Affluenza: Aflicktion

December 14, 2006

I think my family caught affluenza in the late 19th century. That might explain why my great-grandparents were personal aquaintances of Prince Albert but their son Albert, worked as an electrician on the Canadian National Railway. Fanny and Charles spent a good part of their married life on transatlantic trips. According to on-line ship’s records they made at least one of these with the Governor General of Canada, the Marquis of Lorne (1878-1882) and his wife, Princess Louise. Fanny Peake, the daughter of James Peake, one of the 19th century entrepreneurs who built fortunes on ships and shipping, grew up in Beaconsfield, a Victorian mansion designed by Harris, brother of the artist Robert Harris, RCA. We grew up with these stories which seemed so incredulous; they seemed more like fiction that reality. My mother Fanny loved to tell us about her father, who a few years before his death, literally gave away the vestiges of his portion of the Peake-Leigh. During the Depression the tenants could no longer pay their rent. He gave the renters the deed to their homes.

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