Spummer

SAM_0819Hey It’s Spri..uh no ..it’s Summ..Nope since it is May it must be Sprummer!

We seem to have bypassed actual spring, which is much better than last year when we had a false early spring, and the buds all responded to warm temperatures just to be hit with more winter that killed off a huge percentage of our crops and flowers. I sadly mourned (I know how can one mourn unsadly?) the particular loss of our magnolias. So close to bloom then frozen and dead, never to recover, at least in that year.
So today I am happy to change that wintery header of mine to our beautiful magnolias – alive and just shouting life and color. It seemed to be a long long winter although it was not harsh. Perhaps due to the false spring. We felt cheated somehow.

It was fun to get the patio ready first with the power wash that cleansed the soul of grit and dirt as well as fences and patios.

Daddy teaching our future patio cleaner

Daddy teaching our future patio cleaner

He who took great pleasure in water, force and strength.  Made him feel like the Hulk!

SAM_0793

Now that’s the way to start the season!

sam_0814.jpg

Sarah Selecky’s Little Bird and My 1963 Corvair

white 63 Corvair

Sarah Selecky is an accomplished author who amongst other things writes prompts for aspiring writers.  She also hosts Little Bird Writing Contest that you will find here.  I am as usual a day late – well almost a week late in starting – and a dollar short, a saying I seem to be using a lot of this time of year.  So I decided to give it a try.

Now the idea is to read a prompt and then take 10 minutes to write it in a notebook.  By the end of the month you can submit a story from the lot, or several stories to Sarah who then has a judge (this year it is Alix Ohlin) choose a winner.

We may not want to post what we write, but my first story in ten minutes is something that I want to share.  I wrote it in ten minutes and have not done any editing yet, which of course is the idea of the whole thing.

1963 Corvair

Prompt:

Write a scene using the name of your first car you remember. In 10 minutes.

My mother was on the phone talking to her family in Scotland.  I was thirteen at the time and we were excitedly waiting for my father to return with our very first brand new car.

I looked anxiously out of the large picture window to the front driveway waiting for my father, and the car.  Brand new.  What would it look like?  What would it smell like?  My parents had only told us this morning and we were more excited that a three year old waiting for Santa.

Mum, he’s here, pulling in the driveway.  Oh it’s beautiful, I didn’t know it was white.  Mum hurry, get off the phone, you are going to miss all the excitement.”

I figured we would never get this exact moment again and I so wanted her, needed her to get off the damn phone.  She knew how important this was to my father.  Get off the phone, I silently screamed at her.

Mum turned her back to me and spoke hurriedly and all quiet like into the old black dial phone.  What could be so important, I thought, and quickly came to the conclusion that nothing, nothing on  earth was more important that this event.  Why was she taking so long?

Dad was now getting out of the car, its big wide door swung open.  The four other younger children were running around, squealing, jumping and touching everything inside and outside the car.

Mum finally, after what seemed an eternity hung up and stared quietly and unmoving at the floor.  She took a deep breath and finally looked at me, finally acknowledging my presence that she seemed to try to ignore only moments ago.  She did not speak for a bit, just looked at me as I kept looking past her to the wonderful scene in the front drive.

Raising a family of five on a working man’s wages meant we didn’t get a lot of new things including clothes that were often hand-me-downs. This was an occasion.

Mom walked over to the window then turned to me and said, “Chris, this is your father’s day.  Don’t tell him about the phone call.  Let him enjoy this day.”

Confused I asked exactly what the phone call had been.

“My twin sister, Ellen, just died in Scotland.  I will  tell your dad later.”

Putting her shoulders back, and lifting her head, she pasted on a smile and stepped out unto the front porch embracing the happiness of the celebration.

I don’t think I have seen such an unselfish act since.

My cousin in Scotland mentioned the other day of March 3rd that my Mom has been gone for 30 years and her Mom the identical twin has been gone for 50 years.

