Monthly Archives: December 2014

Broken Silence

They say silence is golden.  It seems to me that applies best to colicky babies and mothers in law.  But certainly there are other times when silence indicates that something good is happening.  For instance, my recent silence with blog posting.

It’s been a while since I posted to my blog.  I’m not sure how long exactly.  I could figure it out but that’s not really important.  What is important is why I’ve been silent.  And that is because I’ve been busy writing another book!

It’s finally finished, and published.  Ready to be read by millions.  Even turned into a movie!  Well, we’ll see about that.  But it is finished.

My specialty is, as you might have guessed from the name Personal History Writer, biography.  So no, I don’t expect this newest creation to be a million seller.  But it is an interesting story of a real life.  A life lived in conditions mostly unknown.  It’s called Unspoken History: The Untold Story of the Jackson/Curling Family and Their Lives as Canadian Home Children.

None of that ringing a bell?  Because it’s a mostly untold story!  From the earliest colonial days of the Americas all the way through the 1970’s, the British government was involved in a process by which the excess population of children in England was controlled by exporting them to the British colonies of Australia, South Africa and Canada.  These were children who were the poorest of the poor, orphaned and sometimes homeless.  Many were street urchins, a la Charles Dickens, but many were just poor kids whose families couldn’t afford to feed and clothe them.  And so they were taken from whatever life they had, and shipped off to the colonies to be laborers.  Named Home Children.

The inhabitants of the colonies needed this cheap labor to build the empire.  And the children paid a tremendous price.  Boys were sent to work on farms as farmhands.  Girls went as domestics.  But once there, anything, and everything could and did happen.  Few found happy or lasting places to be and many stories were told of emotional and physical abuse.  Sometimes to the point of death, or suicide.  No one cared.  No one checked on what was going on and over time tens of thousands of these children were sent into the system, many just vanishing from the face of the earth.

Not surprisingly, when the survivors “graduated” and were released from their servitude, they spoke very little of their  experience, if at all.  My client had several older relatives who served as Home Children.  She didn’t know this until she herself was middle aged as none of the relatives spoke of it.  Once she found out, she wanted to know more and began the process of gathering records of her relatives’ journey.  I served as transcriber of original hand written documents, researcher, organizer, photo archivist, editor and publisher.  In the process I learned a great deal about this unknown chapter of world and human history.  Seen through the eyes of several very young children.

Project complete.  The book is on Amazon.  The silence of these children’s lives is broken.  And now, on to the next thing!

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?


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