Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Heirloom Scrapbook Volume 1

As many of you know... I rarely choose small projects.  I somehow seem to gravitate towards a greater challenge each and every time I pick something to do.

All I can say is… it’s a disease.  There is no known name for this disease and while some may think they have a cure for me, unless and until you are afflicted with the disease – you will never really fully understand.  If anyone knows the name of this disease, please tell me in the comment box, but please don’t submit your known cures – trust me – I’ve had many many people already try to cure me.  It seems I am incurable.  

So… Once again, I was afflicted by this disease when I decided to create a scrapbook. The idea came to me when my sister wrote a novelette based on my grandfather's life; she decided to write to tell the story of my grandfather’s journey to Canada as an orphan.  In the middle of 19 century churches, orphanages and various organizations devised a scheme to send poor children and children who lived on the streets to Canada and Australia. In return for their part the organization received a set fee for the wages of these indentured children.  Barnardos was the biggest of these organizations.

Grampa Hughes (Harry) was orphaned when he was 4 years old and he was sent from England to Canada on an ocean liner with his 8 year old brother William as his guardian. Can you imagine putting an 8 year old in charge of a 4 year old on an ocean liner? Well that's just what happened. Leaving behind 5 other siblings, they came to Canada and were placed in the care of the Barnardo’s Receiving House in Toronto because their grandmother could not care for 7 children on her own; Bill was placed on a farm as a helping hand, and Harry (Grampa) was too young, so he was placed with a family until he was old enough to work on a farm.
When Harry was old enough to be put to work on farms he was moved several times as most farmers could not pay the  required fee to have a HOME BOY.  Many years passed and Harry and Bill were finally situated closer to each other and then they began to raise their own families. Years later, when Bill's wife passed away, Bill came to live with Harry and it seemed fitting that Harry looked after Bill in the later part of the years, since Bill watched over Harry when he was so young.

So the novelette that my sister wrote, told the story of both fact and fiction and what she could only imagine as the adventure for these young boys.  Its title was, “Are We Going Home Soon Bill?” and the silhouette on the cover page was that of a little boy carrying a suitcase.

While researching, talking and discovering old photos during this process, I thought it would be a lovely keepsake to make a family heirloom scrapbook to tell this story.  My original thought was a 12 page scrapbook.  One page to tell the story of each set of grandparents; one page to tell the story of each of my parents; and one page for each of the 8 siblings.   So I concluded that if I started in January and designed one layout per month, I could have the book done by Christmas.  Oh wait,  I neglected to tell you that I decided not to make just a scrapbook for myself, I was going to make one for each of my family members.  So that included a total of nine books.  Yes, I said nine. 

ok...so I can do this... like I said; one layout per month - and I just cut out that design 9 times.  Big deal; I can have that done by Christmas.  As luck would have it, the January sales were on so I purchased 9 beautiful leather scrapbooks for half price.  Stick to the plan Bonnie - one layout per month - x's 9 cut outs. Done by Christmas. Piece of cake.

OK, I think we all know what happened next.  The disease took over  I couldn't contain myself. Each page made me think of something else to expand on.  After all, how could I not put in a couple of pages about the monkey?   Oh, this would be a good picture to tell a story about.  This is a good memory… can’t leave this out. And so on and so on.  By the end of the book, I had 37 pages. Yes, 37 pages x 9 books.  You do the math – I’m too tired… 

Regardless, I spent every night after work, and every weekend working on the scrapbooks.  I missed the spring, summer and fall that year and I was literally scrapping right up until Christmas Eve.  Holly was a great help to me; while she was not interested in designing, she was very helpful to put the pages together after I had the initial layout designed. She was so good to help me out, but and after a full year of doing this every night and weekend, she had about had it and she was very glad when it was over.  (Although… I know she loved the mother / daughter time… it’s a memory she won’t forget)

Let's begin.  I started with a timeline of my grandfather's life. The luggage tag was to represent their belongings on the journey to Canada.  The map was to meant to represent the ocean journey and the timeline was printed on tea stained and torn paper to give an antique and worn look.

This page shows the only photo we have of 4 of the 7 orphaned siblings and their mother.  I love the picture of my grampa - with his cute little smile.  I never saw this man angry a day in my life, he always had a smile on his face.  I found it fitting to put a feather on this page because finding feathers on your path is also symbolic of having a lighter outlook on life or a particular situation. When we see feathers in our midst it is considered a message that we need to lighten up, not take things too seriously, and try to find the joy in our situation.  My grampa’s smile is evident that he naturally found the joy in any given situation.

This next page represents many years passed when Harry Met Maggie.  We found a copy of their original marriage certificate and I thought how neat if I could scan that so everyone could have their own copy.  Every single scrapbook page was identical so each family member would have the exact same replica.  The bottom of this page has a collage of photos through the years.  The S.S. Parisian ocean liner that Harry and Bill made their journey on, the Barnardo Home, the boys lined up to board their ship - carrying their Barnardo boxes, Girls Village Home in Barkingside,Esssex where Alice and Emily stayed for two years before coming to Canada,  4 of the 7 siblings, William, Harry and Maggie's first home, Harry and Maggie, 1968 family reunion in England (Grampa middle back), William and Lottie in 1934 and taken in 1972 - Harry, Emily and William - which we affectionately called Aunt Em and Uncle Billy.  And of course - Harry and Maggie on their wedding day.  I loved finding all the vintage style photo mats to incorporate within the timelines.  Well... that is when I could find them x's nine.

Sisters, Emily and Alice sailed to Canada in 1897  and were immediately separated. Alice went to a home in Ottawa were records say  she was very happy, but was removed after a time to another situation where she was beaten and eventually died of gangrene of the face and TB a mere 2 years after coming to Canada. She is buried in Ottawa in a paupers grave. Emily, once she fulfilled her indenture with Barnardos worked in factories and mills and eventually settled around Harry and Bill south of London. She never married but did have a son.
The Canadian government has declared 2010 the Year of the Home Child to honour the memory of the 100,000 children who came here from 1869-1948.  A stamp was issued to commemorate these Home Children and was released in September of 2010.

Stay tuned... more pages to follow...


Catherine said...

Wow! What a family history and a labor of love to create these scrapbooks. Thanks for sharing!

Tracey said...

Awesome Bonnie... I forgot what a beautiful job you did on the scrapbooks. Looking forward to seeing Volume 2!

jayne@~an eye for threads~ said...

You take the cake girl, what a wonderful tribute to your Grandfather and family therein. All that and you find time to stitch too, not to mention balking tackwards.
Congratulations to you and your family.

Christmas 2016

Christmas 2016 was held at Jody's this year and we were lucky we had good weather for our travel eastbound.  If there is going to be a...