Sydney Elizabeth Parkin
Born 8 August 1879
Died 5 November 1955
While watching the “pink” marches, my thoughts turned back to my grandmother. A real woman. Fiercely independent; well educated, who had the backbone and the guts to do the unthinkable. First she married my grandfather, but to get to him, traveled through Russia (trans-Siberian rail) on her own – something no “young lady” would do.
Sydney married Harold, whose work took him into many Asian countries where danger abounded. When they lived in India, a typhoid epidemic raged for seven years, and for the four years they lived there, Sydney nursed the sick locals, teaching them how to survive typhoid. Every country she lived in, she nursed the supposedly fatally-sick, and developed a reputation. No-one nursed by Sydney died. In their last year in India, Sydney got typhoid along with three children, and the locals abandoned her. She was too sick to nurse herself or her children properly. She survived, though her hair changed colour, and two of the three sick children died.
In July 1911, six months pregnant with my father, Sydney took a passenger ship from Amoy in China to Kobe in Japan, sailing ahead of her husband and children, to prepare their home-to-be. Near Kobe, the ship was over-run by pirates. The pirates killed the men, and launched all the small boats without oars into the water with two women in each. One woman was shot dead in each boat, then the boats cut adrift.
Sydney survived along with a few of the other women. When her husband arrived, the law enforcement in Japan rolled their eyes and said, “Nothing doing”. China just laughed. Sydney and Harold tracked down the pirates, they were brought back to Japan, tried, and executed. I suppose the snowflakes would consider these photos to be cruel….
The First World War intervened, and the ship taking them home was diverted to New Zealand,
so they made the best of it, and decided to travel up to Northland via the coast. In doing so, they got caught in a storm, were pretty much shipwrecked, and landed up on Kawau Island, where they licked their wounds, just as the Spanish Flu arrived in force.
Sydney turned Governor Grey’s house into a hospital with the men upstairs and the women downstairs.
For months, she and the kitchen maid nursed everyone on the island, and yet again, not one person died. Only two people on Kawau Island didn’t get the Spanish flu. My grandmother, and the kitchen maid.
This was the woman who brought up my father. No surprises, but I learned two things at home. There are two words that don’t apply. “Can’t” and “Never”.
Strong women grow strong children. Strong women know who they are, what they are here for, and they make the very best of every opportunity handed to them. Strong women are not doormats. Strong women keep men accountable. Strong women make their own choices, they speak, and are heard. They work, and they control their own lives; defend themselves when they need to, and nothing stops them doing what needs to be done. They teach "pussy grabbers" manners, and put them in their place, without drama. Unless of course, they perpetuate it because they want it and seek it out… THEN they are part of the problem.
Ironically, coming to New Zealand in 1961, turned out to be a huge challenge for me, but the bullying and viciousness of my peers, had the same effect on me as the hardships of Asia had on Sydney.
It gave me a backbone built on discernment, control, knowledge, learning wisdom, resoluteness, and never backing down in the face of injustice.
I’ve spent the last 35+ years, helping others to do the same thing, in diverse situations. Real women change the world. They stand strong in who they are, become knowledgeable and astute, and see the female flake a mile off.
As I watched the marches yesterday, three things came through loud and clear…. First, they don't know how lucky they are, second, they have no idea what oppression really is and third, away from their handlers and emboldened by the mob mania, most of these people haven’t a clue what really matters. If they did, they would have focused on protesting about real issues for women in the world ..., instead of sounding like ignorant asses. What they said shows their ignorance,
and what they left behind proves that they don’t care,
and are just in it for the moment… the media …. or… is it for the money?
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Sydney Elizabeth Parkin
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