Canada

31 May Gayle Swain’s story of Minnie

Minnie and Soloman Minnie Zelda Izen, was born in Vancouver on June 8, 1916.  She was the first of three children from my grandmother, Mary, who had been orphaned as the result of the pogroms in Lithuania.  Mary was sponsored by an aunt to come to Vancouver at the age of 15.  She was subsequently married off to the first man who came knocking, William Izen, who had been born in Poland.  Mary didn’t love him.  Her heart was set for a cousin in Seattle but that was not approved.
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09 May Deb Svanefelt’s story of Rosemary

Her obituary began: “In Loving Memory of Rosemary Elizabeth Faye Cozens. July 1, 1935 - July 4, 2019. Feminist psychotherapist; passionate advocate for human and animal rights; Nature lover and avid reader; good food and tai chi enthusiast. Rosemary adored all her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was a spunky (and sometimes opinionated), ardent trail-blazer looking deeply into life, ceaselessly exploring the human shadow-lands as well as the bright and beautiful - she just loved the adventure of traveling, both on the planet and inside the human experience. She passed away peacefully in her home.” So, who was this amazing woman, who embodied all these aspects, yet who's life also contained so much more of human experience? Born in Toronto Ontario, Canada, on the day that Canada celebrates it's birthday too, Rosemary was the first born daughter, with a younger sister born 5 years later. It was in the middle of the Great Depression.
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06 May Shirleyan English’s story of Amy

First the statistics: She was born Amy Elizabeth Bowerman, June 4, 1906. Married Elliott David Grieve, August 8, 1934. Had three children: Shirleyan, 1936; Sharon, 1939; and Sandra (Sandy), 1946. Her name was Amy Elizabeth but her siblings called her Liz. No one else did. At less than five feet, she was short on height but long on resilience, initiative and personality, qualities that brought her through various periods of adversity throughout her long life. She was also a risk-taker and often a gambler. These qualities helped too. When confronted with a problem, she used to say, “Well, how am I going to handle this?” She usually found an answer.
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08 Apr Cory Bretz’s story of Lee

My mother is Henrietta Leigh Butts. She was born October 15, 1941 in Fort William, Thunder Bay, Ontario. She died at the age of 48 on May 25, 1989. She was known by her mother as “Henri” but she referred to herself as “Lee”, re-spelling...

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04 Aug Linda Higgins story of Anne

My mom was more than a mother, she was my best friend. Her funeral was at the United Church in Whitehorse, Yukon. My dad and I were in the front row along with aunts, uncles, and my granny. Several friends and colleagues filled the church and accompanied us to a graveside ceremony, followed by a reception at our home. I was thirteen years old. Anne Kulchysky was born on December 22, 1938 on a farm near Gronlid, Saskatchewan. Her parents, Fedora Moskal and Mykola Kulchysky were both immigrants from Ukraine, who traveled to Canada in 1911 and 1913 respectively. They married in 1920 and proudly farmed their quarter section of land.
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10 May 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.
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20 Feb Sharon Quirke’s story of Flo

    Florence Jeanette Dolce and Forte

Florence Jeanette Thompson was affectionately named “Shorts” or “Shorty” by her tall, charming father, Monty. She was, however, anything but short on spunk, impeccable taste or witchery intuition. Her life was a musical score that captured every mood and timbre. Pretty and blue-eyed, she loved to sing, dance, play the piano, and listen to the birds. She was quick to say, “No” and quick to say, “Yes”. She used baby talk and straight talk. You could talk to her; she didn’t mince words; she’d always surprise you. She lived in tiny backwoods cottages and grand mansions. She lost everything she owned and decorated homes with a credit card carte blanche. She lavished gifts on her loved ones. She had a doggie named Midge and one named Sir Salishan. She loved oatmeal, warm ovens, Coca Cola.
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20 Oct Michelle Hohn’s story of Florence

I sat on the edge of the turquoise bathtub; my tiny bum comfortably seated on the matching chenille mat and pink-slippered feet dangling above the linoleum tile. My mother’s focus alternated between her task at hand and her smiling eyes finding mine in the mirror as I watched her. “You...

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19 Apr Sandra Crawford’s story of Mary

40 - Mary teen SandraMy Mother’s story is more than overcoming the challenge of cancer and living with a disability. It is an example of the astonishing triumph of the human spirit over adversity. My Mom, Mary Quon, never had what people would call an easy life. Her parents moved to Canada from China during World War II. My grandmother was pregnant, and Mary became their passport baby when she was born here in 1942. My grandparents had met in China, became business partners, and eventually husband and wife. They owned and operated a hotel in Vancouver on East Hastings (a.k.a skid row), frequented by prostitutes and drug addicts.
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19 Apr Chief Janice George’s story of Molly

39 - Molly Ross anniversary JaniceMolly Jacobs was born in 1940 in St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver. She was the fourth of nine children born to Lena and Alfred Jacobs. Through his family, Alfred was a Hereditary Chief of the Squamish Nation. Alfred was a longshoreman, and they mainly lived on Capilano Reserve in North Vancouver. Her mother had been taken out of residential school after a nun hit her, and so as a child she was home to listen to the cultural teachings of the elders. She was given four ancestral names, signifying her as the keeper of many Squamish stories and traditions.
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