I knew no grandfathers and learnt nothing of them or from them. They died when my parents were children. My father didn’t bother with the girls. After brunch on Sunday, he would take off with the boys and leave my mum with the babies and the girls. Sometimes my mother took us to visit her rich uncle who had a mansion near the botanic gardens. I think one of her cousins took this photo. I am first on left, the second eldest daughter.
Some time after my sister married, Dad offered me an inheritance in exchange for spinsterhood. That is, stay home to look after the elders and I would be left enough to live on. My brothers’ wives had proved unequal to the task. I declined and was left out of his will like the other female members of our family – his mother, his wife and daughters.
I was 24 and engaged to be married when Dad died. Grandma survived him by fifteen years. My mother lived another quarter of a century. Four of his six sons lived less long than he; none had seen old age.
The cancer in my lungs is incurable but I need to live longer than Dad. To prove that men and women are unequal in our family. The women endure.