Sunday, May 22, 2016

Get back, back to where you once belonged (Paul McCartney)

Get Back (Chapter 1, part 2)

Four generations of similar hands: William (WNP), Graham, Christina, Wozza,
Harry (Deedoo), Dulcie, Dusty. Socks and sandals were cool in the 60's! 

1956 was a stellar year for Elvis Presley, John Lennon, and Dulcie and Graham Purdy.

For Elvis and John, it was the year of Heartbreak Hotel.  

Thousands of light years away in Auckland New Zealand lived my parents - blissfully unaware of that white heat moment of popular culture. They were swing fans, more interested in Sinatra Brubeck, Ellington and Count Basie.

At the same time that the 16 year old Lennon was being introduced to George Harrison in 1956 by Paul McCartney, Dulcie and Graham began thinking about starting a family, or more exactly Graham Nugent Purdy's pestering wore down Dulcie's resistance.

Graham was the only son of Harry Purdy and Christina Amelia Curson (in bizarre colour above). Harry was a master plasterer, having followed in the family tradition. He'd come to NZ as a young boy from Rochdale in Lancashire with his brother Edward (we called him Uncle Eddie) and his father - William Nugent Purdy - himself a skilled plasterer painter and paperhanger as his own father, James Purdy, had been.

The Purdy three settled in Auckland and eventually began setting up their Purdy and Sons plastering business. Testaments to their skill can be seen all over Auckland, or, at least, they used to be - sadly, many iconic Auckland buildings have been replaced by steel and glass. 

Harry, an insulin dependent diabetic was nonetheless a robust chunky man. His passions were manly man ones - hunting, deep sea fishing, boxing. He was like I imagine my other forbears were back in Rochdale.

Every one of Harry's uncles were working class - plasterers and labourers - and they all shared the distinct features of his great great grandfather, Joseph and his father, Jacob, who had moved down from Scotland to settle in Rochdale.

Me and Deedoo, Grandma with newbie, Ross. Sailor suits were cool in the late 1950's!
The Purdys have spockily consistent facial features; just look again at me and Deedoo.

Jacob Purdy was born in 1804. He supported his wife, Mary, and their nine children by doing gardening and labouring jobs around Rochdale. His second son, Joseph, born 1825, became a plasterer by trade and so set the trend for all male Purdys down through the 1800's and half of the 1900's. Graham Purdy broke the mould (ha).

William Nugent Purdy
Joseph and his wife, Ann Turner, also had a large family - ten children evenly split between girls and boys. Not to be outdone by all this procreation, one of his sons, James, born in 1855, had eleven children by his (poor) wife, Mary Ellen Hayes. 

One of the eleven was my great grandfather - William Nugent Purdy (1855-1962). He's a big deal because by coming to New Zealand he became the reason my parents could meet and make me. 

I exist and am a Kiwi because of him, so, bless you William.

Love and peace - WNP (same initials you'll notice) 

No comments: