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.

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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.

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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

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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)

 

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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

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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.

How J.B. Fletcher survived multiple shocks but was taken down by a table, a rug, and her very own lunch.

 

Once upon a time in a land far away lived a lovely lady, who had three very lovely girls, all of them …oh wait! Wrong story line.

Once upon a time in a land far away lived a lovely lady. She and I started our blogs years ago about the same time. I remember messaging her about widgets, something she had conquered and something I have long ago forgotten about.

The land far away is New Zealand and her philosophy and classy ways attracted me right from the start. She has been more dedicated about her blog, ‘I choose how I will spend the rest of my life’ than I, and we have continued our friendship over the years and miles.  Through thick and thin, of which there has been a lot.

Some of what she has survived, with great style I might add:  the sale of her home, a fire in a storage unit, a trip alone to Europe, a broken leg, the loss of a dear love, a head injury (which took months) and now another fracture.

She is a life coach who lives what she preaches, except she is not preachy of course, but maintains a positive outlook. She sets an example of a life well lived.

A few years ago I had commented that to me she seemed a lot like the character JB Fletcher on Murder She Wrote.  Style, beauty, common sense.

Anyway, on her blog you will read about her latest adventure caused by lunch no less.  It seems there was a fall, in a chair, the leg of which had been attacked by a rug posing as No Threat.  This had followed a previous number of earthquake shocks which were unsettling but survivable for her.

I think in addition to Angela Lansbury she reminds me of Reba McIntyre who sang, ‘I’m a Survivor.”

So keep on keeping on my friend. Get well, and continue to inspire! And a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS  from Canada

Meeting the Greats…

Genealogy intrigues me.

One definition I have found:

“Genealogy – Where you confuse the dead and irritate the living.” – Unknown

I guess that explains some of the looks I get when discussing my project. Yup, definitely annoyance.

You see the little bits I started with grew, and pretty soon I was feeling mighty special, having uncovered facts that no one else knew. Oh how wonderful to regale family and friends with results of my search and suddenly I found out I knew a lot. I could tell you see by the glaze that covered their eyes by the third generation hijinks. Such excitement, such a thrill! The dearest people caught my eye standing nose to nose until I ceased talking and said, “I don’t care.” Said with love but the message was received none the less.

I think searching the past is exciting, but I have discovered that my accomplishments really are for my own entertainment. However, when you write it down and people can absorb it at their own pace it is more palatable. So now I am writing it down, trying to get it in reasonable book form, which can be a little overwhelming.

Think about it. You start with your Mom and Dad. Now you look at the parents of both parents, and no you can’t do it all at the same time, which is really really frustrating.

If you have trouble making decisions it is almost impossible to attempt anything related to the old family tree. But being a big girl you decide to follow your father’s mother’s family. You know, Grandma.

But wait! Grandma also had two parents. Oh dear, which one to follow? In my case the decision was easy. You see we had our very own Orphan Annie and she is the one who had the most documentation to follow. It turns out when you are born in eighteen eighty-four in Hackney, an area of London, and then are documented as an orphan living in Stratford, Ontario, Canada at the age of FOUR years old, and you spend your life not knowing where you were born, or when, or who you parents are, you and your family spend decades searching. In Annie Frampton’s case, the search was productive.

At the age of thirty she acquired a notarized document stating the name and address of the orphanage she grew up in. This was an Annie MacPherson Home.

But this is not actually about Annie. It is about her mother and father, and her future father in law.

You see I figure if I get this down in print today I will be able to refrain from discussion at our annual brother and sister Christmas Dinner tomorrow.

It wasn’t until nineteen sixty-three, when Annie was seventy-nine years old that she was able to receive a notarized copy of her birth certificate from Somerset House in London. England did a good job of keeping documents of their people, even those that became orphaned. ** It is important the note that of the hundred thousand orphans sent to Canada, and many other parts of the Empire many children were not true orphans. The children may have had one parent who could not support them and so they were taken to work houses to be trained in domestics and farm work depending on your sex.

Annie was born on February fourteenth in eighteen eighty-four. Her father registered her birth four days later on April eighteenth. I have her mother’s maiden and married names and her father’s and their address at the time of Annie’s birth. But I am not sure how I find out about them. Where to look?

