|Harry (Deedoo), William, Edward (Uncle Eddie), Emma Purdy|
I am still largely in the dark about his motives. Life in Rochdale was grim and cousin Christine's mum, Irene Purdy, has told me how the family were suffering. Vague stories of Emma's behaviour, the death of their third child and lack of work seems to have contributed to his decision. But New Zealand? With two very young sons?
And then there's the enigma called Emma. Mystery still surrounds her and the relationship with William.
Presumably, the family left England together but something happened along the sea voyage to cause Emma to stay in Australia while William and her two young sons (Harry was 8 years old) continued on to Auckland, New Zealand.
Strangely, Harry's younger brother, Eddie, did not even know of Emma's existence until he was forty years old!!
It's clear that Emma still had affection for her sons - while in Australia, she sent Harry an exorbitant sum of money to buy a top of the line radio. My parents even visited her in Sydney when they were newly married and on their honeymoon (Auckland to Sydney to Norfolk Island). I'd hear stories of how miserly she was living as I grew up but I never met her. When she died her property was left to her sons.
Apart from that, little is known about her and nothing survives about her strained relationship with William.
|Emma and my grandfather, Harry Purdy|
What I am left with is a load of questions that even my dad couldn't answer when I asked him in the 1990's: Why New Zealand? Why was she left in Sydney? What happened to James? Did she shame the family in some way (was she a thief?)? Why didn't Eddie know about her? And on it goes.
I guess this is the same for most families and why the BBC does those programmes exploring the roots of UK celebrities.
Secrets. They are extremely frustrating and leave me with an empty pit of the stomach feeling.
If little is known of Emma, the same is true of Florence. I have discovered a few photos that show that she and William looked happy enough but I can only imagine what the young Purdy's home life was like.
Eventually they grew up and were trained in the family art of plastering and joined William in the business.
|Deedoo and Graham - my dad|
Anyway - a son was born, my father, the jazz fan, on 26th of July 1928. Harry was 25, Grandma was 28 years old.
Love and peace - WNP