grandpas bands in Chicago . He is the band leader and my mother is the little girl on the right
When the great war ended my grandparents moved briefly to Canada where my mother was born. Grandpa was Canadian . He had trained as a pianist but he was gassed during the war and was left with partial paralysis in his hands. This of course affected his musical abilities . The family moved to Chicago and had four other children. It was a bohemian background , completely different from the safe English country background of my grandmother . He formed several bands and played in nightclubs , music halls but never really made the big time. It was rumoured that he knew Al Capone. It certainly was true that he witnessed many a gang fight and was haled off to jail once for witnessing a fight. It was of course the prohibition period ..hard times for musicians. Money was not consistent and this played on my grandmother's health, bringing up five children was no easy job especially with an extravagant husband who thought nothing of spending his last dime on his musical passion. In 1933 my grandmother was struck by lightening , thrown across the room whilst opening a window .She survived but was permanently traumatised by thunder storms for the rest of her life . This precipitated a nervous breakdown and eventually they returned to England on the Majestic in 1933 almost penniless, a wild bohemian family and settled in the village of Winterbourne Whitechurch at the top of the valley surrounded by woods and wild meadows ...Paradise and guess what my grandfather purchased an ebony grand piano before anything else . I can hear my children say "PLUS CA CHANGE "