Say Cheese! March is Phoneography Month: when the joy is in the picture

These are photos taken of we three.  Is there any purer joy than children who love the camera and are in awe that what they do is reflected back to them? There is an awe in their innocence that they, themselves, are magically recorded.  These are older phone photos but I have been waiting for an opportunity to use them.  And besides, getting the pic also means getting a hug.

                                                                                                                 Almost 3

Almost

100_1394

 

 

 

Stiff Upper Lip Old Chap

respect

respect (Photo credit: Heliøs)

 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about our open information society, and I don’t mean our lives laid out for all to see on Facebook or Dating Sites or Instagram, but how nothing seems to be private anymore.  I have stood in line at grocery stores and in a few moments had people tell me their story or worse yet the intimate details of someone else’s life.  Everything from illnesses, to affairs, to arrests, abortions, drugs..well you get the idea.  In five minutes I can walk away from a complete stranger with more information than I could ever want.

When I was a little girl I watched an old English war movie and there was a scene in a war room where three men were talking.  The one fellow excused himself and one of the other men asked what was wrong with him.  The fellow responded with, “It’s a personal matter.”  The fellow just said, “Oh that is unfortunate.”  And they continued on with business.  Even at that young age I remember thinking about how respectful the whole scene was.

You see I think we have lost some degree of respect when it comes to our personal lives, to ourselves.  The more I consider it, the more I believe it is all about respect.  Respect for ourselves and respect for others by not prying.  The thing is that few people seem to understand what is happening.

I have been doing some research for a potential biography and along the way have found myself asking just how much information should be passed on?  (Especially when that person is not alive to answer to information.)  How much information would I want my children or grandchildren to know about my life?

Do we disrespect ourselves when we just blab about everything?  I used to be a little too open about my life and activities thinking honesty equaled total disclosure.  I no longer feel that way.  Not that I have any horrendous hidden secrets but there is a certain level of information, of intimacy that really is none of anyone’s business.

There is a certain dignity to the old Stiff Upper Lip.  It means that yes I have problems and challenges and I shall look after them.  The whole Suck it up Buttercup idea is along the same lines, though a little more expressive.

What is responsible for our fall from dignity?  I believe it is the ‘Media’, especially so called reality shows that are in my opinion horrid.  Talk show hosts also contribute to this nonsense.  Come on the air, wail about your problems, cry about your circumstance, and we shall reward you.  What is the reward you ask?  Well its some degree of fame I guess.  I guess but I don’t really understand.

Back in the fifties or sixties there was a television show called ‘ Queen for a Day’.   I only watched it once because I saw people degrade themselves spilling information to gain the most sympathy.  It turned my stomach at the time.  I had no way of knowing the future held a whole society of ‘poor me’ and listen to my tale of woe.

When people were more dignified it was not a case of not being able to confide in someone, but you didn’t confide in everyone, and those you did go to kept your confidence for to not do so was shameful.

Some people today do carry on their lives without tell-tale drama.  Jodi Foster is one that comes to mind immediately but there are lots of others.   I have friends that ‘carry on with a stiff upper lip’, that ‘suck it up buttercup’ and do so with grace and dignity.  I think we need a little more dignity and self-respect and no I don’t think I want all my secrets known, not because they are horrible but because they are mine.

How do we begin to change society as a whole?  Can we even do that or is it okay to carry on and hope someone else will want to follow example?

Hurray! It’s Monday

Hip Hip Hurray

Hip Hip Hurray (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And a fine crisp morning with a scattering of snow on the ground but the winds have abated and even in the stillness it is -7C (19.4F).  Meteorology predicts that even with less harsh gusts the real temp is -13C.  Still it is a fine morning.

Mondays, as I have said before, My Favorite Day.  This day is filled with enthusiasm for all I shall accomplish this week.  Goals are set, engine is running, and we are off!

I hope your day goes well and for those who are less enthusiastic about the beginning of the week – hang in there for another weekend looms around the corner.

