I Was Here

page 48 of a pamphlet of downtown Los Angeles circa 1928

It was the year 1890, the month was March and the day was the 8th. In a small English town named, Sible Hedingham, a baby girl was born. I imagine the air still had its wintry grip, but easing as Spring whispers her warm promises of green. Wrapped snug in a small blanket and held close to her mothers chest, my great Aunt, Florence Daisy Chapman. She was probably raised like most children of that time, and when she was old enough, was sent off to boarding school. That is where I find her next, England census of 1901.

Most of her siblings had left England at the age of 19, and she seemed to want to follow in their footsteps. I find her in Canada, 1921. My great-grandfather (her brother) is living there as well, with his wife and my grandmother. She then travels to California, where she spends the rest of her life until her final days in 1986. In my research, I discovered she was an editor of a newspaper, she taught French in the schools, and she was a writer, a wife and a mother of one. I wish I had met her, my mother had when she was young, but I was not even aware of her existence until I started researching our family tree.

I felt a sudden kinship, a familiarity, the more I researched her. I started to wonder, is it possible that people can reach out after they die? Whispering in dreams “do not forget me” or perhaps they just want you to simply know them. In some way, for some reason. I know there are some that make money, telling you what your loved ones want to say to you from the great beyond. I am not writing to debate this, whether it is possible or not, there are things that cannot be explained in this world. I do know this much.

In my research I found one of her poems, in a book. A book her husband was putting together titled “The Romantic Southland of California” published in 1928. I cannot explain how I felt, after reading her words, it was as if I had unburied lost treasure. King tuts tomb was just a closet of dusty old relics in comparison! That, is an exaggeration….I admit. But, it thrilled me to no end. And tonight, I feel a mystical pull, a push. Perhaps it’s a whisper that is running through my DNA that connects me to her. An unexplained, something, that I cannot explain correctly. And so I wont.

I just want to pull it out from where it has been hiding for so long. Give it some life, it is her mark that says “I was here” . I see you great aunt, and it is a pleasure to “know” you.

Twilight in Los Angeles

The hills in Hollywood, turned purple-gray
against the gold sky of a waning day, seem like a wall’d fortress, to enclose the city of the Angels in repose.

Anon, the never-failing evening breeze is whispering softly to the pepper trees. Which, shivering with unrestrained delight, anticipate the near-approaching night.

The stately groves of eucalyptus show black, against the paling amber glow; While lawns, once parched, take on a greener hue of emeralds and diamonds, with the dew.

Afar across the city’s wide expanse, a thousand twinkling lights begin to dance; and then, a thousand more, while as you gaze, the whole horizon seems to be ablaze!

The eager, roaring traffic homeward pours, emptying its weary burden at the doors of hill-side home or Spanish bungalow, Italian villa, cottage, studio.

Too brief the magic hour of twilight, soon aloft the sky appears the yellow moon; Too soon the spell is gone, again the blare of traffic rends the stillness of the air.

-Daisy Breeden.


2 responses to “I Was Here”

  1. I’m glad you found her, on all levels. Can you imagine how brave she must have been, setting off for a new country in the 1920s? The ways we travel now are taken for granted. She had family waiting for her, which had to have helped lessen her nervousness, but still. Brave and independent woman. It’s good that she is still remembered.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I am glad I found her 🙂 I so wish I also had found a picture, but oh well. And yes, she was very brave indeed!


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