I believe the children are our future Teach them well and let them lead the way Show them all the beauty they possess inside Give them a sense of pride to make it easier Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be
My greatest love of all has to be my children, my grandchildren and my husband.
Gaelan and her family left on September 3rd to drive from Sparrow Lake, ON to Moncton, New Brunswick where their first home awaited them. The trip itself was pretty uneventful but they enjoyed the scenery and eating in parking lots. On day three arrived safe and sound. The moving van arrived the next day but they had Winnie’s bed and a mattress delivered earlier in the week.
After checking out the new house the family took a 20 drive to the ocean where Winnie was in fine form.
On their first day in the new home Winnie lost another tooth.
On Wednesday Winnie started her first day of school in a new school in grade one.
After a wonderful first day of meeting new kids Winnie came home and promptly fell off a bed and bit through her upper lip. Another first was the trip to the hospital where luckily it was determined that she wouldn’t need stitches, just a steri-strip.
Winnie returned to school on Thursday and had quite the story to tell her new classmates. A special thanks to Winnie’s parents for the wonderful photographs.
Last week Kevin and I took a trip to Guelph to give our granddaughters a tour of the university where we met and went to school. The girls will be going there in the fall. We had a great day and hope to make many more trips in the next few years.
I focused on the older buildings because they have so much more charm and character. The residences that were once all male or all female are now co-ed. The girls are actually in their second year so they didn’t qualify to live on campus because the residences are for first year students only. Last year all their classes were on-line so they studied from home.
Some trees were meant to be climbed. This might come as a surprise to some of my former students because I was always the teacher that made them get out of the trees that grew on the school property. Of course that was more of a liability thing and images of my younger sister falling from a tree and biting through her tongue is a memory that never goes away. Luckily for her some of her teeth hadn’t come through yet so her tongue stayed in place but she did need stitches.
….Father’s Day was wonderful but there was an empty chair this year
My Dad lived a good long life. We always said he was like a cat and had nine lives. Last October, unfortunately his ninth life gave out and shortly after celebrating his 94th birthday he passed away quickly and to the surprise of many.
As a young boy my Dad grew up on a farm in North East Germany, an area that is now part of Poland. He raised rabbits but when it came time to slaughter them for dinner he didn’t have the heart or the stomach to do it. The story goes that his uncle took over the job and he gave my Dad Angora rabbits instead. He thought Dad could comb out the luxurious hair and have it made into yarn. That too, was a disaster because Dad couldn’t handle the squirmy rabbits when he tried to comb or shear them.
Dad also loved to tinker with machinery and he hoped to be a pilot during the war. When Dad did join the Air Force at 17 it was near the end of the war and the Germans had run out of planes. He became part of the infantry and was sent to the enemy lines. This is where Dad’s first life was saved when he was hit by shrapnel. He was seriously injured and transported to a hospital where he recovered. He could have sat out the rest of the war but he re-enlisted out of a sense of duty.
We figure his second life was spared during this time when he sat around a campfire with some of his friends and he got up to retrieve something from his tent. When he returned all his friends had been killed by sniper fire.
Towards the end of the war Dad was captured by the Russians. For many Germans this was the worst possible scenario. One of his biggest fears was losing his boots. Dad became a labourer and was placed on trains with other prisoners to travel to work camps. One day he was at a distance from the rest of the group and he noticed that the prisoners were being loaded back onto the trains to return to the prison. He hid in a box and no one missed him. He escaped and joined up with a few other prisoners who had escaped. This was life three.
Walking through the country and sleeping in farmers’ barns kept him safe for awhile but in the end they were all caught and sent back to prison. I figure he was lucky that they weren’t all shot. Life four.
In the meantime the war had ended, and once again Dad was a prisoner of war with the Russians. Dad managed to escape again but he soon realized that the citizens of Poland and the Czech Republic had no use for German soldiers and that they would return him to the Russians in a heartbeat. Again he travelled with another prisoner and they were advised to surrender to the Americans or the English but that meant they had to cross back into Germany. The only way they could do that was to swim across the Danube River.
Dad was a fairly good swimmer but he was weak and underweight. His friend crossed first and then waited for Dad. The current was very strong and Dad started to drown. Fortunately his companion was able to swim back out and save him. Life five.
Over the next few decades my Dad lived to get married, father three daughters, emigrated to Canada in the 50s with his young family and he worked at numerous jobs. In his 40s, he and my Mom opened their own successful fabric and sewing machine business and did that until they retired. They loved travelling and did that until my mother tragically died during one of their vacations. Life six.
Dad could never live alone and he soon found love again. For the next 22 years, he and Gudrun lived together. When they moved to Oshawa they introduced a third member to the family, a miniature Schnauzer that they name Toby. Dad often referred to him as his best friend. I’m not sure how Gudrun felt about that.
