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Traveller's Tales: My Mother's Cousin and the Cobra

Discussion in 'Travel' started by tashidelek2002, May 2, 2010.

  1. tashidelek2002

    tashidelek2002 IL Hall of Fame

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    Note to the reader: This is a family story from my mom who was notorious for her inaccuracies and poor memory so let's treat this as mythology as it's an interesting story. Most of it is true but the retellings and embellishments have unknown veracity. Ok, here we go.

    My mother's great grandfather came over from Scotland in the 1800's bringing his wife and young children. Like most immigrants to America, he was in search of bettering their condition. He was an engineer and found work as an engineer working for the railroad companies as they laid the first tracks across USA to the midwest and west. The work gangs hired for this construction were a mixed lot of rough men and there was a lot of violence, etc in this environment. My greatgrandfather decided this was not the life for him and quit somewhere in the midwest. He heard of the opportunity in Canada for free land in the homestead act and so he was given his allotment of free land on Manatoulin Island in Lake Huron. At that time, it was only habitated by Native tribes with no amenities, roads, anything. This area has very very harsh winters and the farming was difficult. Even in my mother's childhood they didn't have electricity.

    Now when the family was living on Manatoulin Island, there was a neighbor family who died and left a little girl orphaned. They adopted her into the family as their own daughter. She was quite an intrepid little character and through her tough spirit was honored by being also adopted into the local Native tribe. Women raised in this environment had to be tough. (A story of my own greatgrandmother her adopted sister was this: one Sunday she got dressed up to go with the family for the weekly church service and after she was all dressed, her father asked her to go get the horse for the wagon to go to church. She went out to the fields (she was elementary school age) and got the horse but she didn't want to walk back and she didn't want to get dirty by riding the horse. Her solution was this: she got on the horse without even a bridle and stood on the back of the horse and got it running back to the house. Unfortunately for her, the horse ran under a low hanging tree branch, knocking her off and breaking her arm in the fall to earth. She rued this experience to old age as they had to cut off her only good dress to treat her injury.)

    Now the adopted daughter finished her schooling and left for Toronto to take a job as a reporter. She was posted to Kanpur, India to cover the international news from there. This would have been under the Raj period (I am not sure of the exact time period but I think it was the 1930's).

    My mother had a couple stories from this period and the first was this. The cousin was renting a house in Kanpur and had a cook and probably other servants. Each morning her toast would be brought to her in a toast rack. One morning something happened and she had to go to the kitchen before the breakfast time and found the servant toasting her bread over an open fire and stacking the toast on the kitchen floor (hardpacked earth) before putting it in the toast rack. She chastised the cook for putting her food on the floor and a few days later did a spot check. The new routine was to hold the toasted bread between his toes before putting them into the toast rack.

    The next story had to do with that cobra. The cousin was outside one day and was bitten on the leg by a cobra. Her servant came running and cut a hunk out of her leg and tied it. The only means of transport for them was bicycle so he put her on the handlebars and road seven miles to the nearest hospital to try and save her life. On duty at the hospital was a missionary Brit doctor who treated her and she recovered. (My God this woman was tough.) Now here is the interesting twist...she and the doctor fell in love and married. (Love via cobra.....) She never had any children and the family story was that the cobra venom had killed all her eggs but when I used to work for ob/gyns one told me that was bunk. Well, who knows why they didn't have kids.

    Now the two of them went as missionaries on to China and during WWII were captured by the Japanese and put in a prison camp. She was there for four years. After their release she/they? went back to Canada where she is listed as one of the woman heroes of Canada. I remember as a child reading an article she had written in a religious magazine...she continued to write until she was a very old lady.

    Those wishing to read more about her in her own words can follow this link:

    http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~onmanito/militarywomen2.html
     
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  2. gjaya

    gjaya Silver IL'ite

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    Hey Tina,

    Just got to read your post...wow...1800s. I loved reading the supposed "tales" of your mom. Tales or not it sure was interesting to read about your great great grandfather and their daughters.

    And the new routine...oh my god..hold the toast between your toes...:spin .....really!!!

    And the cousin story was :crazy i mean seriously this stuff happened?? But I have to say it was very interesting.


    Good one from you Tina.:thumbsup
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2010
  3. tashidelek2002

    tashidelek2002 IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi Jaya
    Thanks for reading my thread and glad you enjoyed. Its pretty much true but small details may have been messed up by my mom... or not. I have no way of knowing. My mom was adamant that it was Kanpur and I don't think she would know that name otherwise. In her telling about the bicycle, they road through the jungle. A few days ago I asked a friend of mine in Patna if there were ever jungles in Kanpur as I had not seen any hint of them in UP when I was there. He said that in that time period they were more forested and so it was possible. Anyway, it seemed pretty cool as a kid to have a relative who was bitten by a cobra.
     
  4. butterbaby

    butterbaby Senior IL'ite

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    Hi Tina.

    Awesome :thumbsupHave to admit but my eyes were kinda glued to the screen reading the whole stuff..It was so interesting.
    It took me a few seconds to visually comprehend the "TOE" situation.
    & the "Love thru Cobra" was just so good!!!!!!

    I guess henceforth we all need to attract more cobras to fall in love, buddy!! (on a lighter note:biglaugh)

    Take care
    Miss BB
     
  5. geetabhaskar

    geetabhaskar Senior IL'ite

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    very interesting article
     
  6. asuitablegirl

    asuitablegirl Gold IL'ite

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    wow, very interesting story. thanks for sharing!
     
  7. Gayathri47

    Gayathri47 Silver IL'ite

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    Love through cobra, together as missioneriers, WWII prisoneres, national heroes !! Wow! Now isn't that something!!

    Thanks for sharing the story with us!
     
  8. tashidelek2002

    tashidelek2002 IL Hall of Fame

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    Butterbaby:
    Yes this story gives a new meaning to a "love bite." LOL

    I am glad you enjoyed my writeup.
     
  9. tashidelek2002

    tashidelek2002 IL Hall of Fame

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    Geeta and ASG:
    Thanks for stopping by my thread and so happy you enjoyed.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2010
  10. tashidelek2002

    tashidelek2002 IL Hall of Fame

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    Gayathri:
    Yes it is an interesting story. Some of the old American stories are quite amazing...I will post more as I think of them. Thank you for stopping by my thread.
     

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