On Sunday 12 June 2011 I seem to have created a blog on a site I never revisited. I hadn’t remembered doing it but the evidence is up and out there in the ether, rediscovered when I chanced to trip a link while tidying up my computer desktop. I called that blog, ‘Crazed visions’, subtitle: ‘thoughts and words as they occur’. It consisted of a list in which I jotted down what came to my mind about my great-aunt. I may never get round to writing more about her, but this may trigger memories in members of the family (if so, please send them to me). For other readers it may stimulate thoughts and feelings (inherited or not) about the people who existed on the fringes of the family nucleus.
What do I know about Dedae?
- She was my great-aunt, unmarried youngest sister of my mother’s father William Gibb Chisholm.
- Her full name was Agnes Edith Chisholm (Agnes was her mother’s name, no idea where Edith came from).
- She made my mother a doll’s house out of orange boxes during WW1; it has a stair case and I still have it. A detached house with a balcony, nothing like the house she lived in.
- In her last years she lived in Belgrave Crescent, as did her unmarried slightly older doctor (gynaecologist) brother Uncle Ernie.
- It was a ground and basement flat with a hideous and large painting of St Sebastian in the hall (presumably this was a family possession? is there an inventory for AWC in 1921, or AHC in 1936?)
- Otherwise the front room is all I can remember, facing on to the communal garden over the street (that would be south), a heavy feeling of Victorian clutter, oil paintings and plants.
- I last remember meeting her at my grandfather’s cremation at Warriston the year I married (1966). She asked me whether I would like a practical or useful wedding gift. I said useful (which I have always thought was the wrong answer) and she gave me a set of pyrex casseroles decorated with flowers.
- I don’t think she liked my mother much (probably mutual) and she did not mention her in her will.
- Her executor was mother’s cousin Ralph Darling (son of her elder sister Annie) who disposed of many of the family artifacts, which meant little to him, without consulting his cousins.
- Ralph, who came back from South Africa after an unsuccessful marriage to live with his aunt, had to conceal his long-term partner Diana from her. Diana was banned from the house. (After Ralph’s death, years later, Diana would meet my mother for coffee, having travelled across England to hand over small items of silver which she said must go back to the family).
- Mother said Dedae was a snob who would refer to people as not being out of the top drawer.
- Dedae was the unmarried daughter who lived at home taking care of her parents.
- Somewhere there is a photo of her in perhaps a VAD uniform during WW1.
- She would have been one of the generation whose hope of marriage went with The Great War.
- There are a couple of photos of her as a teenager but none later (she would have inherited the family possessions, did she destroy them?)
- She was very involved with the Clan Chisholm Society.
- She commissioned a researcher to examine her ancestory (I have the report).
- In her later years she would take elderly people out for runs in her car round Warriston. She was not a good driver and disliked the introduction of traffic lights.
- There are questions: how and where was she educated? Is there an inventory of her estate which presumably included the Robert Scott Lauder family picture of his sister?
- Born 1886, died 1975.
- Her mother (Agnes Helen Gibb) died in 1936, her father (Alexander Wyse Chisholm) in 1921.
- Despite living in Edinburgh she was not a person we saw or visited much; not a warm relationship…
Once she was a gawky girl balancing frothy puff-balls of white lace.
What was life like for her?