Throughout the year Garé maintained a lively correspondence with John ..., a relative, who was helping establishing a family tree for Garé's ancestors. The letters are quite extensive*, and the renderings below are merely very brief excerpts from the letters. The individual passages have to some extent been chronologically arranged by the editor in order to make them a bit more fluent and understandable, but all words are Garé's own.
* Garé wrote on top of one of the letters: Please don't try to read this all at once! Lord - it's as long as 'Quo Vadis'!
|...My apologies for
slowness in answering your letters of the 27th and 28th
April and May 14th...
...Thank you for the photos... I wonder if the school would have been the one mum (in letters Garé always referred to her mother Ethel this way - Editor's remark) referred to as 'the Priory'. I think so - because I've seen that before in someone's album labeled as the Priory! Mum had horrible memories of her days there - of being forced to sew little tiny stitches on delicate material in a dark room when from a child she had such a stigmatism she couldn't see what she was working on, then being cracked on the knuckles for missing a stitch...
...I never heard anything good about their (Ethel and her siblings' - Editor's remark) young lives - all their memories were of being hungry, being punished, being cold, having to spend endless hours sitting in church and being cold because they hadn't enough warm clothes, and being told that it was God's will till they thought of God as some horrible monster ... and with Nina and the older girls (there were 14 in all - Editor's remark) the memories of lugging endless babies around, wiping endless noses, washing endless numbers of rags that were used for diapers. None of them had any fond memories of their young lives...
...I know my Grandma (Charlotte)
was rabid on the subject of temperance. I remember she
and my dad getting into it (squabbling) a couple of times
because the Catholic Bishop of Hawaii would occasionally
give my dad a bottle of wine during prohibition. The
architectural work my dad did for the Catholic church in
Hawaii kept us all eating during the depression...
...I did find a copy of my dad's enlistment in the 'national guard' at Schofield Barracks on the island of Oahu (the island Honolulu is on) and it's dated 1918 - so they had moved to Honolulu from the island of Hawaii sometime in 1918 - meaning that I must have been less than a year old when someone held me up to look at the lights of the volcano, and I can remember a dog we had there called 'Rocco' and I can remember eating the heads of some matches and getting sick - more clearly than I can remember things when I was older...
...I have a whole album still of old family photos I'd like to send you if you'd like it. If so, I will go there and do my best to identify as many as I can and date them???...
...I am the younger daughter of Ethel
Harriette (Banning) Williams and Frederick William
Williams, a Welshman. My mum and dad must have left
England shortly after my sister, Gwendolyn Carr (named
after her father's family - Editor's remark) Wright
was born in Oct. 1907 (actually, Ethel and Gwendolyn
left as late as 1912 to join Garé's father in the USA -
Editor's remark). And, Oh Boy! how they traveled for
the next 10 years or so. First, they spent a year in the
state of Maine nearly starving to death, altho my dad was
a trained Architect and Engineer, the only work he could
find was chopping firewood at 50c a day. He had to walk 6
miles a day to get milk for Gwen in -30 degrees weather (equals
minus 34 degrees Celsius - Editor's remark). Finally,
he got on with one of the railroads that was being built
across Canada as an overseer on the bridges and trestles
that they were building, and they worked their way across
Canada that way.
...The railroad my dad was working on
reached the Pacific coast in 1914 or 1915 - but I think
my parents must have left it in 1913. Meantime mum's
youngest brother Claude had joined them (he later renamed
himself 'Dick'). I wish you could have known them (Dick
and my dad) while they were alive - so you could have
heard the wild tales of their experiences there in
...Mum and Pup lived in Hawaii with brief
sorties to California until shortly after W.W.II started.
I had just rejoined them after 4½ years in art school in
Boston, Mass., in June 1941. - The Japanese attacked
Pearl Harbor, bringing the USA into the war Dec. 7, 1941.
We were evacuated to California Feb. 27th, 1942, because
of my parents' age and health. They tried to get as many
older folks out of the islands as possible to ease the
difficulty of transporting enough food over there from
...Now, for my story, I'll make it brief - 4½
years in art school, draughting during the war, then an
unsuccessful marriage - divorce - became a successful
housepainting contractor (I had always supervised the
painting and decorating of the homes my dad and several
other contractors built). Then finally in 1952, met,
again, a man I had met casually a couple of times while
we were both divorced. He had a high pressure business
writing and drawing the Walt Disney comic books and
needed help. I was finding the house painting too strenuous,
so I went to work for him and a couple of years later we
married (1954) much to the consternation of my dad who
thought I was crazy marrying a man 17 years my senior.
Now my sister Gwen (short for
Gwendolyn - Editor's remark), 10 years my senior
still hail and hearty at 81. A very sweet gentle soul,
with a horrible inferiority complex that led her into and
out of three disastrous marriages (2 children (girl and
boy) by the first, 1 son by the second, none by the 3rd)...
(The last two paragraphs illustrate how Garé would end her letters - Editor's remark):
...I think I'll end this awfully long rambling recitation of my memories of people and movements of the family (Garé wrote detailed comments on all the ancestors as she could in her letters, but these passages have been omitted here - Editor's remark). Please forgive its disjointments and lack of composition - but things just kept popping into my head as I went along.
...I will get Carl to make copies of all this and then get it in the mail. The photos and sketch of the Pub at Miller's Dale were fascinating but I am going to return them. I've given up waiting to get it down to John's (John Barnes, a cousin - Editor's remark) to get his help in identifying people - God knows when we'll make it down there. Either he gets sick or I do, or something urgent comes up with Carl's work... We can't get a house-sitter to stay here while we're gone. We need the phone answered by someone other than an answering machine!
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