I am certain many others periodically feel rushed by life. It can sometimes be difficult to find a few quiet moments to shut out the outside clamor and organize your thoughts. Wasn't technology supposed to make life easier? Anyway, I've set aside a few moments to post a few remarks.
In 2011, I spent nearly nine weeks in western Europe and England aboard my trusty motorcycle. My grandfather, Sidney Turner, left behind few records of his life and I was determined to find out more about him. Army service records from 1917 indicated his birth place was the hamlet of Aston Rowant in England. Checking at the local records office (the village pub), it was recommended trying my luck in the larger town of Chinnor, several miles up the road. I knew from census records my great grandfather had been a butcher and after speaking with several long time residents, I was directed to the local butchers shop.
The shop was one of several attached businesses that once served the town and local trading area. At the shop, I was told that many decades earlier, a family had indeed owned this shop and they were certain it had been the Turners. Above the shops were flats the families lived in; alas, I had finally found our family roots in England. At the town office, I was informed that there was still at least one family member living in town. So I met retiree Janet Green, who had been a Turner before marrying. Janet had no idea anyone had immigrated to Canada and each of us was thrilled to learn family history. Her observations filled in some of the blanks in my knowledge about my grandfather.
Virtually every village in the British Isles has a memorial honoring locals who gave their lives in World War 1, and Chinnor is no exception. I stood in deep thought at the cenotaph, realizing that some of the Turner names there inscribed, were people to whom I was related. As a long time student of that war, seeing those names tied me even closer to that period of history.
History beckons me, I have this inner compulsion to learn the background behind a statue in a public park or why a road is named memorial parkway. I have never understood why some people are bored with history but, then again, I sometimes find others interests of little concern. So I suppose, everything equals out eventually.
- G. Turner