My son just emailed me this photo, taken not so long ago at a local park and I just had to share it with you.

photo

Letters from the War: Part 2 of A Personal Post

Canadian Army

Canadian Army (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday I posted a letter written by my uncle, who was fourteen at the time, to his brother, my father who was in the army.

My uncle was a pack rat and when he passed away his basement was crammed with all kinds of treasures, that my cousins had to sort through.  Amongst his belongings were three letters.

The other two letters I have are from my father to his mother, my grandma.

I have no idea where overseas he was when these were written.  The letters are on official Canadian Army stationary and are fully intact with the original envelopes.  The first letter was written April 16, 1943 and the second May 2, 1943.  Reading the lingo of the day they make me think of a scene from a black and white movie.  They also give me a perspective I wouldn’t otherwise have of this boy who would become my father.  They touch my heart as a mother, as a grandmother and as a woman.  I don’t see this boy as my father.  He is a young man who enlisted too young and went to a war that left permanent marks.

He loyally signed up with my someday to be my Uncle Harry who when he returned from the war would marry my Aunt Elaine.  My aunt is the last aged member of that generation and she tells me to this day how awful the war was for these teenagers.  She says they were different people when they came back and I can see she mourns the loss of who they once were.  When I lived in the USA I dated a man who had been in the Vietnam war and while he was a wonderful accomplished man he still carried memories that invaded his dreams.

I have felt for a long time now that the only casualties were not those who died.  Living victims.  I think it is wonderful that Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is recognized but I do not know if that recognition makes it any easier to deal on a day to day basis.

Whoa!  That was a surprise melancholy trip.  Now back to the letters that are not at all downers.  The second letter does show just how homesick this boy was.

Anyway:  April 16/43

Dear Mother

Hi Mom how are you doing?  Fine I hope.  Now here I am to make a request.  I need some more toilet soap and would be very greatful if you could get me some and send it to me.  The limey soap gives me a rash of something.

I found out where Bobby is so as soon as I can get a leave I am going to see him. O’ yes I haven’t had my leave as yet but am sure hoping.  I expect I will need it if I don’t go crazy waiting.  O’ yes haven’t received any cigs yet but am hoping for that too.  Well must go to bed now.

Tons of Love

Your son

Raymond

PS a X (hug) from me to you.

Love Raymond

********

May 2/43

Dear Mom

Hi Sweet Heart and how are you doing?  Fine I hope.  Say do you know something.  In 49 days Mrs. Gingerich’s dark haired warrior will be 19 and I have heard from some ot the fellows he is going to get drunk, really pie eyed for about 2 days.  Well mom I guess I didn’t need to remind you of that awful day.  But I guess you can remember it.

Well enough of that.  Well today is Sunday and like the good boy I am, I never wen t to church, and you know I was worried but I don’t know what happened I just didn’t get to church.  Well here I am beside a nice fire and having a swell time.  I was thinking what a swell time a fellow could have if he were home for awhile.  it would be swell.  I’d like to meet all the new friends we have now.  It would be swell.

Well Mom, I guess I will close for now.

Tons of Love Sweetheart

Love

Raymond

A Personal Post

World War II poster from Canada

World War II poster from Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not sure that anyone outside ‘the family’ would be interested in this particular post, so don’t feel bad if you pass it by.

Today when looking through some of my writings I came across copies of letters my father had sent to his mom in 1943, and one letter from his younger brother Dick to him.  My father enlisted in the army in 1941 when he was seventeen years old.  Not at all unusual for young fellas back then to enlist underage and to be accepted to go to war.   The Second World War was firmly entrenched and in its second year.  The government made enlisting sound exciting, patriotic and gosh darn it, the right thing to do.

A year later, August 6, 1942 my uncle Dick sent my Dad a letter to his training site in Niagara on the Lake in Ontario.  A few months later my Dad was sent overseas.  These letters are of interest to me of course, because they are a link to a time and people I never knew.  My uncle at the time was about fourteen years old.  It is a nice little look at the times. Spelling, grammar and stroke outs are as in the letter.

The envelope is addressed:  Pri Raymond Gingerich

Reg. No. A-76033 C. Comp

Scots Fusiliers of Canada

Niagara on the Lake M.P.O. 203

Dear Raymond,

I received your letter last night and I would have answered then but didn’t have time.  The scouts went swimming at the pool, and but I didn’t have much fun.  I passed my swimming test and now I just have a couple more tests to pass and I’ll be a second class scout.  I have quite lots of fun these days.  Ostell’s are back from Wo Wasaga beach and now I have someone to play with because I don’t pl;ay with Stan Flaherty anymore because of his “old man”.  One day Stan and I were behind Flaherty’s with some water in bottles and old man Flaherty said, “It is only babys that play with water,” and I said, “goo” and he sold told me to get home and I said it will take a hell of a lot more than him to make me, so I don’t play with Stan anymore.  I would like to be up tere if there is lots of fishing and especially swimming.

Last night when we were at the pool I met a nifty girl and when I was diving off of the board I was loo looking at her when I hit the water I almost killed myself.  I am enjoying my holidays but thery will soon be over and school will starts start again; although I think we will have more fun this year because I will  have more fun this years because I will have old lady Neu Neuman for my teacher.  Please excuse all thos those strokes up there but I wrote one line twice.

We, meaning Johnny Ostell and I are going to save our money to go on hikes this summer and we may get lost and wander down to the canal so if we do , (we will) come and see you.  We are going on a hike some time next week and we have everything cha planned to go to the other side of Preston and we  ,if we get tired we will thumb and if I get a ride with a guy thats going to you yu vicinity I’ll go with him and I not worrying (were about where to sleep or coming back.

Oh, well enough of fooling because I wouldn’t even start to get to Niagara because I likely wouldn’t be ablt to find you anyhow.  Well, I guess I will say So long because I want to try and write to Harry yet to-day sooo……..

So Long,

Your brother

Dick

P.S. I wish you the best with the farmer’s daughter **(drawing of fingers crossed here)

Adios

write soon

So – Long

 

I Am Canadian! So saith G1

Snow!

Snow!

Well I got my preChristmas wish for snow a couple of days after that day.   And it was wonderful!  About a week or ten days of wonderful.  But yesterday things took a turn.  Big warm thirsty winds carrying us about the freezing mark are sweeping through and icicles began dripping yesterday and the white stuff on the ground is disappearing.But Monday and Tuesday after school has been fun. The boys preferred playing in their own front yard rather than the park. The weather was the perfect chill.  Some people may think of perfect chill when talking of fine wines.  Me?  When its crisp enough to play outside in fresh air and cheeks turn  that lovely pink and tunnels, forts, and igloos are all that occupy busy young minds.Jan 5th 2013 006

 

When I picked up the children from school Monday G1 was not wearing his gloves.  They are in my bag he said, too wet to wear. On arrival home there was no consideration of coming into the house.  First on the agenda was about an hour of play, romping, jumping, sliding, imaginations afire of great conquests.

I will  go into the house and get you dry gloves I told G2.  And then he said – Okay Grandma but if you don’t its okay.  Do you know why?

Well I could not think of an answer.  Who wouldn’t want warm dry hands?

Do you know why I said that Grandma, he asked again.

Because I AM CANADIAN.  I am Canadian grandma and do you know what that means?

No, said I wondering where all this was going.

I AM CANADIAN and that means I don’t really need gloves in snow.  Because I AM CANADIAN do you know I could be out here playing naked and it wouldn’t bother me.

I didn’t ask.  All I thought was how much pride he had in saying it.  Obviously he believes Canadians are a heartier sort of people than others.  Good for him.

Me?  The only time I have uttered those words with such glowing pride  – I am sad to say – is when I am ordering beer! molson canadian

Closing Off One Year – Believing in Another

Believing

Believing

Hardship

Hardship (Photo credit: StormKatt)

Well these last few weeks have been filled with challenges for many people I know, including us. This is a wonderful time of year and makes me aware of all our blessings. Sometimes you just have to let life happen and deal the best we can. I have a dear dear friend who believes in dealing with the hand we are dealt and she is one of the most positive people I know.

