Violet Cheeseman Unwin was born in February 1922 and passed away in August 2003.
Violet was my grandmother. To me, she was simply Granny. She is one of the most influential persons from my childhood. My brothers and I didn’t share her with any cousins, and as such I spent many, many hours with her as a child. I remember lots of excerpts from her stories…
- Her father dying when she was 14 years old and her subsequent move from the country to a suburb of London
- Experiences being a telephone operator during World War II
- Showing up at work one day, but a co-worker not being there, obviously a victim of the previous night’s bombing
- Her ration book
- A bomb raid sounding on her wedding day
- Laughing hysterically with her bridesmaids during her wedding ceremony upon hearing her husband’s middle name for the first time
- Returning home from shopping as a new mother and realizing she left her baby at the shops
There is a lot I know about Violet. She was a faithful diary writer in her later years. She loved and was good at sports as a child; she had a love and talent for knitting; she spent hours serving her community; she snored loudly; she enjoyed crossword puzzles and Scrabble games; and one of her favorite snacks was cheese and apples.
But there’s too much I don’t know.
There are too many stories that she never told.
Too many questions no one ever asked.
Is there a reason Violet only had one child? How did it feel hearing bomb raids during WWII? What were her tender feelings when life as she knew it changed when she was 14 years old and her father died? What compelled her to spend so much of her time serving her community? How did it feel to be a widow for 21 years? What were her feelings when she stood on her front porch and waved goodbye to her only child, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren as they drove away to emigrate to America?
Violet’s story may never be told, but Rising Violet’s purpose is to see that other women’s stories are.