Monday, December 14, 2009

Advent Calendar - Fruitcake - Friend or Foe?

A post for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories

Personally I'm a friend of fruitcake as long as it doesn't have nuts in it. A good fruitcake should do what it says on the hypothetical tin - fruit and lots of it! There are a lot of commercial "Christmas Cakes" available that are too cake-y - they just aren't as good as my Mum's. And no marzipan icing, thank you!

My fruitcake ancestor is Maria DELL from Amersham Buckinghamshire, a non-conformist lacemaker married to shepherd William KEEN. Christmas 1867 finds Maria resident in St John's Asylum in Stone, Buckinghamshire, suffering from "melancholia, several years", and her death certificate in 1876 describes her cause of death as atrophy after 31 years of mental derangement. Would this have been the saddest Christmas for the Keen family, or perhaps one of the happiest, thinking that Maria was getting help?


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