My mother, Rosa Faria da Silva Torres, was born on July 7, 1923, in Moreira de Geraz do Lima, Viana do Castelo, Northern Portugal, in a community so small they called it “the place of the street”. Her family were landowners with properties that required many workers. She was an only child, but her mother was the oldest of thirteen children, so Rosa grew up surrounded by many relatives.
Rosa was a happy child with short, black, curly hair, running through her father’s fields, while the ladies worked on what would soon become their delicious “green wine”. She loved to dance during the harvest celebrations and sing during the long winter nights, when the family sat around the kitchen fire, embroidering the linen and chatting. Read the rest of this entry »
Dorothy 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 »
My favourite photo of my mother, Elisabeth, was taken in 1954, in Ceylon, just before she was to be presented to Elizabeth, the newly crowned Queen of England. My mother looks so happy and, as I have always remembered, beautiful. It was the most special event of her life.
Born to Herbert and Ethel Jarvis in 1916 in South Croydon near London, Elisabeth was the eldest child, followed by her sister Mervyn and brother Geoffrey. Her father was a public servant for the local council, and her mother had trained as a violinist and, before she was married, even joined the London Symphony Orchestra. However, when Ethel’s mother died in childbirth, Ethel had to leave her career to look after her seven siblings. Read the rest of this entry »
Her name was Karolina, but her close friends, those who knew her in “the old country” called her Lola. She was the second youngest of five children born to Anton and Mary (Baker) Schnurer on November 26th, 1903, in a small Polish town called Rownia. Part of the house that Lola grew up in was leased to the local police. Her father, a carpenter, died of pneumonia when Lola was only three years old. Her mother was a nurse and midwife. Sadly, when Lola was about fourteen, her beloved mother died of typhoid fever, which she contracted while nursing the sick during an epidemic. I have a picture of Lola with her mother and sisters, but she didn’t speak of them, so I don’t know what my mother did at this time. A family friend told me my mother delivered him, so maybe she took on her mother’s job as midwife. Read the rest of this entry »
My mother was named Mary. She was born in 1919 in Mossimin, Saskatchewan, to a young couple Willem and Alexandra Benwick. Willem was barely 20 and had emigrated from the Ukraine in 1915 and immediately entered the employ of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). By 1917 he was able to help his even younger wife immigrate. At that time the CPR had stationed him in Mossimin. And that is where Willem and Alexandra established the first of many homes over their 60 year marriage. Mossimin is also where they began a family. By the end of their lives in 1998 the Benwick family numbered eleven children. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
My mother was born Nov. 28, 1933 in Camp Lister, BC on the farm which was built by her parents, Margery and Fred Powers who had emigrated from England. She was the middle child, having a brother, thirteen years older and a sister, four years younger. They were among the original settlers in the Creston Valley and it was a very hard life. The farmhouse was a small, very basic building with a kitchen, living room and 2 bedrooms with no electricity until later years. My mother shared one of the bedrooms with her younger sister, Betty, sleeping in a double bed. The house was heated by a coal stove which also doubled as an oven. The bathroom was a wooden outhouse, and potties were used at night. Washing and bathing was done in large galvanized tubs. Read the rest of this entry »
The year was 1898 in the town of Great Falls Montana U.S.A. A baby girl was born to Hugh and Julia Jackson. This wee baby weighing 3lbs 10 oz was baptized Elsie Harlow, a sister to Pearl. After bringing Elsie home from hospital her devoted parents kept her warm and cozy in their little kitchen beside the coal and wood stove. She began to gain a little weight and would one day reach the height of 5 feet and weigh 98 pounds. Elsie and Pearls parents were Salvation Army officers. When Elsie and Pearl were three and five years old they were ready to join their parents on the carriers of their bicycles to ride from village to village to feed the hungry and save a few souls; “Remember the little drum and the tambourine called Dad” .We had fun riding on the bikes and playing the drums and the tambourine at each stop we made”. After three years of biking from town to town the family moved to Vancouver B.C. Read the rest of this entry »
There is a photo of mother Elisabeth, my favourite photo, taken in 1954, she looks so happy and as I have always remembered, beautiful. It was the most special event of her life; she was to be presented to the newly crowned Queen of England in Ceylon. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s fortunate for our family that when the Rev. Alick Trendell of London, England, applied to work as an Anglican missionary, he was given a bulky beaverskin coat and sent to Alberta, Canada. For there he met Etta Wood – artist, schoolteacher, and one of this country’s first female hockey players. Three days after they were introduced, Alick proposed; four years after that, in 1936, my mother was born in Wetaskiwin. Read the rest of this entry »