Myriam Laberge’s story of Simone

simone-26-ansSimone Grenier was born on December 13th, 1930 in St. Prime Quebec on a dairy farm, the fourth youngest in a Catholic family of 11. She had her father Antoine’s brown hair and eyes, a light sprinkling of freckles and just the slightest gap in her front teeth which would later be replaced by dentures. Her graceful features came from her petite mother Mathilda.

During the week, Simone and her siblings walked to the local schoolhouse. In winter, they wore moccasins made by her father and thick woolen socks knitted by her mother. The entire family attended church every Sunday travelling by horse and wagon.

Mathilda and Antoine encouraged their children to be proud and cultured. They were to speak well, dress well, and to contribute to the community. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1930's, Canada

Irene Young’s story of Clara

29 - Clara family IreneMy earliest memories of my mother Clara are of a petite woman who never stopped moving, from the moment she woke until well past supper. She was always working, whether it was cleaning the house she shared with her husband Theodor and four children, or shopping for groceries, sewing clothes, cooking meals or baking cookies or pies for desert after dinner. Whenever I complained as a child that I was bored, she would offer me a broom with which to sweep up the dust or some other chore that needed to be done around the house.

Clara was born in 1924 in the village of Garlita, Constanta, Romania, the second child of Emma and Gheza. Emma was the eldest daughter of Magdalena and August Frank, owners of the village flour mill. The Frank family had a comfortable lifestyle and would have been considered middle class in their tiny community close to the Black Sea. Gheza was a handsome, swarthy professional electrician who met Emma when he moved into the community to work at August Frank’s flour mill. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1920's, Europe

Jean Repath’s story of Gwendolyn

24 - Gwendolyn forest Jean Redpath crop

“Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, hold the horse ’til I get on…”
(Mom’s chant one day, at age 56, during a particularly intense episode)

 1919: Gwendolyn was born in Brandon, Manitoba, youngest of eight children.

  • Her mother was 45, didn’t want another baby, and so didn’t speak to her husband for two years.
  • Mom’s father traveled a lot selling farm machinery. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1910's, Canada

Pat Ceraldi’s story of Dorothy

22 - Dorothy Pat CeraldiDorothy Marrian MacDougall was born on April 30, 1918, while the Great War raged in Europe. Her father, Donald John MacDougall, and his American-born wife, Agnus O’Sullivan, already had four young children – Loretta, Jean, Tom and Cecil – when little Dorothy arrived. Her father, a Canadian hotel manager, and his family lived behind the café on the main floor of the only hotel in Radisson, Saskatchewan.

Her father, often transferred, moved his family from hotel to hotel. Among their playgrounds were the old Jasper Park Lodge and the MacDonald Hotel in Edmonton. Dorothy dreamed of being a nurse, but had to leave high school in grade nine to stay home when more children joined the family. The birth of three babies in her mid-40s put Agnus in bed for months. Dorothy became the substitute mother of Don, Lloy and Pat. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1910's, Canada

Jane Torresan’s story of Jo

16 - Baby Jo JaneJosephine Mary Ellerbeck (nee King), affectionately called Jo, was born in England on January 16, 1915.

She was an only child and as an infant emigrated with her parents to Winnipeg. I never knew why. They had a very troubled family life. Lots of arguments, fueled by alcohol, led to a chaotic environment. Mom remembers being locked out of the house in her nightie in the middle of winter. Eventually her parents separated, and, when Jo was five, she and her mother Joyce traveled to Vancouver. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1910's, Britain

Jodi’s story of Gail

Gail Harbour 2 My mother died on a Tuesday in September of a massive pulmonary embolism. She collapsed to her knees and took her last breath at the age of fifty-three. She had been born with a particular set of challenges and had augmented those challenges with poor choices. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1960's, USA

Margo Prentice’s story of Bertha

The town of Elie, Manitoba was populated by French speaking people. A convent attached to a church was the focal point of all activity in Elie.  In 1917 the gossips speculated about the arrival of its newest citizen. This was the day Rose and Omar Brabant became the new parents of a baby girl. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1910's, Canada

Lori Bell’s story of Judy

Judy is petite and fair, with a dimpled smile, straight hair, and hazel eyes.  In 1943 in Regina, Saskatchewan, she was born Judith Diane Robertson to Kenneth Robertson and Ruby Merle McInnis.

Ruby was the last born of six girls; Jennie and Alice died from the Spanish influenza in 1918, sparing Edith, Margaret (Marg), Mary (Bun), and Ruby.  Judy’s Gram, born Louise Regina Undrider, had come from Odessa, Russia to marry Edward Bruce McInnis of Prince Edward Island in 1903. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1940's, Canada

Margaret Florczak’s story of Pat

Patricia Simons was a prairie Girl.  From 1922 when she was born in her Aunt Mary’s house in Wawota Saskatchewan, until 2008 when she passed on in the Alpine town of Revelstoke, B.C.,  Mom held that vast prairie sky dear to her heart.  She loved the soul-searching, body drenching heat of the summers and the chest-numbing, breath-freezing cold in the winter.  She loved big open blue skies.  She felt hemmed in by the mountains and the sea.  Hemmed in by Dad and his mother and possibly even all five of us kids.  She loved the rough and tumble wide-open for anything sense of the prairie. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1920's, Canada

Marcella’s story of Terry

My influence.  My inspiration.  My Mother.

My mother was born on November 20 1955 in Whitehorse, Yukon Territories.  Her parents met in Summerside, PEI, in the late 1940’s as members of the Royal Canadian Air Force.  He was a pilot and she was a radar technician.  The Commanding Officer disapproved, and transferred her father across the country to Whitehorse to prevent the marriage.  Her mother demanded a transfer to follow him, and when denied, she quit the RCAF.  Eventually she was given an honourable discharge, and moved to Whitehorse. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1950's, Canada

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