Stories of Survival: Weather and disease.
By Harriet, Editor-At-Large Australia
No 3. Francis and Elizabeth faced their TEOTWAWKI and SHTF
Great grandfather Francis (father’s grandfather) was a seaman. He had persuaded the ship’s captain to take his wife and new child on his last trip aboard before he left to a new job on land. During a particularly rough part of the trip everyone was celebrating a major event and Francis was one of the few fairly sober people on board as he was at the wheel of the ship. He sent word to the very drunk captain that he could hear white water and was very worried. The captain told him to maintain course or he would be lashed. Despite several attempts to persuade the captain otherwise he was unable to make the captain change his mind about the course. Disobeying the captain was unthinkable. The ship hit rocks and only then did the captain take his warnings seriously. Francis was ordered to take a lifeboat full of passengers to shore, the captain keeping his wife and child aboard to make sure he would come back with the lifeboat for a second load of people. In very high seas the lifeboat was also dashed on the rocks. Francis made it to shore to see the ship go down. His wife and child died that day. He was distraught.
Great grandfather Francis remarried a widow, Elizabeth. Elizabeth at 16 had roamed the bogs of Ireland barefoot. By 18 she had married, had a child and was living in what was then German Samoa in the middle of the Pacific ocean and by then she spoke three languages, including German and Samoan. At 20 she was widowed and moved to New Zealand with her son trying to eek out a living as a lace maker. She remarried, and Francis and Elizabeth had five more children. Both had started again despite their loss of all and having to make a go of it in a new country.
Skills needed: Brawn and hard work. Francis was a seaman, but was able to turn his hand to other things as well. Elizabeth had lacemaking skills which tided her over till her remarriage and for some time until children crowded other things out.
Lessons: Be prepared to start again. Great tragedies are the norm, not rare. We cannot let even the worst of them dominate our life forever. Despite this occurring at the beginning of the long depression (1880-1900) they pulled through focusing on education and frugal living.
Their context was one of making do during a depression. Drunkenness and petty crime abounded. The law was unevenly applied. What is your context?
To be Continued… Stories of Survival: Part 4—Daisy & C, War doesn’t just impact on the men serving their country, SHTF.
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