One day while walking Toby, without thinking Dad tried to follow the dog down a ravine. It was very steep and Dad fell 20 to 30 feet. Luckily for him he didn’t break anything but his doctor told him he was very lucky that he didn’t have a heart attack. Most people his age wouldn’t have survived the fall. Dad would have been in his mid 80s when he had the accident. He was badly bruised and it took him months to heal. This is life seven.
A few years later Dad had another fall. He stepped off a riser at choir practice and there was only air below his feet. Again, no broken bones but a lot of bruising and a defeated ego. Soon after this we noticed that the house wasn’t as clean as it normally was and it became clear that the house was becoming too much to handle. Dad and Gudrun moved to a beautiful spacious apartment and they hired a cleaning lady. Things seemed fine until Dad confided in us that Gudrun was suffering from Alzheimers and they both felt it would be better if they moved into Extended Care. Six weeks after moving Gudrun passed away from complications due to her mental disability. Life eight.
Dad tried to live out his ninth life at the Retirement home but despite being 90 he wasn’t ready to live there on his own. He had too much life to live and felt that being surrounded by sick people would shorten his life. His solution was to move in with us. So after a very quick renovation and converting our basement into an apartment he moved in. He went out west for three weeks to visit my youngest sister and we put the finishing touches on his new home.
For the next two and a half years Dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer and congestive heart failure but always the optimist, until he wasn’t, he thought he could live to be 100. As the disease progressed he had days when he didn’t want to live to be that old and then the next day when he felt better he thought that maybe he could live that long. Right to the end he went out daily for walks or for a ride on his mobility scooter. He always cooked his own meals because he didn’t always like our cooking. Ironic because Kevin is an amazing cook.
I’ve wanted to tell Dad’s story for many years. Every time he talked about his past we learned something new. We encouraged you to write down your memories but I think some of them were too painful to put into words. I know that there are numerous other incidents where Dad was ill and needed surgery or when he had accidents with axes and power tools. Maybe he had more than nine lives but he lived each to the fullest and with no regrets.
So yesterday Dad I missed you. Your apartment sits empty with no plans to get new tenants. Eventually we’ll turn it into a guest room. Love you to the moon and back.
Looking back on Mother’s Day I’m saddened by the fact that I lost my mother at a young age. She was only 61 and I was 40, a mother myself with young children at the time of her passing. The following Mother’s Days in years to come were strange to me because I had no mother to buy presents for or send cards to.
My mother never considered herself beautiful. I think that comes from having a glamorous older sister. In our eyes, however, we saw her as beautiful and looking back at her early photographs she had a grace and inner beauty that shone through. Her friends always told her she looked like the Canadian gold medalist Elizabeth Manley.
Outer beauty is a gift. Inner beauty is an accomplishment. Randi G. Fine
This is my Mom on her wedding day with her sister on the left.
One of my favourite photos of my Mom is this one, probably one year after we arrived in Canada. I’m 3 and my sister is 1 and our youngest sister won’t arrive for another three years. Mom would have been 24 in this photo. The next photo was taken in 1962.
Twenty five years later the last of the three daughters is married and later that year Mom and Dad take a cruise through the Caribbean with a group of friends…..one of many holidays that they took every year and continued to take until her sudden death in 1993.
“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole but true beauty in a Woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.”
After doing a little research I did discover that today, April 26th is recognized as National Pets and Kids Day in the U.S. It is intended to raise awareness of the importance of picking the right pet for children at the right time. It’s an important decision that can lead to a lifetime of bonding between pet and child.
We have been pet owners for over 30 years. Our first pet, other than gold fish, was a golden retriever followed by a second golden. They were great dogs to have around children. When the kids grew up we adopted a mutt who instantly became my husband’s dog. Our daughters both became dog owners when they set up their own homes and our son who has moved about Europe for the last 15 years is sans a pet.
Another trip to a conservation area with a waterfall.
Last week we took a drive to Halton Hills. We had to make a reservation and we were quite surprised at how many cars were in the parking lot for a Wednesday afternoon. The hike started with a steep climb up a rugged path but this was the most difficult part of the hike. After that the paths were wide and relatively smooth.
It didn’t take too long before we heard the sound of rushing water.
As the sound got louder the we noticed that the water moved quickly and before too long we found ourselves at the top of Hilton Falls. This waterfall is 10 metres high and at the base are the ruins of a 19th century sawmill.
The conservation area also has great picnic sites right by the falls and when COVID is over the fire pit will probably be open to the public again.
After our lunch we headed back on the path that we came on but there was a fork in the road and we headed toward the reservoir.
All in all we had a wonderful day. On the way home we took a side road instead of the highway and were impressed with the beautiful countryside so close to the city.