Today is mine. If I live in the shadows of others it is my choice. But today the sun shines and I live in the purity of self, hoping days end will show Grace, Kindness, and Love, Creativity and Generosity. (I do so hate those ending in sloth, laziness, neglect, and ignorance – you know – most days 😕 😁 )
Photo copyright RR Nichols
Some of you read Laurie Nichols’ blog; more of you will have seen her comments on my blog. For those who have been wondering, I’m sad to report that Laurie passed away on February 17th, aged 49, due to complications caused by her cancer. Her husband Robert told me that he was with her the last 60 days of her life full time in the room, talking, and holding her hand and making sure she was comfortable.
Laurie was a beautiful woman, inside and out. She was sweet and kind and lived life to the full. She loved politics, gardening, travelling with her husband, cooking, movies, her dogs but, above all, she loved her family.
She was one of my greatest cheerleaders and we corresponded privately as well as through our blogs. A favourite memory is the time she sent…
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Jacqueline Wilson …
The popular and prolific children’s author, Jacqueline Wilson was born in 1945. She has sold over ten million books, which have been translated into over thirty languages.
She is the author of the highly successful Tracey Beaker series which has also been adapted for television. Other works include The Suitcase Kid (1992), The Illustrated Mum (1999), Lizzy Zipmouth (2000), Kiss (2007) and Four Children and It (2012).
Jacqueline has won many awards including the Smarties Prize and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. In June 2002, she was given an OBE for services to literacy in schools and from 2005 to 2007 she served as the fourth Children’s Laureate. In the 2008 New Year Honours, Wilson was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE).
In 2007 she was interviewed by the Guardian for their Writers’ Rooms series.
Children are always asking me if I have a special place to write. Well, yes, I have a…
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Yesteryear: When it Really Was an Honour to Serve the Sick
In 1978 I had the privilege of working for the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brantford, Ontario where I remained for almost twenty years. Then, as now, each workplace had its own ambiance, and culture, but the emphasis then had an awful lot to do with respect. Not just in Healthcare but in business. And not just for bosses but for everyone.
Those were the days when treating employees well, resulted in happier employees and happier results. Employee retention was important indicating a well-trained, knowledgeable, productive and stable work environment.
In those days, at least in my world, one felt valued, and performed accordingly. Doing a good job was self-rewarding.
The Sisters lived on the fifth floor of the hospital and were an intricate part of daily hospital life. They had a vegetable garden and often cooked up wonderful soups for everyone. It wasn’t unusual to come on the night shift at 11 pm and find a pot of soup simmering on the stove in the kitchen of each unit.
Our motto was simple: It’s an Honour to Serve the Sick
It was printed on the bottom of all our stationary and posted on walls. I am sure not everyone felt the same way, but I believed in that motto. I believed in the sentiment. I felt it. Actually I felt it long before I even knew I was going to be a nurse. I suppose that came from years of reading books when I was younger; Dr. Tom Dooley, Florence Nightingale.
I wasn’t a young naïve child when I went to work there. In 1978 I was thirty-one. It was just part of my nature to embrace the core value of nursing, as I saw it.
Now they weren’t true Halcion days, with constant joy, but looking at today’s work environments and standards of care it, they were the best of years.
Pretty soon some dim bulb decided that our faith based care had to become more businesslike. The nuns were ousted to residence at the Mother House in Hamilton, and the fifth floor became offices.
The motto was thrown out, and ridiculous lengthy pretend words were posted denoting, Mission, Vision, and Values. (All of which took meetings on meetings on meetings to create). The energy that was spent in delivering care to patients, staff, and families, and community was now spent in – yup you guessed it – in meetings.
The Ministry of Health changed funding and doctors and patient conditions no longer determined length of stay. The running joke was, ‘It’s an Honour to Serve the Sick in five days or less’.
In any healthcare facility today you will see all kinds of information posted. How many falls occurred per unit, per month, per year – interventions of the same. Charts on infections, use of antibiotics – information ad nauseum.
This is what I call CYA. Cover Your Ass with the Ministry. Remember in Harry Potter that some Ministries were evil? My thoughts exactly on our ‘Ministries’.
Have you any idea the professional dollars wasted on the positions putting together this information in a deemed acceptable fashion that could be used to give direct care?
STOP THE JUSTIFICATIONS I want to yell. You are not convincing anybody. Least of all me.
I believed in Care and Caring. And don’t let anyone tell you it is the same thing. Care is something you deliver to those in need. Caring is the way you do it.
I believed a good employer cares for and looks after his clients AND his employees.
I believed It’s an Honour to Serve the Sick.
I guess I still do.
*Sadly this hospital closed in the 90’s at a time when Ontario shut down many hospitals across the province. I was actually sitting on a committee in Queen’s Park before that happened and when discussion came up about closures it never occurred to me that my hospital would be on the list.
** Of course I was also the one who said in 1970 that the new coffee shop, known as Tim Horton’s would never succeed. It just never occurred to me that anyone would leave home to pay for coffee.
****Throughout writing this my mind has sifted through many memories of my Nun friends and what they taught me, but mostly my mind had been on Sister Patricia Valeriote, so this is a shout out to her.
I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful this book is.
Markus Zusak … The Book Thief
Markus Zusak (born 23 June 1975) is an Australian writer. He is best known for The Book Thief and The Messenger, two novels for young adults which have been international best-sellers.
The Book Thief was published in 2005 and has since been translated into more than 30 languages. It was adapted as a film of the same name in 2013.
