The old man above is my grandfather, on my mothers side that is. His life is a bit of a mystery to me, I’ve only ever been told snippets of the full story. That’s the problem with my family, none of us seem to think our stories are worth being told. I think we would all prefer to slip into the cracks of time, a side note or one line sentence, scribbled into the back of the history books.
But I have always been a furiously rebellious child, mostly in the quietest of ways, and my silent and humble rebellion is to never let the stories that mean something to me, be forgotten.
My grandfather was born a Canadian, Mr. Carl Russell, into what I can only assume was a rather large family, judging by the amount of extended family referenced in dinner conversation. I remember having phone calls with his mother, my great grandmother. She was deaf and a bit loony so the conversations were a bit disjointed but defiantly full of energy from both parties.
I don’t really know what my grandfather did growing up, but I know he seemed to care a great deal about his family and was working to support his mother and un-confirmed amount of siblings, from a very young age.
Somewhere down the line he decided to emmergdrate to a little country on the other side of the world called New Zealand.
I don’t know if he came by plane or by ship, but I have always imagined him like a Jack from Titanic sort of character, hanging out in the bowels of a big ship, and drinking home-brew while listening to upbeat Irish music.
Finally, once in New Zealand, he started working for himself, going door to door selling brooms, vacuums, and other cleaning products.
Somewhere in there, he met my grandmother, they fell in love and were married within a few years.
She was a teacher, he was a salesman.
They had two children, their youngest daughter, is my mother.