A tribute to my grandmother, Mary Beatrice Boyd (nee Newell) born on June 27th 1903, sadly passed at age 97 on July 7th 2000. On this, the anniversary of her birthday, I would like to share some of her life story with you.
One of the most fascinating things to me, raised as an only child, was my Nanna's family, of 7 siblings, six were girls. They would say 'here come the Newell Girls plus Boy' or something along those lines.
In the photograph above, my Nanna is in the back row, second from the left. With her are Blanche, Lil, and Avis (my very favourite great Aunt), and in front, Cyril, Dot and Ede. Only Dot is still with us, but the Newell Clan is going on strong in Heaven, rich in the love and happiness they deserve.
The Newells were country stock, living in Goolwa, but the happy family tragically lost their father, my great grandfather who drowned in the River Murray on the 15th of January 1923. Great Uncle Cyril had been with him that day, and was fortunately saved after he fell off their small watercraft, great grandfather Richard Newell jumped in after him and got him to safety. It was a strange and sad accident to befall a strong and respected 'river man' who garnered many touching tributes from important political and mercantile figures who would always take Richard for their friend and guide on their trips to the river. One such tribute was published in the newspaper The Register, Adelaide at the time.
This sudden and sad twist of fate meant that the eldest girls, my Nanna included went to work to help the family to survive. I am so proud of the way the family survived, and the siblings remained loving and close for all their lives, I couldn't ask for better role models than my Nanna and her family.
My Nanna met and married Edward Kenneth Boyd and together they had two girls, Lillian Jean Boyd, and my mother Ruth Mary Boyd. Mum was raised in Goolwa, Hindmarsh Island and Norton Summit, always on farms, with respect for her hardworking and principled parents.
Nanna got herself and her girls through WWII while grandpa was in Europe, she kept every postcard and photograph ever sent home, and thank god he returned safely to them.
Sadly I never met my grandfather, he died the year before I was born, in fact Nanna was the only grandparent I ever knew, and I admit I was a Nanna's girl for all my life, still am, I am so sweet on my Nanna! Nanna was so strong, many a time I have seen it when one spouse dies, the other doesn't long outlive them, but Nanna was with us until the year 2000, I had the richest of childhoods knowing the love and fun of my Nanna's companionship, mostly through summer holidays spent in Adelaide with her and my dear Aunty Jean.