In memory of Alice Emma Brooks (a little bit of history)
Alice Emma Wilson was born in 1873 within the sound of bow bells London growing up around the Hoxton and shore ditch areas. she began work aged just eleven as a house maid, she married Thomas Brooks and bore him 13 children. Thomas was left traumatised by the first world war after serving in the trenches and never recovered leaving Alice a poor widow relying on the nearby salvation army soup kitchen for their survival, she once nearly poisoned the whole family by feeding them on rhubarb leaves which are highly toxic rendering them all severely ill. Only eleven of her children survived infancy. Leslie Earnest, my father, was her youngest child born in 1921, he left school at fourteen putting himself through night school where he met and later married Alice Rebecca Brandon as world war two raged in September 1944. Initially bombed out of their own flat in Hornsey they moved in to Alice Emma’s house in Wood Green near the foot of the Alley Pally. (Alexandra Palace), where they lived until Leslie’s sudden death in 1969. Alice Emma passing away just two years later aged ninety six. Leslie served in the R.A.F. as a navigator, training in Quebec Canada for a time. Alice also left school at fourteen and went to work in a bank, also putting herself through night school. Alice was one of four children, of which only three grew up, a younger brother Harry died just four years old, dying laying alongside Alice as they fought diphtheria under a make shift steam tent, no pennies to call for doctor. When war broke out Alice found herself working in communications at the Admiralty in the underground offices working just a couple of floors from Winston Churchill. After the war Leslie worked for the G.P.O. as a technical officer until a blood clot to the heart took him away leaving Alice grief stricken and with three children, Clifford, Martin and Deborah. Deborah, (that’s me) met Raymond Seary while they were both working at the co op store in Wood Green high street, London, they married in 1982 and went on to have five children. Jennifer, Richard, Julian, Andrew and Matthew. Julian James their third child was born in 1989, Julian is marrying Jazz Mayhew on 21 December 2015. I’d like to think on that day that Alice Emma her husband,Thomas, Alice Rebecca and Leslie will all be shuffling along on the pews to get a good view of Julian and Jazz exchanging their vows, sending them love and best wishes.