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Mining for a Future

I felt a yearning to discover a part of the family that was shrouded in a gauze of mystery and secrecy. 
Call me Pandora, because my discoveries opened up a box of bygone times that cannot be equated to today.

The focus of this story, is a man who remains less of a mystery and yet as distant as he seemed to me during his living years.
My impression of him was that he was hard working, quiet and insular – a loner who needed the warmth of a passionate woman, to provide the spark to help him live life with more fire than he probably felt comfortable allowing himself to.
When he dropped his guard, the only time I remember him doing so, he provided one of the sweetest moments in my memory bank. Likewise, his behaviour caused me to question how I would have the patience to care for him, in his later years. 

And yet, it was his name that I wanted to honour, at the earliest possible opportunity.
As I started to unravel the tangled web surrounding him, I was halted by the flat black lines, on the red outlined paper, within the cells titled ‘Name, Surname and Occupation of father’. The discovery made me feel like an intruder and disrespectful of his need for secrecy.
It caused me to question:
How different would his persona have been today, as the shame of illegitimacy has been discarded and accepted?
How different, his tendency to wrap a tight fist around currency and possessions, had he not been born in the shadow and fear of the workhouse?
How different his ability to laugh freely, every day, if he had known that his hard work and determination had ensured his descendants would never have to go to the coal face at Foxfield Colliery.

thanks to for the perficpic

Alas, it wasn’t to be, I never had the opportunity of any old age care, six weeks to the day after the photograph at the top of the page was taken, he passed away.
Three decades later, he has missed so much of what he helped to create, but his legacy continues, as his history is being unravelled and as his descendants form a future that he helped to create.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of the 301 workers who perished in the Soma mine - and their family and community, who will never recover from the loss.

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