11 December 2013

Dear Molly, who are we and where are we from?

I want you to know where I came from and therefore where you came from. History is so important. It is our DNA, in more than just biological terms. It's what makes us who we are. It influences where we are in the world and what we do. The people and places which make up our history are what creates our futures, in one way or another.

"I love not only you, but also your name and your numeral. After all, it's part of what you are." - Jennifer Cavalleri (Ali McGraw), Love Story (1970).

Last weekend we went to see your nana & grandad and found out a little bit more about our family history. I will piece it all together more comprehensively one day. I'd like to try anyway.
Grandad reading you a book that his parents read to him when he was your age

We had a lovely day together in Holt. We went to The Owl Tea Room for lunch and then we wandered round the shops and galleries picking up a few things and enjoying the town's quaint English charm. This is my favourite time of year to visit. Wrapped up warm, enjoying the town's famous (in Norfolk) Christmas lights, buying gifts and holding your little hand.
The church in Holt at night

We trudged back home to nana and grandad's to warm up. You were clutching your little bag of pick & mix sweets, eager to get home. You ran inside and snuggled up in your grandad's armchair and dived into your little paper bag. So happy.

I took the opportunity to rummage around in shoeboxes full of old photographs. There were lots of people I didn't know in photographs which your nana inherited when my nana died. I felt like I had made a new connection to my past by seeing images of my family that I hadn't seen before and by finding out a bit more about them.

I always knew that my mother's (your nana's) family came from France. I didn't know where though...and now I do! My great grandfather (your great great grandfather) Auguste Durand, was born on 16th December 1871 in Seurre in the Cote-d'Or, part of the Burgandy region of France.
I'd love to visit. This could be the beginning of an exciting new French chapter for us.....Maybe the north wind will take us there one day, like Vianne and Anouk in Chocolat.

"But still the clever north wind was not satisfied. It spoke to Vianne of towns yet to be visited..." - Joanne Harris, Chocolat

One day I will try to find out what brought Auguste Durand to England where he had a son who became my Grandad, Charles Durand (Charlie). 
One of my favourite finds of this weekend was this wonderful picture of my Nana and Grandad (Gladys and Charlie Durand) on their wedding day on April 16th 1938 outside Kensington Register Office where they married. They look so happy. It's humbling to think that had they never met and married, we would not be here today. They made a happy life for their children which taught them to do it for theirs and so on and so forth. They say that history repeats itself. To me that just means our children learn how to be, from their parents. So, whatever happens, it's important to do what makes you happy so that your happiness soaks into your children and lives on. We owe our families everything.

I feel that I owe it to you to teach you about your history. I want to show you where our family roots are to give you a sense of identity as you grow. I've still got lots to find out myself and hopefully we'll have lots of fun doing that together.

I love you, as always, Mummy x

"We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies." ~ Shirley Abbott


  1. How exciting! Lovely photograph of your grandparents. x

  2. Thank you. I am planning my French adventure already. We will travel to a new French town, meet new people, find out about our family, open a chocolate shop.....oops, got carried away again! It is exciting though x