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.
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.
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.
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.
Virginia Louise Wilson was born August 24, 1929 in Saint John, New Brunswick. She was called Ginny for a couple of years until her older sister decided she would hereafter be known as Jeano. It might not be spelt the right way, but having a mother with a name like that goes along way to explain why I have always wanted to be Italian.
Bess Ready was a wonderful mother. God knows, without her and the way she dealt with others in this life, who knows how we would have turned out. That’s particularly referring to the seven of us—the six kids she raised, and dad. Ultimately we all became what we became because of her, at least the good parts of us.
My mother, Margaret Maureen McIntosh, began her life in a small town in Lancashire, England on 29 July, 1930. She was born to Mary (May) Elizabeth and Thomas Hope. In 1933, a year after her brother Arthur John (AJ) was born, May took the children and left Tom. This began a life of constant moving. Maureen never did find out what it was that Tom did to warrant May leaving, but it must have been an intolerable situation. Society dictated separation and divorce to be a disgrace, so May told her children and anyone else who asked that Tom was dead. Maureen knew he was not, yet she followed her mother’s wishes and never spoke of her father.
Elizabeth Howison – “Betty”, was born in Deadwater, England on October 17, 1927. Born a twin, she had a brother, Donald George, who died at the age of six weeks. On his death certificate it claimed “failure to thrive”. I think my mother always felt guilty for being the strong one.