Saturday, 4 June 2016

On This Day - Grandma's 100th Birthday

100 years ago today, my grandmother Sadie Harbertson was born in the house of her paternal grandmother at 23 Long Row, New Hartley, Northumberland.

She was the sixth child of James Harbertson and Sarah Jane Taylor, who had married twelve years previously in 1902. 

Even as a child, Sadie insisted that everything be perfectly clean. She would walk through the door from school, already with her dress off, ready to wash and scrub through ready for the next day.


A photograph of a young Sadie.
A few years after her birth, the family moved to Orange Street, Annitsford where Sadie lived up until she met and married Joe Quinnin. The story goes that he used to pass her door every day as she sat on her doorstep, when one day he offered her a biscuit from his pocket. They married on Boxing Day in 1936, and went on to have twelve children. 

Like her mother, Sadie was a hard-working woman. The washing in the Quinnin household, as can be imagined, was never-ending. The lad's shirts had to be pristine white, anything less than that was "poisoned", and needed a good boil! 

Sadie loved her mother Sarah Jane dearly. Sadie's heart broke for the first time in May 1951 when Sarah Jane died. Although she was gone, her mother was a constant presence and Sadie often spoke of her, remembering her overall character, mannerisms and little things she would say or do. 


Sadie and Joe.
Years later, Joe became seriously ill and had to go into a hospital in Wylam, and later Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary. Joe, whose name was really Albert Victor, would write to Sadie sat in an armchair in the hospital ward with his smoking jacket on, asking after her, his children and neighbours. The nurses on the hospital ward said he looked like a Lord in his armchair and jacket, and so nicknamed him Sir Albert Victor. Eventually he was allowed to come home, but sadly Sadie's heart broke for a second time when her beloved Joe died in September 1972. 

In her life, Sadie was a very maternal figure and had a great instinct in that role. When visitors arrived, family or friends, they would instantly hand their bairns over to Sadie for her to cradle, knowing they'd be cherished in her arms. 

In her later years, Sadie was plagued by ill health, mainly having problems with her heart and diabetes, which is a family illness. Sadly she died on 24 August 1984, and was once again reunited with her beloved Joe

At the time of writing and publication, Sadie and Joe have no less than 96 blood descendants, although some have since passed on.