Olive Barnes nee Baxter 14.10.1901 -14.4.1999
My grandma did not get to see the new millennium but she was a wonderful example of the twentieth century. I don’t have photos of her as a baby. Her mother had 5 children in quick succession followed by another 5 and Olive or ‘Ob’ was the oldest. She always said she had enough of babies before she had one of her own.
My mum wrote quite a lot about her in her little autobiography but omitted the two miracles which Grandma always related to me.
The first miracle was the conversion of grandma’s father. It would have been about 1910 when she was one of 5 children and things were tough in the Baxter home. Mum was tired trying to manage the children and dad was prone to disappear for a ‘jar’ to avoid troubles. One night they reached breaking point and her mum said if Joe went off to drink he was not to bother to return. Joe went off but as he passed the little Wesleyan Chapel he heard singing and slipped into the back row instead of going to the pub. He came out a changed man and returned home rejoicing and grandma said that from that day on the home was happy. She would always end this story by relating how on a Sunday night her mum and dad would sing hymns and the children already in bed would join in from upstairs…wow would love to have seen that.
The second miracle was on one teatime. It was a Friday and before Joe came home with his wages. All the children were round the table and grandma’s mum spread the cloth on the table saying ‘Here is our emptiness God where is Your fullness’ at that moment there was a tap on the door and the baker’s boy came saying that the baker had told him to bring these buns round to the Baxter’s as the children will eat them up. To grandma that was a sign of God’s providence.
Olive Barnes had to leave school early because her mum needed her and when her mum was not ‘confined’ Olive was loaned to neighbours to help out. Olive resented this but it led to her finding her first husband who’s wife was dying of tuberculosis and Olive was needed to look after their 3 year old son. Olive became Olive Turvey in 1921 and gave birth to her one and only child a daughter in 1922.
She had never had proper employment she always said her smart navy suit got her and her 14 year old daughter work at J Lyons