Irene Louise Hawke

Female 1911 - 2005  (93 years)

  • Name Irene Louise Hawke 
    Born 16 Jul 1911  Norbury, SRY Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Died 02 May 2005  Bosham, SSX at 3.30 a.m. Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I42  CATH UK
    Last Modified 21 Mar 2016 

    Father John Goodridge Hawke,   b. 10 Feb 1869, Montfleury, Grenoble, FRA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 Aug 1921, Thornton Heath, SRY Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 52 years) 
    Relationship Natural 
    Mother Jenny Louisa Girardot,   b. 15 Jun 1875, Montfleury, Grenoble, FRA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Feb 1952, Croydon, Surrey Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 76 years) 
    Relationship Natural 
    Married 20 Jul 1898  Meylan, Grenoble, FRA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • John and Jenny

      Jenny Girardot fell in love with John Hawke when she was twelve years old. And she pushed him into the piece d'eau.
      I'm not saying that love was born at the tinkle of that surprising splash - for him perhaps? But for her I believe it had already happened for she thought him so strong that it never occurred to the diabolical child that if she lurched against him as he stood poised at the rim of the pond - goldfish baiting? fountain admiring? just stirring after-lunch coffee? - caught off balance he would fall in. Such a pillar of strength, such a marvellous young man could not fall. Well, he did. No doubt she wanted to be noticed and no doubt she was. How they must have exclaimed and cried out! English though they mostly were, French mannerisms are contagious ... ah non alors! mais voyons! .... And how they must have laughed. He would have been immaculate, for he always was (military in bearing), and probably they had all been to church. I imagine it after Sunday lunch at the Goodridges' at Mont Fleuri where one sat to watch the sunset?
      When, half a century later I sat with Mother and her godfather to watch sunset on the Alps, did she say, that was the pond? She found everything so changed, naturally ... it was. But I caught the afterglow of what had been their paradise and knew that paradisal it had been.
      The Hawkes lived in another pleasing house a walking distance up the mountain in the then-village of Mont Fleuri. They had four children: John, Jim, Willie and Dot who was so tiny at birth she was never known by any other name though christened after her Mother, Jane, my grandma Hawke, who was born in 1839 Sarah Jane Norrish Goodridge. Her father, William, was a corn merchant in Devon. She was the daughter of his second marriage. William Snow Goodridge of the house in Mont Fleuri was her half brother and my grandpa Hawke's will names him as guardian for his children should they be orphaned. William Goodridge married a French woman, Elise Vallet. They had no children.
      The Hawkes were descended from millers in Cornwall, and then in the wool trade, and in one of England's flourishing periods were making their way up admirably, but how John Andrew was with Morley's, a well-known clothier, as their representative in Grenoble I don't know. Probably William Goodridge (doubtless in gloves) got his brother-in-law Hawke a position out there. Anyway it was all set to be a happy and prosperous life for all of them. And then, on a business trip back to England, John Andrew dropped dead on the station platform in Lyons. He was not forty. He left his adoring wife with four children under ten.
      Grandma Hawke was a terribly reserved person. She must have been absolutely shattered and even English Mary Girardot (a "woman to whom you felt you could tell anything" a cousin told me, years after) could not get near her. John Andrew Hawke was never spoken of by his widow and never known to his children. All we ever heard was that he enjoyed fishing which was an infliction for his eldest son, having to be quiet, sitting there drowning worms. Was that young John's only memory of the ten short years they knew each other? Jane Hawke did not go back to Devon where, presumably, her parents were still alive. It was many years before she moved from the French house John Andrew left her.
      The elder Hawke boys were sent to school in England, and John and Jim spent holidays with cousins on the farm - the Leighs at Kennerleigh Manor. There was their love for life, their enchanted memories, but cum manhood John was placed with Fothergill and Harvey, clothiers of Manchester. He became manager of the Bow Street office in London and took Jim in with him. John detested his office. He did not whine. He saw it as an opportunity to establish himself well and eventually for buying a farm in Devon. He understood business. He worked hard.
      Meantime in La Tronche Jenny waited.... Tante Elise (William Goodridge's French wife) predicted she would marry John because, after those Sunday lunches, it was always in his cup the child chose to dip her sugar for her coffee "canard". If anything else ever encouraged Jenny to cling to her belief in their united destiny she never mentioned it. He was seven years older, a popular young man living in England. Grandmère gave her a ring of turquoise and pearls. She made it her talisman for happiness, certain if she wore it, it would bring her her love. The dream grew as she grew. Languid in her teens she was taken to the doctor. English Mary was incensed by the question, "Is she perhaps in love?" These French and their ideas! Her daughter hardly more than a child....
