Ada Personal Narrative

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At the time of writing, Ada was a young married woman and pregnant with her second child. Although it is a brief note, Ada appears at ease and satisfied with her life signalled by her talk of the good weather, her fruitful garden and good health at that time. This letter gave no hint of the events that would soon occur in a few short weeks that radically changed Ada’s life and that of her children’s lives for many years to come. This personal narrative begins by recalling Ada’s frequent absences, occasional visits and family outings when I was growing up with my family in suburban Melbourne in the 1960s and 1970s. Memory work is a strange thing, especially when recollections do not always fit neatly in chronological order or with accepted family stories and timelines (Ref Ritchie?). In my case, my memories of Ada are mingled with the stories my father told about her.…show more content…
It is a narrative that is made more complex because around the time of my birth in the early 1960s, my father rediscovered Ada and was forging a tentative and new relationship with a stranger he had never known as his mother.…show more content…
This work investigates long-held family secrets and examines the ways lies, once intended to protect the family from the truth of Ada’s mental illness, had serious repercussions. My family history and, in particular, Ada’s long absences sit within the wider historical context of histories of the family, family secrets, the stigma of maternal mental breakdown and institutionalised people in Australia in the twentieth

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