by Karen J Mossman
We all enjoy reading stories and it is not only fiction ones that grab our attention. I heard one the other day and it saddened me greatly. A life wasted and someone not reaching their full potential. It makes me think how we don’t get second chances in this life. This is it and we are all encouraged to make the most out of what we’ve got and especially what we do with. Sometimes these choices are taken away through no fault of our own and this is just one of them.
I belong to the Anglesey Federation of Women’s Institutes, a wonderful place that brings women together for friendship amongst other things.
We had a speaker, Audrey Jones, at our meeting to talk to us about ancestry, both her own and in general.
I traced my mine many years ago and tended to get sidetracked with people’s stories along the way. She said it’s easy to do that and she concentrated on her own bloodline to create an amazing family tree that went right back hundreds of years. One story she came across solved a family mystery and shared with us. It is this that I wish to share with you.
Audrey always knew one of her family, an uncle’s mother, was locked up in a mental institution. It was something that was only whispered about. When she looked into her family history and began asking questions, she finally uncovered the truth.
In 1938, Bessie, who came from a well to do family found herself pregnant and unmarried. In order to avoid a scandal, her father had her committed. Bessie gave birth to the baby but remained locked away until her death in 1988.
By coincidence, one of the ladies listening to the talk told us as part of her nursing training in early 2000, she went to that psychiatric hospital and met Bessie. She said was completely normal in her mind, but of course, after all of those years, very institutionalised.
As the story was told, as you can imagine, there were many gasps from the audience and unfortunately, these things did happen back then. Thank goodness it is unlikely to happen again as we are more aware of the needs of others.