How a life was defined by childhood poverty

My grandmother, Edna White, nee Boar, aged 90, is now in hospital in Australia, receiving palliative care after a massive stroke.

Hers was a life marked indelibly by the Great Depression. She never tired of telling the story of how at the age of 11 she got a scholarship to a grammar school, but because her parents couldn’t afford the tram fare, she had to go to a three-year high school, and then go out to work at 15.

She was very intelligent, and artistically talented, and ended up forging a financially comfortable life for herself, working as a legal secretary, which for a woman of her generation was a very good job.

But the psychological scars remained – she always felt that the world hadn’t given her her due, and hadn’t allowed her a fair go. That marked her life, and that of her family.

Today, with the massive welfare cuts in Britain, the hideous and growing inequality, how many more people are being so marked?

Update: Nan died peacefully in her sleep on November 21. Seeking information for her death certificate, I’ve had cause to delve into the family history and learnt that her mother was Florence (nee) Grose, her father’s William R. C. Boor. They were married in Paddington (Australia) in 1919. (Nan was born on the 13th April, 1921, and married in 1946.) Two generations much marked also by war.

One comment

  • November 13, 2010 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry to read that your granny is poorly. Wishing you and her all the best at this time.

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