      Jenny flirted with John's youngest brother Willy - the darling whom his mother could not bear to send away - it kept her secret safer, and she never flirted, so she insisted, other than in fun, never to be misunderstood, never to hurt. Girls can do such damage she told us over and over again. As children all the English colony went up to Mont Fleuri where Mrs Hawke gave them lessons with her own Willy and Dot. Willy was a nasty spoilt little bully, he swung on Flo Benson's fair plaits and made her cry, but never bullied Jenny, "I would not have cried." Teaching must have been thorough for when they went on to school, lessons were the last thing Jenny bothered with. Extremely entertaining, she clowned, good-hearted and popular. "I had no memory", so higher learning she dismissed as a waste of life, as for her it probably was, knowing so precisely what she wanted, touching her turquoise and pearls.
      At her eighteenth birthday her photo was taken. In it she wears a pin brooch in the shape of a dragonfly, tiny turquoise again. Dot gave it to her. And Dot had the photo on her dressing table. John stole it to take back to England. His incensed sister told Jenny sternly not to start trifling with that heart.
      Jenny was past master at saying nothing with daunting dignity. She never trifled with any heart. Gaston Cambefort loved her all his life, and so did Georges, the young officer. Another far more splendid officer had asked for her hand before she was eighteen. Nothing ever altered what she knew: that John Hawke was her destiny and she his.
      He proposed as they walked together from Les Ombrages up to the Hawke's house at Mont Fleuri. She was nineteen and her parents would not hear of their marrying before she was twenty-three. That was not a long engagement for those days (Dot was to be engaged twelve years), "and we were not together," said Mother, "engagements are all right if you are not on top of each other."
      Grandmère was not pleased that her Jenny was to marry an Englishman, and it occurs to me that in all the odd fragmented memories that is all we have of la fameuse Pauline not one suggests that she were ever stupid. What indeed was Jenny Girardot doing, French as she was and born in the Alpes, following a young Englishman whose heart was in the damp Devonshire she hated, who worked in fog-bound London and gave her a home in suburbia? How strange is love.
      They married on a broiling hot day in July 1898 and honeymooned at La Grande Chartreuse, in a hotel (not the monastery...) where Jenny objected to English John's cursory ordering of the waiters, "it is not how we speak in France". He changed his tone completely; s'il vous plait, and veiullez bien, and, surely merci beaucoup - for any bread roll or lump of sugar so that they were served before anyone else and bowed round like nobody else, perhaps because of his teasing her but where and when do the French not love young lovers?
      John chose a house in Thornton Heath where he had been living, chose it facing a green that had trees on it, not noticing the neighbourhood, only hoping the trees and the dusty green would give a country atmosphere. They did not replace the Alpes, nor had the people anything in common with the community at La Tronche. Jenny for all her liveliness was extremely shy and totally déplacé. Her loneliness was appalling until her child was born and they moved to Norbury where she flouted convention by proudly pushing her own pram.
      Eda was a most beautiful baby and a radiant little girl. She was clever, she was lively. Every photo shows a lovely child. The baby that came soon after her when Eda began to talk she called her little titta, from which, somehow, Helen Mary was renamed Cis for life. Eda talked all in a rush: "Titta has-ou cleaned ous goffsticks?" bouncing on the end of Auntie Sunny's bed, polishing the brass bed knobs with her nightie, and Cis, who drawled, "Noah, Edaaa."
      When Jack was born Jenny contracted puerperal fever, the children were taken to Les Ombrages, Tiwi came to Norbury, and when they gave up hope Nurse Coker arrived. Jenny recovered. They wheeled her in the bath chair to see the first non-horsedrawn trams go by on the London road. The children came home. "But," Mother would tell us when we were very little, "Dad had lost all his curly hair and I had only married him for that you know."
      John and Jenny's youth was over, but they were all together and well again - friends in and out, kindly 'aunts', boisterous 'uncles....
      A year later Eda caught a chill, was ailing. They took her to Hastings to benefit from change of air, to get well. And there Eda died (of meningitis?) in the December of her fifth year. The eyes do not cry but the heart cries all the time.
    Family ID F7  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Sidney Roy Cath,   b. 21 Jun 1909, West Norwood - Lambeth [PRO Q3 1d 439] Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 Nov 2002, Bosham, SSX Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 93 years) 
    Married 29 Feb 1936  Christ Church, Thornton Heath [PRO 2a 836 - Mar. Croydon] Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. Sidney JOHN Henry Cath,   b. 19 May 1937, Canterbury [PRO 2a 499 - June] Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Dec 1990, Maidenhead [PRO 1991 Chilt/s Bcks 19/1188 - Jan] Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 53 years)  [Natural]
     2. Living
     3. Living
    Last Modified 21 Mar 2016 
    Family ID F12  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart