Jacqueline Wilson …

Fascinating video!

Routine Matters

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

Yesteryear: When it Really Was an Honour to Serve the Sick

congregation Sister's of St. Joseph

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.

Oh well….

****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.

 

 

 

Markus Zusak … The Book Thief

I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful this book is.

Routine Matters

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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A Personal Post

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.

bridgesburning

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…

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Sometimes what you need is right there….

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.

One of my favorite blogs Judith introduced me to Routine Matters who you can find here and who posted on Inklings.  Reading this will give you an idea about we three, but on a much different level.

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
anxiety…

When you stop
the should,
didn’t, can’t
and sorry train…

When you accept
that what is
done is done,
what happened,
happened…

When you live
this day in
its entirety,
this moment
as the only
one that
matters – that
is real…

When you allow
your precious
self to be
fully human,
completely
still
and okay…

Then, the beauty
of today finds you
and brings you
to this
only moment…

Then your breath
is allowed
to be deep
and to resonate
with your
true heart…

Then, your
mind begins
to relax and
let go of terror…

Then, your
heart whispers
here is the truth
you are
seeking…

Then you know
that there is
life beyond the
worry and anxiety,
filled with beauty

and wisdom,
and that, truly,
all is well
and grace beyond
measure moves
you forward.

~Joss Burnel / 2012

A Moment in Time Part 2

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.
cropped birth certificate Annie1

cropped birth certificate Annie2
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.
cropped dr bernardo
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.

Stratford Home MacPherson (2)
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.

Image (5)

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

Image (49)

Annie and Babyhappy annie

And with life there is also death.death notice Babies Donald and Kenneth

Death notice Babies Charlie and Roy Edison

and life goes on… a travel document for James to travel to the United States on business in 1918

james travel request usa

Not an end, but a beginning

Annie gravestone

A Moment in Time

**Note this may only be of interest to family

This is the story of a young girl, born in Hackney England in 1884.  Four years later in July 1888 she was an orphan situated at ‘The Annie MacPherson Home”, in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. She was sixty years old before she knew for sure when she arrived at the Home.  She was seventy-nine before she knew the date of her birth, the names of her mother and father, and her address in Hackney.  She had assigned herself a birthday just to have something to celebrate. Her eightieth birthday was the only accurate birthday date, and that party was mighty.  She died a year later. But there was great joy in her life as the following photos will show.

This is a peek at a wee book I have put together as a gift to my godmother for her 90th birthday this month. The booklet is about her grandmother, my great-grandmother. I will post it just a few chapters at a time.

I must say it was a surprisingly huge task considering its size, but research took months and I certainly have enough information to write ten books.  But for now that information has been filed.  I have had a few books printed and will present Elaine’s to her at her party.

_________________________________________________________

Chapter One                                                              Beginnings

                                                                    Annie at 60

This is the story of an incredible woman, without whose participation, none of us would exist today.  She had a sad and hard beginning, one that might make us wonder how she could ever have had any degree of happiness.

But the good thing about life is that, regardless of hardship, pain, and loss, there is still joy to be had.  Perhaps the loss makes the happiness sweeter.

Annie Dorothy Frampton had a beautiful, joyous smile.  This will be evidenced in some photos you will see later.  Her joy was her family.

The very thing she lived her early years without, became her greatest treasure, by her own making.

___________________________________________________________

 

Chapter 2                                           Robert White 1832-1916

Before we tell Annie’s story we must start in Glasgow, Scotland in 1832, when Annie’s future father-in-law, Robert White was born.  Little is known about his early years, though we know that on Saturday, the 17th day of April, 1858, in the town of Stratford England, 26 year old Robert enlisted in the 100 Regiment of Foot, Horse Guard.  Less than a year later he mustered out of the Guard for a fee of twenty pounds at Shorncliffe England with a Good Conduct rating.

Robert White wearing his dress uniform

   robert dress uniform                                                                                                                                                              

 robert discharge document

What happened to Robert between 1859 and 1871?   By this time he had immigrated to Ontario, Canada, and a year later, at the age of 40, married 17 year old Leah Strickler in 1872.

Scots had been immigrating to Canada since the 17th century, and around the years that Robert White came to Ontario, 80,000 Scots entered Canada.  From the time of his discharge from the Horse Guard, it was 21 years until the birth of his one and only child James.

Below is Robert’s death notice.  At that time he lived in Paris and died on August 4th, 1916 at 11 pm in his 85th year.  His funeral left the home of his son James White, West River St., Paris, Ontario, on Monday August 7th at 9:30 am for the GTR Depot following a service in the home of James.  Interment was in the Mennonite Cemetery at Bright.

death notice Robert White

_________________________________________________________________

Chapter 3                                      The Stricklers of Preston, Ontario

Let’s for a moment jump back even further in time and place to York Pennsylvania, USA in the year 1822.  Specifically November 22, 1822.

Part of the Pennsylvania Dutch immigration, Reuben arrived in Ontario where he met and married Leah Witmer, who was the first of three wives.  Leah and Reuben had nine children, one of whom, named after her mother, would grow up to marry Robert White many years later.  Women died, often in childbirth and men remarried to have someone care for their children.

reuben memorial page (3)    reuben memorial page (4)

 

__________________________________________________________________

Chapter 4                                               Robert and Leah

 

Leah and Robert married in 1872.  She was 17 yrs. and he was 40 yrs. old.  They had no living children until James Henry White was born in 1880.

In reviewing the Canadian Census Records of the time, it appears that the age difference did bother Robert.

In 1871, Robert properly listed himself as 39 yrs. old.  This was a year before he married his very young bride.

In 1881, ten years later Robert is listed as Presbyterian, Leah as Mennonite, James, the baby, as 6 months old.  Robert’s age is recorded as 44 years old – short by 5 years.

In 1891, Robert lists his age as 49 years.  He was really 59 at the time.  So our many times ‘great’ grandfather only aged 10 years over 20 years.

Interestingly, Annie Frampton, in the same census (1891) is listed under the family of J. Willows, a 34 yr. old farmer from England, who had a number of children listed. (Is it possible this family took her in from the orphanage?)  She is stated as 7 yrs. old.

****Next post is the story of the young Annie and then Annie, her husband James, and their life and legacy

 

A Dream Blog

Lovely

thekitchensgarden

Desiderata.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism

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The Wall

img_20170205_114255267

I look at a board on a wall in front of my writing desk.   It is a point of inspiration and love.

Photos, notes, reminders.

The earliest photo is from the 1930’s.  My great-grandmother (Orphan Annie) and my great-grandfather James who died in 1940.

A newspaper clipping and photo of my paternal grandparents 50th wedding anniversary in 1973.  Photo of a dear cousin and her husband, both gone now much much too early.  And my parents gone in 1980’s.  A photocopy of my father’s army application filled out on a Friday the 13th in 1942 at the age of 17.

So many dead and gone. BUT interspersed throughout the board, the Living. Sons, grandsons, siblings, in-laws, and another dear cousin who is my mini me.

Life and lives.  Memories made and being made.  A wedding invitation for September 2017 of a dear nephew and his bride to be.

I love my wall.  I love the reminders of all whose paths transverse mine.

My Gratitude Wall.

This is just the starting point.  There are not enough walls to hold the photos of those who have gone, and those who live who warm my heart and spirit.

I am Blessed.

There are no facts, only interpretations. – Friedrich Nietzsche. The truth I think that validates everything you have to say.

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