There was Mother’s relatives.
The Parkes family at Stourbridge. Nellie Parkes was
Grannie Stevens’ sister. The Parkes had two sons and a
daughter; they were in quite a big way in the butcher
trade. They lived in a beautiful house in Stourbridge.
On Dad’s side we used to go and see
Uncle Tom. He married again. He had a second wife, Aunt
Charlotte, who we didn’t like very much. We never knew
his first wife, who was the mother of Irene and Cissie.
She drank herself to death. Tom was uncouth and I
understand she was a very well educated woman, who came
from a good family. The Manley’s, they were a
Wolverhampton family. Mother said that he really broke
her heart with his behaviour, coming home drunk, I
suppose. He drank too much. So did Grandad Harley. I
think that was the main trouble between him and Grannie.
When he was in his cups, she used to go out around the
customers collecting the debts, and then when he came to
look at the books, he found out these people had already
paid and that she had spent the money!
I remember when she started up in
business, she stole a horse off him. Or was it a boat? I
think it was a boat. She took it from Cleveland Wharf to
Can Lane and that’s how she started up in trade herself.
On Dad’s side there was also little
Elsie Harley who lived at Sedgley with some relation of
her mother’s. Then there was Albert Harley. He and his
wife kept a pub somewhere near Stourbridge near the
river. Would it be the River Severn? I remember Mother
saying that it was such a bad winter in the eighteen
somethings that the river froze over and they skated
from Wolverhampton to Stourbridge.
It must have been on the canal.
They all skated, because Grannie Harley said that Uncle
Albert’s wife at the pub cut so many sandwiches that the
knife became frozen in her hand. Anyway, she’d got money
in her own right. All the way down the line there seems
to be money - people of a good station in life, which I
am very proud of.