mentor over the years.

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