Truro in the 1900’s
The themes of home and family are very much significant in the memoir of Edwardian Louie Emmeline Ould as I feel she wrote her memoir solely for her family to read after she passed away. She was born in Truro, Cornwall in 1907 which throughout the memoir she expresses pride for her birth place from poems about Truro to cornish pasties. The opening verse of her poem about Truro is as follows: (see below for original cut out of poem)
‘To my home town – a tribute
When …. booms ….
Cornwall Cathederal heralds hope
To every priveleged suburb’ (Ould 3)
Throughout the whole of her memoir both her place of birth and her family play important themes. The memoir is very family orientated as she talks about her parents, sisters, husband, children and grandchildren for pretty much most of it. She boasts of her childrens accomplishments such as Jonathan who was in the local newspaper for building a home made soap-box on wheels out of metal. In *** article on Mothers and wives in Victorian times we as a reader understand how life differed from Victorian times to the twenty-first Century.
Louie’s memoir focuses mostly on her adulthood although there is a significant amount of information about her childhood. She talks about her parents and says ‘Born 1878 and 1875 respectfully my Father and Mother were Victorians. They brought up three girls in the same manner as their parents inflicted their will on them’ (Ould 5) From this it is apparent that she was born into a strict family. She then goes on to say ‘We were happy in that we were not allowed to do anything wrong and so learned the hard way.’ (Ould 5) After talking about her school life the memoir then shifts to her life as a young adult where we learn she was engaged once before she met the man she would marry and dedicate her life to but her previous engagement was called off. She met Thomas aged 28 and describes him as a ‘quiet man’ (Ould 6) with a pedal bike that she admired, they married in Truro in 1938. She then talks about the birth of her children Angela, Theodora, Taylor and her youngest Johnathn born in 1953 who is talked about most in her memoir.
As mentioned in earlier posts I feel that it was death of Thomas in 1969 when Louie was aged 62 that provoked her to write the memoir. The poignant and moving poem on page 9 ‘Loneliness – by a widow’ conveys perfectly love, loss and loneliness in Louie’s life as I feel that she expresses her emotions best through poetry. The line ‘Ekeing out life I carry on’ (Louie 9) stands out to me the most as expressing her loneliness and pain without her Husband.
The aspects of family life which are talked about in the memoir are her upbringing, meeting her Husband, the birth of her children and her grandchildren. I think that all of these aspects show how the theme of home and family are important themes in Louie’s memoir. With particular importance of her pride in her birth place. The following poem about cornish pasties once again expresses her pride of being Cornish:
‘To make a Cornish pasty
You must be Cornish born
If you’re not the seventh generation
The pasty’s not Cornish but foreign (for’n)
Ston ground flour for the pastry
Mix with butter and cream
Meat and potatoes, onion is tasty
Bake three quarter hours – a dream
Eat without a knife and fork
This is the test of the best
For pasties say with beef and pork
Is the beloved food of the West.’ (Louie 17)
Cornish Pasty poem.
Top: Cornish pasty poem. Bottom: First verse of Truro poem