The ties that bind us

This very stylish young woman is my paternal grandmotherLucy Phyliss Davis McLaren Davis…She’s a tiny petite woman, but she’s as strong as steel and as hard as they come. Being born and living in the Falkland Islands would have made you that way I guess. It’s a lonely hard life that my family have lived since the Falkland Islands was first colonised by the first British Governor in the 1840’s. I love her, she’s my grandmother, but well, you know…
I lived with Nan & Pop for a time after Dad died. My grandparents now live in NZ. in Mt Wellington. I made a quick trip back to see them in January to make sure I said, what amounts to as, goodbye. She  celebrated her 93rd birthday in April. Phyliss as she’s known, to others who aren’t her grandchildren, had 7 children; Terry, George, Carrick (my dad), Candy, Rosie, Tony and Eugene. That’s Eugene in the picture below.
Nan bore witness to 3 of her children’s deaths. First there was my dad in 1971. In the 1980’s we lost Terry (my favourite) and then Eugene. I never met Eugene. His son Adam is a few years younger than me and by the time I was living in NZ with my grandparents, Eugene had split up from Adam’s mum and wasn’t around. He was shot in Qld; Lord knows what he got up to during that period of his life! Suffice to say no one deserves to be shot dead.
This picture was taken during dad’s illness. Candy and Nan came over from NZ to say their goodbyes. Candy is really the only one of the McLaren familythat I had a lot to do with during childhood. She and her family migrated here in the 1970’s. These days she lives in Port Macquarie from what I hear. My dad was a world roamer; so we were never really a close part of the wider McLaren family. After his death nothing really changed. My mother and 2 of my brothers eventually joined me in NZ and then after a while came back to live in Australia. I don’t think Nan and Mum got along. I saw my grandparents in the mid 1990’s. They got to meet their great grandaughters; it was a great afternoon that I cherish.

This is nan in 2006. I have pics from my Jan visit, but I’m not posting them. She’s failing in health. When George and I spoke in January he thought that she didn’t have much time left and if i wanted to see her i’d better do it; so I did. It was an odd visit, but one that I needed to make. Some days she knew who I was and then other days she didn’t. They were sitting on the patio out the front of their little unit when I arrived. George had kept it a secret. Pop knew who I was right away. He didn’t give it away though…”who do you think it is Phyl?”…My aunty Rosie was there…and I hadn’t seen her since I was 6. I asked her if she knew who I was. She looked hard into my eyes, but couldn’t work it out. To my family i’m not Sue, Suze or Suzie…to my family I am Susan or Carrick’s daughter… or to those who knew my family later and are not connected to my Falkland Island heritage I am also known as Margaret’s and Buff’s (or Harry’s) girl…still Susan though LOL Anyone who knows me in adult life knows I can be Su, Sue, Suze, Suzie but I’m not Susan.

My nanna passed away peacefully in her sleep last night (13/12/09) at 10:30 pm.  She was 93 years old.  Pop and Candy were at her bedside.

Pop will be lost without her; he’s 10 years younger and whilst he is her 2nd husband, she is his first and only wife.  They are cousins; not an unusual occurance in the Falkland Islands. My grandfather Reuben McLaren and Nan divorced a long time ago. We lost Reuben during the 1990’s. I never met him, but I did have written contact with his brother Jack. Jack passed on a few years back now.

So, this blog is to say a final goodbyeto my grandmother Lucy Phyliss Davis McLaren Davis. She was a strong woman. She was a hard woman. She was a survivor in hard conditions.

I wish life had been different and we could have been closer, but life is what it is. I still love this woman. The smell of vine ripened tomatoes zooms me in a flash back to her backyard vegetable garden and tiny orchard. The smell of ripe tomatoes will always remind me of my father’s mother.

Nanna, you will live on through your children, your children’s children, your grandchildren’s children and those that are yet to come.

bye bye Nanna,

I love you,

your grandaughter,

Susan. xxxx

This entry was posted in family.

3 thoughts on “The ties that bind us

  1. Hello Iain, thank you for replying and sharing your memories. Even though I never met Eugene i do remember when he died. From memory I think he was killed in Qld? I could be wrong; it was a long time ago. I remember Pop staying with Candy in Kempsey, NSW on his way up to Qld to attend the details. I met his son, my cousin Adam when I was living with Nan and Pop in 1972 in Auckland when they lived in the Portman Road house. He was only a toddler then. My uncle George and I had a drive over to the Portman Rd house when i was last there in 2009; it’s quite run down now. I think Pop said Adam is living in Christchurch now. I was surprised to get a blog comment on this post LOL How in heck did you come across it? Lovely to hear from you, keep in touch, su

  2. Hi Suzie,
    Thank you so much for putting these family photographs on your blog. It’s decades since I last saw her, but I knew your grandmother, Phyliss Davis, when I was young. For many years she worked in the same factory, Reidrubber (in Gt South Road, Auckland), as my mother, Cathy Sharp. In the 1960s I was in the same class at Penrose High School (just across the road from Reidrubber), Auckland, as Eugene, the dapper little boy sitting with your Nan and Pop in the second photo. Eugene was one of my closest friends during my awkward teenage years. We were both proud owners of small Japanese motorbikes when we were fifteen. Eugene’s was a red Suzuki 120 (although he once painted it gold), mine was a black Honda 90. We rode miles and miles on those bikes every weekend. I know it broke your Nan and Pop’s hearts when Eugene was murdered in Sydney while still in his early twenties. Warmest wishes to you and all your kin, Iain.

  3. Hi Suzie,

    Very sorry to hear about your grandmother, and you are a very strong woman who could write such a beautiful post at this time. What an amazing woman and an even more amazing legacy she leaves behind in all of you.

    Jo-Ann

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