Her mother was Edith Frampton, formerly Davies. Her father was Francis Frampton and they lived at

4 Poole Rd. South Hackney. That’s it. That’s all I know about them.

Meanwhile, in Glasgow, in eighteen fifty-eight a young man Robert White went to Stratford England and signed up for the 100 Regiment Horse Guards. I have his official discharge parchment dated March 30, 1859 when he paid twenty pounds to be released from service. He was twenty-six and given honourable discharge. This man was the future father in law of Annie.

 

I don’t know where to find more info on Robert, however I was able to find him in Bright Ontario Canada some years later. He had met and married Leah Strickler whose family had a farm in Preston Ontario.. Unusual at the time, Leah and Robert only had one child. Were there others who did not survive? Unknown at this point. What is known that Robert was about fifty when his son James Henry White was born. And it was James who married Annie Frampton on December 20, 1899.

They married at the MacPherson House in Stratford, where Annie had arrived in 1888 with one hundred other children. Reverend J. MacKay was the Baptist pastor who married them and the two witnesses were Priscilla pointer and Lottie Butcher. (Yes I have the original marriage certificate.)

It was not until she was about to turn eighty years old that Annie Frampton White discovered her actual birthday and the names of her parents. Amazing huh?

I had a plan**

I had a plan. **

You know, best laid and all that.

Life got in the way and all that.

I want to say something but I do not want it to sound whiny or pouty or feeling sorry for myself and all that.

I think it may be unresolved anger. Or maybe it is very well resolved anger. How do you know if it is unresolved? Maybe by the number of **** used in words like da*n or is it d*mn. Nuts I can’t even curse properly in print.

In six days I have an appointment to see my oncologist. The plan was to tell him that even though I still have two years of drug therapy left I simply must stop taking the pills.

I am certainly much better off than many people I know but I am angry at ‘the attitude’. So you had cancer, radiation and medication and the follow up tests say it is all gone. Mine would be a success story. Except.

The complications and side effects at this moment are just too much.

Most are just annoying, but I have discovered that annoyances that are constant are debilitating and depressing.

I have a number of friends that went through, and are continuing to go through the same diagnosis, treatment and consequences, all within a short time of myself. For some the stage of cancer was worse and some not as bad, but basically we survived the surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and had positive results. So it looks like we survived.

But no one said the cure was worse than the disease. Well I guess it really isn’t but it sure feels that way. Would I have agreed to treatment if I had known what it meant?

October 7, 2013 surgery for breast cancer.

December 2013 to January 2014 radiation. Fair skinned – and I burned like a toasted marshmallow in spite of ointments and creams, and the radiation broke down one of the incision sites. That was fun.

Then a start on Arimidex, a drug to prevent the production of estrogen (since my tumors were estrogen producing) – to be taken for 5 years.

Now my doctor would say, ‘I explained all the possible side effects to you before I ordered the drug.’

Yes, yes you did.

But when you are sitting there in a state of shock over your diagnosis everything else that is said is just back noise. Your mind just can’t grasp it. And really, until you actually experience it you can’t possibly know, or guess, or imagine. It is all just a bunch of words.

I was pretty good until April 2016. Hot flashes that had been gone post-menopausal for ten years came back with a vengeance. But I am woman. Hah! This is no more than a very uncomfortable annoyance. Not to mention embarrassing when speaking with someone in public and the hair at the back of my head drips water down my back.

I had three friends that went through all this a few years back and had NO side effects so I did not expect any either.

I am really angry about my cholesterol which has always been remarkably good. BUT stop estrogen production and that bad cholesterol goes sky high. ‘I will change my diet and exercise rather than take drugs.’

‘Chris it won’t change anything. Right now you have a one in three chance of having a stroke.’ So now I have a lifetime commitment to a Statin.

One friend who went through surgery and treatment four months before me started experiencing a lot of joint pain, and she would ask if I had any. Me? Not I.

But four months makes a difference. By April 2016 when the doc asked if I had any joint pain I said, No. at least no more than usual except my right wrist was painful, but I put that down to excessive Knitting or typing.

By August 2016 hand and joint pain was what I would call excessive with limited use of my hands. Pain in my hands and arms would wake me at night. I would wake up crying.

I got splints and called my oncologist who said to immediately stop the Arimidex and start taking Tamoxifen. But before he ordered it he said he wanted me to fully understand possible side effects and decide if I would continue. All I wanted was for the pain to stop. So I agreed.

