Spotlight on Uncle Tom & Auntie Nellie

I've created a new blog category called 'Sharing Memories', to which this post belongs.

I remember Uncle Tom (Thomas Smale) very well - he lived to be 95 years old and died in 1991. He came to my house when our son was a baby and we had a photograph taken of 5 generations but I seem to have mislaid the picture for the moment. The generations included, our son, me, my mum, my gran [Phyllis Grace Geake (nee Weaver)] and Uncle Tom, who was my gran's uncle. I can remember visiting him once at his home in Sunshine Terrace in Tavistock, however, there were numerous times when I met him at my grandparents' house. I can't remember if I ever met Auntie Nellie (Nellie, nee Ball) - I might have done.

I've managed to find a colour picture of Tom & Nellie in one of my gran's photo albums. It looks as though it was taken on the same day as an old newspaper cutting that I have announcing their golden wedding anniversary.

Tom & Nellie Smale
Tom & Nellie Smale

The cutting mentions that the couple met at the Lydford Pony Show. Does anyone have any further information about this event? Their wedding day in 1924 at Gulworthy Parish Church, was apparently a wash-out with torrential rain!

Some time after Auntie Nellie died, Uncle Tom gave me a little ivorine Book of Common Prayer which had belonged to her. I vaguely recall he left a vase to my gran in his will and I believe my brother has a Crown Derby tea set that was once Tom and Nellie's.

Uncle Tom was a signalman on the railways and he still used to ride his bicycle when he was well into his 90's.

My gran told me that Uncle Tom and Auntie Nellie had wanted to adopt her after her own grandmother, who was looking after her, died. Gran was 9 years old and an orphan. At that stage, Uncle Tom and Auntie Nellie had only been married a very short time so how true this story is, I'm not sure. The couple never had any children of their own so it might have been something they may have expressed retrospectively. In the event, my gran went to live with another aunt and uncle because reportedly, they were in greater need of the extra cash that was available for orphans from the First World War. This is not to suggest that they weren't good 'parents' to her because they were.

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Category: Sharing Memories

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