Tuesday, 30 November 2010

My Great Grandmother Isabella Ritchie nee Crombie

Isabella Ritchie ...nee Crombie.
…know as Granny Crombie by my mum.
Born the 7th daughter/eighth and youngest child ….7/8/1841 in Collessie
Died 2/11/1920 in Cupar
This is my Mums memory of her, when she was three …. in her own words….
…..She looked so grumpy and rather frightening, sitting in the basket chair by the range, dressed head to toe in black. Her black bonnet, which was tightly tied by ribbons under her chin, remained on her head through out the whole visit. Mother tried to persuade me to come out from under the table but to no avail. After some time Granny Crombie produced some paper, which she then twisted into cones and filled with sweeties. It was mesmerizing watching her make these pokes from my place of safety, but finally I allowed her to coax me out. To my surprise she spoke to me with a soft and gentle voice and her face no longer looked grumpy ….
Her son William wrote about her, soon after her death in 1920 .... I am so lucky to have the draft of his article … these are some snippets that give some insights into her character.
…She was by nature secretive, reticent and very reserved. She enjoyed a few select intimate friends of her own choice but during the years of the war she seemed to discard her local friends, …..
…..From her long weekly letters to me- often running into four foolscap pages with several post scripts in order to use every inch of the paper, she seemed to have assumed the responsibility of a statesman. She was so serious and critical on political and military matters and would discourse also on local affairs, industrial unrest, cost of living, shop bargains and prospective Cupar marriages …..
…Her sole literature was her Bible and her newspaper. Her greatest luxury was to peruse this journal from cover to cover …
….It might surprise the citizens of the country town to know that she knew and could name nearly every man woman and child in Cupar because everyone was obliged to pass and re-pass her turret window …..
…. She loved to admire nice looking people as they strutted across her ‘stage’ and remark upon them. She was amusingly critical about the modern ladies fashions in dress, millenary and manners …
It is interesting to me to read the first three words of description of his mother as it could be describing my own mum. … and the fact of having a tiny number of select close friend is me and mum to a tee. …obviously a family trait.
Hope you feel you know her too.
Take Care


Nancy said...

What a nice tribute to Isabella. It's great that your mum decided to take a chance on her Granny and the sweets. And how wonderful that you have that draft of William's so you could get to know Isabella, too (and share her with us).

Ginny said...

a wonderful tribute to Grumpy Granny :)

Shaz in Oz.CalligraphyCards said...

Very lovely Angie, feel do know here a bit.. I love what you are doing with this blog makes me think I should do something like this too.. I love the photo of her as it is very similar to my great x 3 grandmother, I think she was in taken about 1860, looks very severe in it...and scarey too.
thanks for sharing,
Shaz in oz.x