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Manny’s birthday book – August 1

August 1, 2011

Kate Greenaway's Birthday Book for ChildrenMy grandmother, who I called Manny, had a birthday book.  I’m posting the entries throughout the year, as they appear.

From Manny’s Birthday Book:  August 1 – Betty McLeod

Here’s a girl, she has a basket,

What is in it – do you ask it?

I heard a Miow! Is it a cat?

Now, children, what do you think of that?

Betty McLeod is Manny. Today is Manny’s birthday.  She would have been 99 years old.  She has written her own birthday into her book, as a chid, and then, as an adult has noted her year of birth.  In my grandfather’s unmistakable handwriting, he has written “Mrs F G Kirwan”, just so there’s no case of mistaken identity.

Manny was Alice Elizabeth McLeod, but she was always known as Betty.  She was born on 1 August 1912, the eldest  daughter of Angus McLeod and Alice Jones.

Alice Elizabeth McLeod married Frank Greer Kirwan on 17 October 1936 in Kalgoorlie.

Alice Elizabeth McLeod and Frank Greer Kirwan had eight children.  My father was the eldest.  The sixth child, Susan Beverley Kirwan, was stillborn in December 1950.

Manny told me that she almost died when Susan Beverley was born, but she remembered thinking that she had five children at home and it was almost Christmas.  She had two more children in the years that followed, the youngest born 20 years after the first.

Manny was a year younger than I am now, when she had her last child.

Seven years later, her first grandchild (me) was born.

Manny died on 2 April 1989.  The last photo is my favourite photo of Manny, with her best friend, Mrs Dillon.  The photo on the left was taken a few months before she died, as she was leaving the second birthday party of her first great-grandchild, my daughter.

There is not a day goes by that I don’t miss her.


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