Fearless Females 17: Social Butterflies? More Martha than Mary

Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist blog presents Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month. #17 – Social Butterly? What social organisations or groups did your mother or grandmother belong to?

My first thought was “social butterly?” “My family?” Even Trove is unable to turn up stories of my mother’s or grandmothers’ involvement in such social events. One of my grandmothers died in her sixties, which of course I think is quite young as she was a similar age to me now. My other grandmother lived into her 80s but I have virtually no recollection of her even leaving the house. Surely she must have? I’m certain though that she was not involved in any social events or service organisations.

Perhaps not “social butterfly” in the generally accepted meaning of the phrase but nonetheless my mother has a history of service which evokes more Martha than Mary for those with a biblical background. The Catholic church has always been my mother’s linch-pin and she has been part of various committees within it as well as doing the church flowers and the like. She and Dad also did Meals on Wheels for some time too after his retirement. Throughout my school years she was also involved in supporting my schools in various practical ways.

Around the time I married and left home to live in Papua New Guinea my mother also took on a role as Commissioner with the local Girl Guides, of which I’d been a member for some years. She seemed to enjoy this activity but because I wasn’t around I didn’t really learn too much about what she did with them.  Before her own marriage she’d been part of the Women’s Air Training Corps learning aircraft identification etc during World War II and assisting with the library.

It’s interesting to see that this service heritage has passed down to me and my children as well, with engagement in various school or church activities over the years. Interesting, too, to know that this kind of parochial service stretches back to the 18th century in my mother’s family lines.