He spoke about his writing routine in an interview for the Guardian in 2008.
I find writing extremely difficult. I usually have to drag myself to my desk, mainly because I doubt myself. And it’s getting harder because I want to improve with every book. Sometimes I guess it’s best just to forget there’s an audience and just write like no one will ever read it at all.
I procrastinate in spades. In my defence, I also try to have all other distractions solved before I can concentrate on writing…
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Searching family of long ago I have come across some treasures. Most recently I completed a story about my great-grandmother. Doing some research on my father tonight this post from January 2013 showed up.
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.
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Poems speak to one in many ways; rhythm, meaning, metaphor, reality. They can be soft and soothing, or hard and brutal, warm or cold, nurturing or ball busting.
Joss Burnel, an expat living and writing in Cuenca, Equador, has written many a poetic word.
One in particular caught my eye yesterday and moved my spirit.
Now I can explain about my Thursday evening meetings with my international group of three, in which every possible topic is discussed including what we are writing, and reading, and commenting on the world at large. We started as bloggers six or seven years ago, then emailing, and now using Skype world wide.
Me in South Western, Ontario, Canada, Joss in Cuenca, Equador, and Judith Baxter in Wellington, New Zealand.
I am the one in the white robe stoically fighting a cold. (and if you think it did not take a considerable degree of bravery to post such a photo, you would be wrong. I swear I do look better most days. Honest..) Judith is beside me and Joss above.
OH! Back to the poem. It perfectly reflects my thoughts this week and with Joss’ permission I present it to you now. (Highlighting is mine)
When you let go
of the fear,
the worry and
When you stop
and sorry train…
When you accept
that what is
done is done,
When you live
this day in
as the only
matters – that
When you allow
self to be
Then, the beauty
of today finds you
and brings you
Then your breath
to be deep
and to resonate
to relax and
let go of terror…
here is the truth
Then you know
that there is
life beyond the
worry and anxiety,
filled with beauty
and that, truly,
all is well
and grace beyond
~Joss Burnel / 2012
Chapter 5 Annie Dorothy Frampton
By the time Robert and Leah were settled in Ontario, and their son James was four years old, across the cold Atlantic Ocean, in South Hackney, in the County of Middlesex, a wee baby girl was born on February 14, 1884 at home.
Hackney, was a very poor area of east London in those days. Her father, Francis Frampton, and his wife Edith Davies Frampton, lived at 4 Poole Rd. South Hackney.
Her father registered her birth two months later on April 18, 1884. So far it is unknown whether Annie had any siblings.
What is evident is that she had a mother and father in 1884, and somehow, a mere four years later was living in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, in an orphanage known as The Annie MacPherson Home.
It would be seven decades before she knew her birth date, her parents’ names, and where she lived.
On December 14, 1944, when Annie was 60 yrs. old, her family obtained certification that Annie arrived at the Stratford Home in July 1888, and was reported to be 4 yrs. old at the time. * Please note that when Annie MacPherson died her Homes and records became the possession of Dr. Barnardo’s Homes Company.
At the age of 60 Annie still had to wait 19 years to know who she was, and where she came from.
There was much speculation about who she was. As a four year old it was not possible to remember what short past she had.
One story was that she was found wandering the streets of London holding a Ladies white glove. Many years ago Annie related what she hoped was an accurate memory to one of her great-granddaughters: She said she thought she could remember her father’s body lying in the parlour. She thought she had brothers and that her mother Edith could keep the boys because they could work, but she could not look after a young girl.
*This may be pretty close to the truth. Many of the orphans at the time were given to orphanages because the remaining parent simply could not look after them. There were more than 100,000 orphans in London at that time.
Above is the Annie MacPherson Home at 51 Avon St. Stratford, Ontario, as it was when Annie arrived in 1888 and as it is today in 2016.
Other than the Census indication that Annie may have lived with a family named Willows, nothing is known of the 11 yr. period from the age of four to fifteen.
Life changed dramatically for the orphan and a boy who grew up without siblings on December 20, 1899, when the marriage took place between Annie Dorothy Frampton and James Henry White.
The service was conducted by Rev. J. McKay at the Annie MacPherson House, and was witnessed by Priscilla Pointer and Lottie Butcher. It is unknown if they were residents or employees of the Home.
Annie was 15 years old and James 19 years old. It was a Wednesday.
Annie had 14 births, 8 of whom lived to adulthood: William, Elsie, Eric, Gladys, S. Earl, John, Robert, Margaret.
I remember well the excitement of 1963 when Elsie White Gingerich, one of James’ and Annie’s daughters told me that finally they had been able to receive a notarized copy of Annie’s Birth Certificate. *as shown above
Annie was 79 yrs. old. Elsie went on and on about the marvel of spending your whole life not knowing the where, the who, the when of it all and then finally, finally, finding out.
On February 14, 1964 Annie Frampton White turned 80 years old. Over the years previously she had given herself a birthday of May 1883, and finally at the age of 80 years a proper family party was held, and the celebration was a mighty one.
In 1965 Annie died, 25 years after her husband, leaving a large and wide spread family.
When things get hard, and life is dark, and hope seems gone forever, I just have to think about Annie, who had less than nothing, and lived to laugh and love, and be loved. And therein lays the hope for us.
James and Annie sometime before his death in 1940
And with life there is also death.
and life goes on… a travel document for James to travel to the United States on business in 1918
Not an end, but a beginning