Truthfully the pain remains in my hands but is less that before. I can knit and type without crying.

Then the other joints decided to join the party. But at least they are polite and let one flare-up finish before another starts. Most recently my right knee flared which lasted days, and I literally moaned and groaned with every step. Finally last Monday was a Normal Pain Day! Yea! But in the early morning hours on Tuesday I was awakened with fierce left hip pain. Now today, two days later it is just normal pain.

Some days I limp along, and some I can just go about my business, and some I have to go to bed for a couple of hours in the afternoon until the worst of whatever flare up passes. And it does pass. But I am angry. This ‘successful’ treatment is interfering with my quality of life. At my age anytime spent in bed or immobile due to pain is a major interference. I don’t want to spend a single second not ‘living.

I can handle pain. I can’t remember what it was like to have no pain. But these flare ups are above and beyond. I won’t take heavy drugs because that just fogs and messes up your mind. I know, I know, you say, the ‘quitcherbitchin’

It all comes down to quality of life.

Oh and more news. A friend who went through the same thing at about the same time has just been told she has lung cancer related to her radiation therapy. Oh I remember being told at the time, ‘Now radiation kills good cells as well as bad so there is a chance you could develop lung cancer.’

You hear the words, but they are only words.

So here it is a few days from my appointment. I decide to check with the Cancer Society and Support Groups. I want to know how reasonable my request to come off Tamoxifen 2 years early is. (One dear friend has been told she must be on it for TEN years, not five, and she is experiencing everything I am.

Anyway, apparently coming off the pill increases my chances of the cancer returning. The dreaded hot flashes in fact may not go away but may actually get worse. The joint pain in some cases gets worse with withdrawal. Oh and some report abdominal bloating. Sigh…..

D*mned if you do, D*mned if you don’t.

If I knew then what I know now would I…..?

I will say if you now anyone who makes a decision not to receive treatment, please just give support and love. There are consequences to every decision.

Handle with Discretion

“Though the big estates are interspersed now with middle-class homes, the overall impression is of money, carefully cultivated and preserved, vintage elegance harking back to a time when wealth was handled with discretion and material display reserved for one’s financial peers.” Kinsey Millhone’s observation in “C” is for Corpse

Sue Grafton is one of my rereads. You know, those books that become good friends, that bring you comfort and make you feel cozy all over just by picking it up? I highly recommend her alphabet series or anything else she writes, but it is her character Kinsey Millhone that provokes great thought for me. As I reread each book there is always something that stands out that did not the last time.

Yesterday was one of those A Plus days for me. The kind where wonderful things happen, one after another, and you end up driving along thinking, “I think I have everything I could possibly want in this life.”

And in that moment of absolute bliss came a mixture of emotion. I want to shout from the roof tops or stop every person walking along and tell them how perfect my life is, and then it occurred to me that so many people are in pain for one reason or another. There are problems, terrible sad problems.

Would my expression on joy be just that, an expression? Or was I thinking the world should just be happy because in that moment I was happy? Should I feel guilty at what I have and others do not?

I recognized that what I should be, and was, is grateful for my good fortune. I wondered how I could reconcile what joy I had with the poorer states of others. Loved ones, struggling, worried.

And then I thought of the above quote I had read yesterday, “when wealth was handled with discretion”, and it occurred to me that happiness and good fortune should be handled the same way. Not at all, SEE WHAT I HAVE? SEE HOW HAPPY I AM? SEE MY GOOD FORTUNE?

But with discretion, and gratitude.

Kinsey’s adventures are some of the best you will read, but her draw for me is where her head is at. What she thinks. What she observes. I think of her often throughout a day because in her I find a monitor of some sort. Not perfection but honesty that is clean, humorous, and core basic. I am not sure if that makes any sense to you but I do like how it rolls around my gray matter. I think I could write a book about the kind of person she is but Grafton pretty much has done that also with her book, “Kinsey and Me.”

What I realize is that our society is all about showing off what we have, what we do, where we go and who we know. The thought about discretion and being circumspect (another word that comes to mind in this), is appealing, and comforting, and proper somehow, though the idea of ‘proper’ seems to be shamed and scorned these days.

**In case you are wondering, no I did not win the lottery (yet), and nothing earth shaking happened, except a couple of very small things made me realize I am Blessed and Grateful. And I wish the same for all of you.

