So, on this day in the past Oscar Wilde was born in 1854, Austen Chamberlain in 1863 and so was Eugene O’ Neil in 1888 and Michael Collins in 1890. It’s also the birthday of Edward Ardizzone, Enva Hodxha and Max Bygraves, Angela Lansbury and Günter Grass, and Peter Bowles the actor.

However, in our family we think of it as the birthday of my mother-in-law, my children’s grandma, Dorothy Alice Colgate in 1914.  She was born in Bletchingley in Surrey in a room above what became Lloyd’s bank. Her parents were Augusta, née Brown, and Ernest Colgate. Augusta Sarah, was the thirteenth child of John Brown and Emily Charlwood. Dorothy didn’t know her Grandfather Brown who died in 1915 at the age of sixty-six, and probably barely remembered her grandmother who died when she was only three years old, but she remembered her Colgate grandparents and often talked about them, John who died in 1926, and Sarah who died in 1943.

John and Sarah were born in 1855 and 1856, and it seems extraordinary to me that my children both knew and loved their grandmother who had memories of people born a hundred and sixty years ago…

Happy birthday, Dorothy…

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