Gwendolyn Irene Grange

born 1914; died 1993

GwenBorn in Christchurch in 1914. Her parents were James Rupert Grange (1887 – 1971) and Agnes Maud Trengrove (1887 – 1967). Her parents married in March 1913 at Opawa, now a suburb of Christchurch. They had two daughters, Gwen and her sister Joan. More information on Gwen’s ancestors can be found here…

She began writing children’s stories at an early age – her first story being published by an Australian magazine when is was only eleven. In 1969 she published her first (and only) book called “A Husband in the House” about Jack Watts time as an MP.

The Magic of Music by Gwen Grange, age 15

The Strains of a violin floated to the sensitive ears of a dreamer – just an idle dreamer with a frayed coat and battered hat, a white peaked face and eyes that searched for beauty – but could not find it.

A sluggish passion , a slow excitement, a flicker of interest, crept into the dreamer’s soul. With his hands deep in his pockets, his hat pulled down, he sauntered into the dimly-lit cafe. He sat at a table and tapped his fingers restlessly. A polite waitress spoke to him. He did not hear. Perhaps she understood, I do not know, but she silently moved away.

The dreamer did not hear the clatterr of tea-cups, the rough laughter, the good-natured banter; he did not see the ill-assortment of human beings – the poverty stricken artists, the white-faced women, the shifty-eyed men – here a cosmopolitan with a smile of contemptuous interest playing around his mouth – there a great author seeking for material from life’s comedy. He saw and heard none of this, for him the music was sufficient, it filled his soul and there was room for nothing else.

The music was dancing now… The dreamer was back in the past. The rose-thatched cottage… his little mother with hope shining in her soft eyes… his brothers… the proud day when he was head boy of the school… head boy! That glorious day when he ran the race to the end and found that he had won… the silver cup… his mother with happy tears in her eyes… the cheers…

The music was sobbing now… the dreamer sat by his mother’s bedside with his brother clutching his hand… the look of happiness in her eyes… the promise she asked of him – Good God, the promise! “My big , brave John, promise me you will always run the race to the end, though perhaps it will be steep and rough… my baby boy!”

The music was angry, coaxing, wheedling, tempting… The dreamer watched himself being left behind in the race – gradually he was at the bottom of a long line – at last he forgot to climb up for he found it was easier to slip down.

He saw his brother making headway, leading the race; he saw them rich and famous with wives and children. He saw himself… trudging the streets with his hands in his pockets and hat pulled down… a fugitive. He saw himself in a prison cell – a cell that was small and dark… He was trudging the streets once again… doing nothing, saying nothing.. forever trudging, wrearily trudging with hope long ago faded from his eyes – those eyes which had long ago lost sight of the racers,

The music ceased… The player bowed. Just once his eyes sought the dreamer’s… Was it fancy or did his eyes speak of hope… hope! The dreamer laughed…

With head erect and hands at his sides the dreamer stepped briskly out of the cafe, and away in to the starry darkness. And with him went the soul of his little mother.

That night a new star was born and a new hope lit up a dreamer’s heart. The race was begun again, this time it was run to the finish.

Married Jack Thomas Watts 1937

Julian: 1939
Adrienne: 1941
Lyndsey: 1942
Merrilyn (Merry): 1943
Jacqueline (Jackie): 1949