Monday, November 13, 2006

Child beating grandma

My mother and my grandmother had a pretty normal sort of mother daughter relationship so far as I observed.

Mum recounted the only time her mother ever hit her. If my grandmother did this these days, she would probably be locked up.

Mum still does not really understand why it happened and can only put it down to pre-menstrual tension.

Mum picked a small bunch of flowers to give to a friend at school. She was walking across the yard to the house and her mother was walking towards the wash house with a bundle of wood to fire the copper for clothes washing.

I honestly find this hard to believe about my very gentle and placid grandmother.

My grandmother was so enraged about my mother picking her flowers, she picked up a thorny accacia branch and beat the back of my mother's legs until she was cut and bleeding.

Mum went and sat on an embankment and cried and shortly later, her mother came out and cleaned up the wounds. I asked her what her father thought of this but she could not remember. She said that he probably would have sided with her, his pet, and not her mother.

Pretty horrendous hey. But it was the only time Mum was ever hit by either of her parents, and that was in a time when physical punishment was fairly common place. Mum was an only child and she will readily confess that she was spoilt.

A bit later, Mum said to me, "You know Andrew, I can remember always kissing Dad goodnight and giving him a hug, but I can't remember if I used to kiss Mum goodnight. I don't think I ever did."


  1. Anonymous8:47 am

    Andrew, this is a lovely post. And a lesson in life, perhaps, of changing times and maternal bonds.

  2. Thanks Rosanna. It is interesting that my mother is starting to tell me things that she never has before.

  3. We never kissed in our family because my father was terrified that he would pass TB to us. It was confusing to us until we were old enough to understand the reason. With most of his family dead from this disease he lived in fear that he would lose us to it. As much as he loved his grandsons, he wouldn't hold them until they were over twelve months old, just in case.

  4. Did he live to be very old Jah Teh?

  5. He was dying at 21 but beat it with the new drugs after the war and lived until he was 76. He died from bowell cancer which our doctor was sure started with the enormous amount of drugs he had to take. The TB association encouraged us to try for a War Widow's pension for Mum because of this which would have flowed on to other widows but it didn't come off.