Saturday, 20 September 2014
Rambling thoughts . . .
My dad has always had a lazy boy chair for as long as I remember. When we were children we were never ever allowed to sit on it. This photograph was a rare exception. The gears were quite dangerous I think and my mother was always afraid that we would get pinched or caught in them, or that we would break the chair. This photo is from left to right, myself (about 6) my sister (about 3) and my brother (about 1). We look like pretty happy children, and I think that we were pretty happy children. We had good parents who loved us and took good care of us. So many children don't have those things. They taught us to be good and decent people and I am so very grateful for all that they did and do for us. We are so blessed to still have them with us.
The first four years of my life were spent in Germany for the most part. My father was in the airforce and he was posted to the Canadian Base 4 Wing, Baden Baden. I don't have a lot of memories of Baden Baden . . . little glimpses at best and I don't know if they are really memories or memories of photographs I might have seen. It's hard to tell.
We did not have a television. All the programing was in German and my parents didn't see the need. I never saw a television until we left Germany to come back to Canada. We stayed at my maternal grandparents in Nova Scotia until my father had procured housing for us in Manitoba where he had been posted. My brother was born during our stay there. I have lots of happy memories of our months spent in that small house in that small town in that small province. It really was a small house and it was filled to capacity, with my mother, sister and I . . . my Aunt Freda, her husband Harold and their little boy, my grandmother and grandfather, my cousin Ronnie, and my great grandmother.
I adored my Grandmother and Aunt Freda (back row, my nan is the woman with the dark hair looking down and my Aunt Freda is the girl beside her.) I can still remember how my Nan smelled and feel the comfort of her ample and soft lap. My mother has a letter she wrote to her in which she talks about missing me and how I was the only one of all the grandchildren who outwardly loved her back. I love reading those words . . . because I did love my grandmother very much. She was very kind. I know this because of the way that she was with me, and from her words in the letters, and from the way she cared for her own mother and for Ronnie, who was a child who came to live with them from the children's aid. That is him burying his head into her front in this photograph and she is looking down at him. When my grandmother passed away my Aunt Freda finished bringing him up. We were always the only family he ever had, and we never saw him as anything else but family.
My grandmother died when I was 6 years old, about a year or so after we had been living with them. She had cancer and must have been quite ill oftimes when we were still there. My Great Grandmother Best is in this photograph as well. She is the old lady sitting in the front. She died while we were there at my grandparents house. I can remember being shooed out of the room as she lay dying. My mother wasn't allowed in either because she was pregnant with my brother at the time, and they thought that seeing my Great Grandmother dying would affect the baby somehow. They did have funny ideas in those days.
This is a photograph which was taken before we left Canada to live in Germany. That is my Aunt Freda holding me, my mother and my Great Grandmother Best. The only people still living from that photograph are my mother and myself. We lost my Aunt Freda about 8 years ago now. She was my favourite Aunt. We had always been very close. She was one of those people that you could talk to about anything. My mother says that when I was small she used to play Leave it to Beaver with me. Leave it to Beaver was a television show that was quite popular at the time. (We have the whole series on DVD and it's timeless in the viewing pleasure it gives. ) She had endless patience and time for me . . . always.
The fact that my Aunt, who was a mother herself at the time, took the time to play with me shows me how very much my Aunt loved me. I can remember seeing a fashion doll in the bedroom she shared with my Uncle Harold during those months we lived there waiting for my dad. It was a large doll, probably about 24 inches tall . . . with a black short curly do and was wearing a blue silk dress with a crinoline beneath the skirt and a sheer shawl on the shoulders . . . and she had high heels. I can remember looking through the keyhole into the room and eyeballing it . . . frequently. My Uncle Harold had given it to her as a gift. When we finally left that home, to go live in Manitoba, she gifted it to me, much to my Uncle Harold's disapproval. I still miss my Aunt Freda, but I can always feel her close to me. I get a lot of comfort in knowing that someday I will see her again, as I will all of my loved ones. I really believe that to be true.
I have been blessed in my life to be surrounded by good and honest people. These were humble people. People who never really travelled very far from their homes or circumstances, but who were able to teach me much more than other people I have known. People who gave to me of their hearts, that most precious gift of all . . . the gifts of their time and of their love . . . patience and understanding.
When I was a little girl I thought that life when I grew up would be like the life I saw portrayed in the Flintstones. That I would have a husband who wasn't very bright, but who worked hard for his family . . . and a nice little home with a next door neighbor that I could be best friends with and that we would have adventures together and bring our husbands and children up together, sharing all the laughter and the tears and everything in between that life throws at you. It never really dawned on me that life could be anything else, even though my parents weren't living that Donna Reed/June and Ward Cleaver existance . . . it never connected. I just thought that life would be a happily ever after, all problems solved in a half hour, television sitcom type of existance.
Life isn't that though. Life is difficult at the best of times. But life is mostly very good and can be filled with much joy despite the hard times. We cannot solve all of our problems in a half or one hour time slot. Bad stuff happens to good people. We laugh and we cry . . . and we grow old . . . and it seems to me that the older I get, the more I think about the good old days and remember all of the things which helped to shape who I am. Trials help us to develop strengths and to become better people. You cannot taste the sweet for what it is, if you have never tasted the sour as well.
Life is not about pots of gold at ends of rainbows . . . but about the journey you took to get to the end of the rainbow. It's about reaching out to each other in love and compassion and understanding. It's knowing who we are and why we are here . . . and about becoming . . . better people. It's about making a positive difference for the better in the lives of others we touch.
I don't really think that we can sincerely begin to truly live our lives with the passion we are meant to live them with . . . until we learn to give them away.
Just my thoughts this morning. I am grateful for all those who have touched and who still touch my life in meaningful and enduring ways.
Sorry for rambling a bit here this morning . . . some mornings are just like that!
A thought to carry with you through this day . . .
"The most beautiful people we have known
are those who have known defeat, known suffering,
known struggle, known loss,
and have found their way out of the depths."
~Elizabeth Kubler Ross
Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Apple and Bramble Hat. Delicious! A very autumnal pudding.
Have a fabulous Saturday!
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