Regardless of What or Who you believe in, I think Belief is necessary. It is strengthening.  Now anyone who is reading this and is anti-Christian, or Atheist, or agnostic, don’t get your girdles in a knot.  Belief is a very personal matter for each of us; God, Jesus, Creator, Universe, Oneself.  The important thing is that we believe.

Our beliefs give us Hope and Hope is the Life Saver, that allows us to not only survive but to do it well.  Sometimes you just have to hang on to the side of the dingy while it tosses us around on stormy seas.stormy seas

No one gets through life free of strife.  Sometimes we can have a mind set that gets things flowing in a positive peaceful way but most times its just getting through the difficulties.  That’s where faith and hope and belief come in.  Faith in yourself, your own strength.  Faith in a Creator.

Hardship is owned by each of us.  We may go through years of relative calm and then, oops here comes Life.  Belief is our Strength and while I cannot change the path many of us are on I can certainly be there to provide support which doesn’t necessarily ease the pain, but sometimes it eases the mind and/or soul.

There will be better days.  Maybe just not for awhile.  No one can set a time limit on trials and tribulations.  Back in May of ’80 we started with the death of my grandfather.  Thereafter at least every six months for a period of six years we lost many family and friends and most of them too young, way too young.  In that time there were good things, good times, but the shadow remained for a long time.

Since August we have had five deaths of friends and family, we have had lots of illness and upset.  We shall survive and we will do it with good cheer and a healthy dose of gratitude for what we do have and did have.

Life for me remains good and if we did not have pain, how would we recognize that good?  I am not sure how I feel about that last sentence as I am pretty sure I could recognize the good without pain and suffering to contrast it, however I am trying to remain very sporting of this Thing called Life.

 

Daily Prompt: In Loving Memory and The Last Word

An oil lamp, the symbol of nursing in many cou...

An oil lamp, the symbol of nursing in many countries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (video game)

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (video game) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘Write Your Obituary

 

Christine loved words.  And her favorite were the last words.

She lived her life well enough to bring special meaning to the word, ‘Regrets, I’ve had a few”

But they certainly were too few to mention.

She never quite took life seriously enough feeling it was all so transient

And most of tragedy had a good maniacal comedy about it.

Life itself was not a joke to Chris, it was the seriousness that people persist in believing it to be that was funny.

Christine wanted to impart some good to the world so she became a nurse and thought, ‘Yes this is doing good.’

Then she became a teacher of nurses and thought, ‘If I can fill one person with the passion for nursing that I have then that is good.’

Then she became a manager and director thinking she could make the most impact there.

She sat in Queen’s Park on the Emergency Health Services Committee and though, ‘Yes here I can make a difference.’

By the time she retired Christine wondered if in fact she had made even a ripple in the great ocean of health care and then

It occurred to her that she had – not to the great cumbersome machine itself but to individuals which may seem small but in the larger picture is not.

Christine raised two sons who were her pride.  She loved each fiercely and respected them and their families in all the choices of their lives.

She had two great great loves in her life – her grandsons and the opportunity to be in the moment with them every day meant more to her than all the riches on earth.

She thought herself a poet and writer but the best stories stayed deep within.

She wanted her death – well her passing since death itself does not exist – to be a time of great joy and hilarity.

No tears – do not let the best part of her earthly being, the joy, insane laughter and stories be lost to sadness.

Get out and party and laugh.

Talk about the time she and B got lost in the golf club parking lot and could not find their way out.

Talk about the time she and J CSI’d the vacuum cleaner bag.

Talk about the time…the time…

Christine would want you to know that you should be smiling and laughing this very moment

And all of the ‘times’ she remembered are on CD for your viewing pleasure because after

All – She did want the last word!!

 

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