Home and Family
Ultimately we would not have these memoirs to read if it was not for Leonard Ellisdon’s family, friends and doctor. His family, especially his wife persuaded and encouraged Ellisdon to keep writing his short humorous stories which we can enjoy today. Ellisdon’s home and family was a strong base and support system after his stroke happened, which would be essential for anyone that had gone through.
Ellisdon was happily married with four children, by the age of 30. Unfortunately Ellisdons wife Lizzie Mabel who he married in 1906 at the age of 21 had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and passed away February 22nd 1953. During Lizzie’s illness their son and wife moved in to help look after her until they no longer could. This they did until Ellisdon had to engage a nurse as she became to weak and fragile.
Shortly after 1953 Ellisdon remarried a young girl 20 years his junior. Ellisdon never forgot his first wife and spoke openly to his new one who he had a very successful marriage with. Everything went smoothly in his second marriage until Ellisdon’s stoke in 1957. This happened Novemember 23rd on a saturday evening totally unexpected.
Ellisdon recalls every detail about the event of his stroke, and did not loose consciousness at any point. Ellisdon was informed he would be up and about in the course of a month, which he describes as ‘moonshine'(pg.116) He subsequently could not carry on with his job and was forced to retire. Ellisdon could no longer carry on with piano as the damages he received from his stroke were to severe and could only walk with a limp with assistance.
Ellisdon does not go into great detail about his family or home life, there are just a few snippets of how they treated one another in certain situations. Overall the Ellisdons seem like a close caring family, who all suported each other if needed. One story Leonard tells us is when the scare of Jack the Ripper was ripe and his father told Ellisdon’s mum “not to attempt to serve anybody who was came into the shop until she was reasonably satisfied that he or she was not the Ripper”. One man entered the shop and Ellisdon shouted and accused him of being Jack the Ripper. He was only four and soon found out his father and this worthy man were acquaintances. Class identity is not raised as issue in the memoirs, as family member’s converse and would even go so far to say they were acquainted with worthy gentlemen.
Leonard Ellisdon had eight brothers and a sisters all which were younger than him. At the age of four Ellisdon remembers that his grandma took a dislike to small boys, in particular him. She relayed again and again that he “had gallows written all over my face and prophesied my ending my career at the end of a rope, the end with a noose, in childish indignation. The fiery character Leonard was he retaliated with great whit that “so long as she was my victim, I would gladly hang”. Another discouraging Grandma moment was when Ellisdon had been suspended form choir practice for three months.
Work never clashed with homework or school activities, as Ellisdon did not require a job until the age of 14. The family give off the impression that they weren’t a struggling one, as they did not pull Leonard out of school before he should have stopped, and there was no pressure of such put upon him by his mother or father to get a job straight after school. Each parent had a job bringing in a wage, his father a compositor and his mother ran a tobacconist’s shop. Ellisdon’s parents seemed loving and caring, who helped consolidate Leonard when he needed it, showing him support through school times and loss of jobs. This however does not mean they were push overs, Ellisdons mum believed in discipline leading her to send him to private school after private school to gain the correct control and obedience.