Charles Gordon PARKER
My maternal grandmothers brother.
11 June 1900- 28 November 1938
Charles PARKER was the fourth son and seventh child to Thomas PARKER and Jane WILLIAMS. He is my grandmother’s brother, my great uncle. I never met Charlies. Actually, I didn’t even know of him until I began my family research. As usual, I wanted to find out as much information I could on my maternal grandmother’s family. They were so interesting and every turn I made I seemed to unearth another story of another ancestor.
In 2019 I received my Diploma of Family History from University of Tasmania. During the Writing Family History unit I had to write a story about an ancestor. I chose Charley because I had recently found information about his death. He married, but did not have any children. Therefore, Charley may not be known by any living person today. Charlie needs recognition, so here is the story I wrote about Charles Gordon PARKER born 11 June 1900 at Carcoar, NSW, married Mary Veronica DOHERTY on 15 December 1920 at the NSW Registry Office in Sydney. Sadly, his wife died 15 October 1938 at Kogarah Hospital, Sydney and Charlie died forty four days later on 28 November 1938.
He Couldn’t See the Forest for the Trees!
By Margaret Hope 2018
As Charley shoulders hunched and his head slumped, he began sobbing as he watched his wife slowly succumb to a lifeless existence. He wanted to hold her hand forever. How could he live without her?
He didn’t know how long he had been by her side when a nurse came and took his wife’s cold hand from his grip when he heard a soft, compassionate voice say “Mr Parker, I am so sorry, but we have to take her now. Can I get you a cup of tea?” He bent down to kiss his wife on the forehead, stroked her blonde hair, knowing that this would be his final touch, he sobbed uncontrollably. The nurse gently took his elbow and ushered him into another room. He doesn’t remember how long he was alone, but his thoughts were interrupted when the nurse returned with a cup of tea. “I don’t know what to do now! My life will be so empty without her; it was just us, no babies, just us. What do I do now?” “Go home and rest Mr Parker, and in the morning, you need to go and see the Undertaker and organise her funeral” replied the nurse.
As he sauntered through the hospital corridors, his mind filled with memories of how they lived for one another, how they snuggled like a pair of spoons in bed at night. How they consulted one another about every plan. Their life was a duet! What was he going to do?
Sleep evaded him as he tossed and turned, wondering where he was going to find the money to bury his beloved Vonnie! They lived from week to week, and he hadn’t been to work for a fortnight as he didn’t want to leave Vonnie’s bedside while she fought incidious cancer in her cervix.
He must have eventually slept. He was dreaming that Vonnie was knocking at the front door when his sleep was interrupted. He threw the sheets from his body as he leapt out of bed yelling, “Alright, alright, I’m coming!” As he opened the door, he saw his landlord standing there. “I’m here to collect the rent Charley, you’re two weeks behind, and I can’t let it go any longer. You’ll have to find another place, I’m afraid”.
“Please, just give me a couple of more days. Vonnie passed away yesterday, and I have to organise her funeral today. I’ll have a cheque for you next week”. The landlord’s head dropped as he gave Charley his condolences but told him he would be back next week to pick up the rent money.
Closing the door, he walked back into the bedroom as he scratched his head. He was in such a dilemma as to how he was going to get out of this financial mess. Where could he get the money for the funeral, let alone the rent?
He found the chequebook and although he knew the bank balance was almost nil, he decided to write a cheque for the funeral and worry about where the cash would come from after he buried his wife.
Vonnie’s funeral was just a blur, the sickly scent of flowers made him feel ill. It was an occasion when Charley just wanted to curl up like a baby and sleep forever. He was lost and couldn’t think logically.
Two weeks after the landlord was rapping on the front door once again. Charley gave him a cheque for rent owed but said he didn’t have any more money to pay rent in advance. The landlord told him to find other accommodation and gave him five days to get out!
The following day Charley answered a rap on the door. There stood the Undertaker. “The bank dishonoured your cheque, Charley. You’ll need to find cash to finalise the account.” He broke down and told the Undertaker that he didn’t have the money. He said, “I don’t have a job I don’t have a wife, and I don’t have any money”. The Undertaker replied “Life goes on Charlie. You must honour your debts, I’ll see you in court”.
A few days later, the Sherriff arrived at his door with a summons to appear before the Court. The Undertaker wanted his money!
Charley just wanted to run away in the hope that he may escape this horrible life. He couldn’t see his way out. He had no money, no food. Life was not worth living!
On Monday 28th November 1938, the day before he was due in court, it was raining, and the southerly wind was blowing when Charley boarded the train late in the afternoon at Sutherland railway station. He watched the rain beating on the window, getting harder and harder as the train gathered speed. His destination was unknown. His body was numb, his heart was broken, and he was hoping this train may lead him out of his black hole.
The next day, the evening paper announced that when the official at Kogarah Court called Charley’s name, a Detective informed the Magistrate he had been killed at Central Railway Station when he fell under a train. The court papers were marked ‘defendant deceased’.
Charley left a suicide note in the band of his hat saying that he could not go on. He loved his wife and their people, and he knew they loved him, he left whatever money he had to his brother, Arthur. The last words he wrote were ‘don’t forget me’!
Note: His wife had an older sister named Eliza. I have no idea who Ron was.
Another article published in Truth (Sydney, NSW : 1894 – 1954), Sunday 11 December 1938, page 15
LEFT MESSAGE IN HIS HAT
Suicide Worried Over Money
LEAVING a farewell message in the band of his hat, Charles Gordon Parker, 38, laborer, committed suicide by diving in front of a train on November 28 last. He was almost decapitated. The City Coroner. Mr. E. T. Oram, was told that Parker had been worried over money matters, and was to have appeared at Kogarah Court on the day following his death to answer a charge of forgery. Parker’s last message read: ‘I want to say goodbye to all. Tell them I never touched that, book. Goodbye. Eliza. I love you. I loved all her people and I know they loved me, I can-not go on. Give Arthur all my money Arthur, get drunk on the day. son. don’t forget me.— Charley Parker.’
May you rest in peace Charley Parker along with your beloved Vonnie.
After reading this story, I hope you won’t forget Charley. 💞