Thursday, March 07, 2024

More on the maybe-aunt

Maybe I'm just slow, or naive, or dare I suggest too sweet at heart, but it has taken me a good number of days to realise I may have jumped to some premature assumptions on my grandfathers' front the other day.

When I was mulling over the mystery of the internet stranger who's in her 70s and apparently, according to DNA at least, a direct descendant of one of my grandparents and therefore a younger half sibling to either my mother or father, I naturally assumed one of my grandfathers must have been a naughty boy. That was quite a logical conclusion of course, because in my head the only other option was one of my grandmothers having an affair and giving birth a few years after my mum or dad, then giving the child up for adoption, all without anyone noticing their new addition... sounds fairly unlikely, no? Also given it was pre-DNA-test times, would they not just have kept the sibling and passed it off as a full sibling?

So, once again during my night time musings, it suddenly hit me that there's in fact a third option! What if one of my grandfathers actually wasn't my grandfather!? What if one of my grannies had an affair that resulted in my parent and simply pulled the wool over my grandfather's eyes? Then, none the wiser, the biological father could have gone on to have this maybe-aunt with a different partner; they'd still be a half aunt to me genetically. Bloody hell, my life is turning into an episode of Dallas!

This, of course, means I'm now sitting here with a magnifying glass and some very old and blurred black and white photos trying to ascertain whether my mum looks like gramps or my dad looks like granda. If that turns out to be the case, then my money would now definitely be less on mum's side of the family given rumour had it my maternal granny, how shall I put it, preferred a nice cup of tea to anything in the bedroom department, no comment there. And I could add that mum and gramps are very similar looking, the only dark-eyed, dark-haired members of what had been up to then a very blonde, blue-eyed family.

Sadly, my knowledge of Phyllis Buchanan Senior is quite limited. I was named after her as she died just six days before my birth. This untimely loss left my father orphaned at the tender age of 24, and as a result, discussions about Phyllis were infrequent and emotionally charged throughout dad's life. She, like many who depart prematurely, was revered in our family conversations, her memory enshrined as an almost celestial figure. Consequently, I am left with scant insight into her personal character or potential actions. Might she have been inclined towards indiscretions, could she have passed another man's child off as my granda's? I simply have no idea. I do know dad and granda had a wonderful and loving relationship and that granda was distraught when he lost Phyllis at the age of 50 but is this enough to rule it out? Dad had Phyllis's eye colour and his beard was red like her hair but I think he still looks like granda, a bit at least. 

And given neither of my parents had any siblings, I have no one to compare them to either physically or in personality. Arg! If mum was still about, at least I could have quizzed her about these options, and maybe asked her what her mother-in-law had been like. And I've still not tracked this woman down geographically which would help.

I think on balance last week's grandfather having an affair is still the more likely scenario, but in the meantime I'm not ruling today's option out fully.

I'll stick a pic or two on here to see if anyone else has any theories.

Mum's family: gran, mum, gramps

Dad's family: gran, granda, dad