#52ancestors: Fresh start

Fred & Rita Saunders

One thing I’m going to do with this blog is to have a go at Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge. Week 1 is ‘Fresh Start’.

My mum and dad were experts of the fresh start.

Fred was born in Bermondsey, London & evacuated to Newhaven in 1939. He went to British Guiana (South America) for his National Service where he met my mother, Rita Florenço. He was there for 2 years before being transferred back to England.

The family story is that Mum proposed to Dad by letter. Whether this is true or not, she travelled to England in August 1958, marrying my Dad in September of that year.

Life in Bermondsey in the 1950s must have been difficult. When they first got married, they shared a small flat with Dad’s brother and sisters. They didn’t stay in England long, emigrating to New York in 1960. My brothers, sisters & I were all born there.

I don’t think Mum was very happy in America. They moved at least 5 times in 10 years, if not more. In 1973, they moved back to London.

I often wonder why they moved as much as they did, particularly what made my mum travel half way across the world 3 times. British Guiana, before the political upheaval in the 1960s, was stable. Mum’s family were relatively well off. They were shop-keepers and owned property. Dad’s family were poor working class. They had been bombed out in WW2 and were living in a council flat.

I know I wouldn’t be brave enough to do what they did.

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