The Content Gandalf

Jan 25, 2022

How reading family history last night recharged my battery and TOTALLY changed this essay

6PM last night, I should've been writing this.

Intended topic? Irrelevant now. Brain was having none of it. Tired and hungry.

Thoughts wandered to my grandfather.

I pulled out the family history my dad wrote 20 years ago, and started reading.

And rediscovered my GREAT-grandfather in a whole new way.

He’s just 2yrs old in 1880 when tuberculosis kills his father.

And mother is pregnant with #2.

ORPHANED. Working class. Victorian England.

Not good.

He's put in an orphanage

Visiting family members are horrified to see the rags he’s in, and cough up for better rags.

At 22, he marries a woman 11 years his senior

Yes, really.

In 1910, chafing under the rigid social hierarchy, he hears about cheap land in Canada if you emigrate.

Enough of this “Yes Sir Steven, no Sir Steven”. They jump, never to return.

Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Within 4 years ...

• 2 of his 3 children are dead. Oh man ...

• It’s so cold, he wakes up with his moustache frozen to the pillow

• Gets his land, builds a house, which the government promptly expropriates

• Buys more land, builds another house, the government expropriates that one too

Welcome to Canada, eh?

Would have been super easy to collapse into alcohol-fuelled depression.

Nope. Builds a 3rd, and finally the government leaves him alone.

Becomes a successful property owner and landlord. Buys into a failing real estate business and turns it around.

His reputation around town?



The Content Gandalf

Ex-engineer ⇒ Self-taught copy/ghostwriter. I Simplify the complex, Communicate your message, & Persuade prospects to buy! 🇨🇦Ottawa | 📚→