The story of Reg and Ganima (my great-grandparents) as told by Granty (my grandmother) and written down by me from memory on 08/02/1993

Reg and Ganima were engaged for three years before they married. They married on April 26th 1913, five days after Ganima was 21, as her father wouldn’t let her marry before that. Granty was conceived on their honeymoon and at that time it was believed that pregnant women shouldn’t have sex so Reg later said that he’d waited three years and then had her for a brief time then had to sleep next to her and wasn’t allowed to touch her. Granty was born on February 20th 1914 and war broke out in November. Reg was among the first soldiers to go to France and Ganima moved back to her parents house at Thorpe in Norfolk and ran the canteen for the wounded soldiers in the hospital where her father was the medical superintendent. Reg was 24 when they married and he was a Gemini. When he came home on leave he had to go to his in-laws house. After the war he was badly shell-shocked and Ganima nursed him. Elizabeth, Granty’s sister, was born around 1920 and died when she was about nine months old. Peter was born in 1922 in August and died around November of what would now be seen as a cot death. Ganima’s father died in early January of 1923. Ganima’s doctor told her that Peter had died because Reg’s sperm was weakened by his wartime experiences and subsequent mental problems so he couldn’t father healthy babies. Reg ran off with a local married woman – Mieka – but after a week they went back to their respective spouses. Mieka was pregnant but her husband forgave her and agreed to bring up Reg’s son as his own provided that she never saw Reg again. Neither the son or Ganima ever knew that he was Reg’s child. He was Mieka’s favourite child and called David. Reg never saw him. When Peter died Granty’s nanny told her to go and see her parents and they told her and , both crying, enfolded her in their arms and said, “You are all we have now,” and Granty, who was eight, can remember the feeling of that weight of responsibility. When World War II began Reg was called up and Ganima wrote to him saying that she’d given up the London flat as “her place was with her daughter.” That was the end of their marriage although it was never said directly. Reg had been having an affair with Enid before this and he got a flat with her. He’d wanted to be a singer and Enid had been his accompanist. She deed-polled her name to Mrs. Winder, then later, after Ganima had given Reg a divorce, they were married. They were very poor but very happy. Enid got a job as the curator of a National Trust property in Hampstead – a Queen Anne house with a walled garden and a collection of harpsichords that she used to give demonstrations on. Ganima was devastated by the divorce and always felt like she’d been done wrong to. Granty got on really well with her father though it was hard for her to see him as Ganima became so jealous. When Grandpa (her husband, my grandfather) died she went to stay for the weekend with Reg and Enid but told Ganima that she was going to Celia’s (her daughter, my aunt). After Ganima died she saw more of him and he also went to see Celia and John (my uncle). Enid died of cancer of the bronchia. She was a very heavy smoker and Reg had given up years before and always told her she should give up too. After Enid died, Meika saw the death notice in the paper and contacted Reg and they took up again with each other. Reg was cremated on his 93rd birthday. Ganima adored her father.