*** Yeah yeah I know, bad miserable days when nothing goes right will come again, but for now there is happiness!!

C is for Corpse

Ah That’s Better

The beauty of giving thanks my friend!

I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

I think WordPress is playing tricks again.  I posted this earlier today and several people commented on it but it has disappeared into the ether.  All that’s left is the beginning of the post on Facebook.  Don’t you hate it when that happens? And I just can’t remember all I had written.

Anyway I’ll try again.

After writing my earlier post I looked back and thought about my day:

  • I woke up to a warm,sun filled house
  • I woke up knowing that my friends and family are all on my side
  • I had a walk in the bush with my lovely Physiotherapist
  • We ended up at a local coffee shop where we encountered a friend
  • I have so much for which to be grateful not the least for being alive as i know where my accident could have left me.
  • And I know The Architect would not want me to be…

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WHAT IF THE SOURCE OF ….

WHAT IF THE SOURCE OF WESTERN problems all stemmed from one evil? Societal restlessness, increased suicides and attempts, especially among the young, increased violent crimes, an increasingly hopelessness infused into each moment.

I wonder if we have let ourselves be duped, not unlike those of times long past who fell victim to purveyors of handy dandy things to make your life better, happier, bring you joy, ease.

You see I wonder if all our problems exist because of a collision of expectation and reality. Just like the anorexic young girl who cannot resolve her body image with that of skinny air brushed models we have been sold a load of nonsense about happiness.

That’s right. What if our expectation of happiness is not real, but an idea invented by small time scammers who made delusion a big time business.

Just like the simple country folk in the frontier days, shelling out hard earned dollars or cents (cents were so much more valuable then) to a shyster convincing them that the purchase of a bottle of mysterious happy juice would make your life, heart, or soul better, we began, decades ago buying up and into nonsense that life was all about being happy.

By the way the purveyors of this nonsense, who kept saying, look at me, how happy I am, You can be happy just like me, were indeed happy as society shelled out billions of dollars in books, on courses, in classes, advertising. At least they appeared that way externally, though I suspect their inner souls were just as bleak as any.

In the sixties the cry was, I am trying to find myself. Who am I?

Then along came the big roll out. Meditation, examination, imagination, any ATION, and all you had to do were pay. Happiness became a product. Buy this, be happy. Happiness in a bottle, a pill, a house, a car, a dress,……Or the most dangerous, Buy This Book, Idea Psychobabble told us imagine, visualize, believe, and it will manifest. The use of the word Manifest in itself should be a crime. And for those who tried to MANIFEST and did not succeed? Well they just did not do it right. We were, and continue to this day, we are being sold a Bill of Goods. It only fills the pockets of the sellers who are scamming you me and future generations. Sure they are happy, laughing at our gullibility all the way to the bank.

Then we came to believe that we had to convince our children they are happy or rather they should be happy. That life is all about being happy. They are not allowed to fail, to feel the pain of loss and know that it is okay, a part of life that makes us stronger. And they buy our Bill of Goods and become confused, depressed, and fearful when they cannot quite grasp this feeling they should have. What is wrong with me, they say. I must be deficient.

The pursuit of the illusive HAPPINESS has gone off to a realm of ridiculousness and people, especially our young are falling apart.

What if it all could be fixed?

What if we made a society (and we can by the way) where key words became, DIGNITY, HARD WORK, DETERMINATION, PERSERVERENCE, KINDNESS, NON-JUDGEMENT, VALUE PERSISTENCE.

What if we retaught ourselves that it is okay to fail, that there is a dignity in failing and falling? That failing does not mean unworthy? What if there was honor in the struggle?

What if we let our children know that it is okay not to feel happy in any given moment?

What if the new word became Satisfaction? Not in the result but in the attempt to live a good hard working honorable life. (with heavy emphasis on the hard working) and at the end of each day to feel a satisfaction?

Life is messy, and hard, and at time so sad and lonely, and painful but there is a worth to life, a Satisfaction that must be earned.

Let’s take a huge load of our children’s minds. It’s okay to be sad, mad, even glad. Let them know LIFE IS HARD, but can be rewarding instead of setting up an illusion called Happiness. And rewards must be earned.

What if Happiness exists as a by-product of this thing called LIFE?

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

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