James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Letter from Elizabeth Owen

Frank's mother, Elizabeth, wrote him a letter on 25 September 1918 (at the time she was living with Frank’s brother, Reginald, in Watford) in which she began by discussing her grandchildren Gwynn, Eric and Ruth. She then addressed Frank’s situation: "I thought you told me when you took your present engagement that overtime was not favoured by the firm, so I have come to the conclusion there must have been a great inrush of work or shortage of hands to account for any such deviation from general practices. However, as you say more money comes in as the result, though that is not an unmixed blessing in face of the waste in bodily and mental strength which it entails. Your constitution does not lend itself to extremes of any kind, especially in hot weather, and you need all the rest in order to counterbalance the overstrain. I cannot understand why you should be so tied to home life as not to be able to secure for yourself each day a couple of hours, at least, for private reading or recreation of some kind or other. Married life is not meant by God or man to be a burden, to be borne on one pair of shoulders. It is to be shared equally by those who made the compact."

PS in Elizabeth Owen's letter She then discussed the war before adding the postscript, "I forgot to note in my letter that you told me that in spite of all your money-earning you were unable to lay by anything towards Gwynn’s future. It is a matter of determination after all! It certainly cannot be for lack of means at present. There must be some mismanagement somewhere. See to it for the child’s sake! Mother"

If the admonishments of his elderly mother seem hard on Frank, they were made at a time when she cannot have been very happy. She described how people in Britain were suffering from deprivations, rationing and coal shortages due to the war. However, the inference is that Frank was, at that time, at a low ebb, overworked, overtired and, despite the extra work, struggling to make ends meet.