Research On The Web

Sometimes I bemoan how much time the Web and the Internet seem to steal from my real work which is putting one sentence down after another.  Other times, I’m grateful. Today I’m grateful.

I knew that even though my mother had qualified to take the exams for Oxford University in 1942, because it was wartime in England, she was sent instead to a secretarial school in Gloucestershire named Carr Saunders so that she could be “useful in the war effort.”  And even though her memory at 84 years is not as good as it used to be, she can still come up with remarkable details about her past.  “Because the Carr Saunders sisters were bombed out in London, they moved down to Stanway House,” she tells me on the phone.  “It was a house in the Charteris family.  He was the Earl of Weemys and March.”

The Earl sounds to me like something out of Alice in Wonderland, but I go trolling around the web and find lots to help me imagine my mother’s nine months learning how to type and take shorthand.

I find pictures of Stanway House.

Home of the Carr Saunders Secretarial School during WW II

I find a biography ofFrancis Charteristhe man who lent the two sisters Stanway House so they could continue to run their secretarial school. I learn the proper way to spell Wemyss!

But best of all, I find a book called OLD STONES, The Biography of A Family. In a snippet about Stanway House, I learn that her mother went to the secretarial school two years before my mother, that she remembers it was so cold that the water in the glass by her bed froze at night. The author, A.S. Penne, has a website so  now she and I are in touch and may meet on one coast or another.

Today I am grateful for the web!