Thursday, April 30, 2015

MY VIEW #66 - Kitchens

Think of the cave man of early history, he built a fire to keep warm, also to warm water to drink, and to cook meat of animals he killed. That was his kitchen. As time went by, improvements followed, like enclosures to break the winds. Walls, roofs and windows followed and kitchens began to take on a very important role. It was the main area for any group of people before and forever, to get together to discuss life and all its problems. We read in history the style, the utensils, the quality of food and the comfort, accepted as normal in years gone by.. The people in many countries thought they had reached the epitome in kitchens. Some had...done very well in quality and comfort, but time moves on and things change. New inventions, work habits, and families, increased the need for more space, so rooms were added, beds brought in, tables and chairs, and more people, always needing more food, cooks and warmth. So rooms were built on every side of the kitchen, the warmth from it warmed every room, folks gathering in the kitchen for a comfort only a kitchen can supply. Sex, birth, finances, jobs, love, and private secrets are shared by two women, or two men, while they wash and dry the dishes in the kitchen. Automatic dishwashers have ruined this special time in the modern home, but the kitchen is still the hub of every home. We still all have to eat.

I hope you enjoyed this, and look at your kitchen with a smile.
Ann in Letty's kitchen, 2006

By Letty; hope I didn't bore you.

June 14, 2007

My mother always proclaimed that she loved washing dishes. This was hard for me to fathom, but I had to accept it. I recall happy times after Christmas dinners and birthday dinners, in Mom's tiny kitchen, with the other women and girls, washing, drying and putting away all the dishes. Now it is considered not good form to do dishes while your company is still here, although many volunteer to help as a matter of politeness.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

MY VIEW #65 - Why We Cry

We cry for many reasons. I think mostly we cry because we have lost something.

Losing Ron was a terrible day for me, also when Mother went, so suddenly, and all my old family, more loss, so you cry to ease a tight throat and a lonely heart. So you cry, yes.

You also cry for joy, when you find a lost child, and help heal a broken heart, a slice of bread when you are hungry. I thank God for the tears I've shed, it is a comfort to know and realize you are a normal person and can shed tears, with a friend, for a friend, or a relative. It is not a weakness but a gratitude of life.

I hope this admission helps some who read it. This, I think, is why we cry.

Letty Evans
June 2007

The first time I recall seeing my mother cry was during a winter when I was about ten years old. My father was enamored of a different religion, and wanted us all to change, but Mom most definitely did not. My brother and I listened to plenty of late-night arguments that invariably ended in tears, hers and ours, and eventually Dad gave up his goal. That decision saved their marriage.

Another reason for tears is anger, although sociologists tell us that men very seldom cry in anger, although women often do. Still, I agree that once we are past crying from physical pain, our tears are mostly about loss.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

MY VIEW #63 - Breaking In- Oh Yes!

This is a short story about me. I bet you never knew that Grandma E. was involved in two break-and-enters (B & Es). yes it is true, but it was my own home, and I'll tell you why I had to break two windows to get in. It really is a wicked thrill, to throw a brick and a rock through windows in two different houses, one in Huddersfield and one in Calgary. Oh my, I did feel guilty, but I had to do it.

Construction Photography photo
In our house in England, the back door was the one we used most, and at the side of the door was a small window we could open and close. It was called a "butterfly window" which pivoted on a bar across the middle of the glass (2 ft by 1 ft wide,) so you could push the bottom pane out and the top pane would come in, a neat idea. However, it was locked on the inside, and that was a problem when I had locked myself out of the house. I went next door to my neighbour, Mrs. Wilcox, and asked her to help. After a bit of laughter she found a brick, and as she watched, I put the end of the brick, bang, right through the window.

Dead silence, then Ella said, "I really enjoyed that!"

Then we laughed like lunatics, and she said, "We need some tea, when you've fetted (sic,) come round and we'll have a cuppa."

What will Ron say? Oh he will laugh too, and he will fix it. Such a carry-on we had that day. Ella, Jack and son David (Wilcox) were very good neighbours. They all laughed at me.

The second break-in (this sounds like a thriller) was a busy school day and I had been to town, come home by 11 a.m. to be there for lunch for my kids, and found no key, oh dear! I picked up a big rock (we had lots) and just broke the window, what a noise. Glass all over (a 20" x 20" pane,) made a lot of mess and noise, but I got in and lunch was on time.

Linda said, "Why did you do it?"
"Forgot my key."
Bob said, "did anybody see you do it?"

After lunch and the children back to school, I ran across the road to the "Sash and Door" place and told Jack Martin (manager) what I had done, so he came over, viewed the situation and sent one of his workers over. Two hours later I had new glass in the door. Then I cleaned all the mess up, that took another hour.

Next day I told Ron about it, and he said, "You all seemed very quiet at supper last night."

Bob and Linda got the giggles and the whole tale came out.

"Too bad I wasn't here to see you do it, maybe next time."

June 2, 2007

I remember vaguely the incident in Canada, but not the giggling. Mom was pretty resourceful, wasn't she? 

Friday, April 24, 2015

MY VIEW #62 - Spring

"Spring"- the very word means "jump for joy." Every living thing gets a boost to go ahead and live life to the full. It is something we can't explain, something we have to live through, experience, and it happens every year. I recommend you enjoy it.

Letty with Bob and Linda at the Calgary Zoo, about 1956
Looking out the kitchen window, new baby birds sitting on my fence, lovely tawny feathered friends, peeping their content, watching others, eating bugs or seeds off three trees, learning all the rules of survival. They are so little, but important to our lives.

In spring humans need to get the oilcan out, for tight joints that have been let lie over harsh winter's time. stretch your limbs, shed some pounds, try (in secret) to fit into your swimming suit, and laugh when you can't oh dear, what a I going to do?

The world of bears awakens in spring, with huger pangs, new babies, the sounds of running water, signifying fish and berries, and time to shake off the time of slumber and find food. Spring is here.

Trees, casting pollen to the winds, all the little "beasties" doing their thing to make spring "Spring." We all have our favourite season, mine is spring, with all the flavour, colour, benefits and distractions.
Mom with her azaleas and rhododendrons, June 2006
I saw a squirrel today.

May 25, 2007

Living in a cold climate, one longs for an end to ice and snow, and the return of life and warmth and green living things. As a child, I was always thrilled to see the first signs of spring: some prairie crocuses unfolding in a nearby field or a few brave caterpillars munching on the dewy young blades of grass. Oddly, looking through all my photos of Mom, few of them were taken in spring.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

MY VIEW #60 - Eyebrows

Recently I've been studying "eyebrows," an interesting subject. They are part of our make-up and everybody has the. Lots of women do not like what was issued to them, so they try to change them, by plucking them, shaving them, and painting or drawing new ones, higher up. I don't know why, they have a purpose, to protect the eyes.

Here  is my question. Why does it happen that as a person ages (for most people over 50), half the eyebrow goes white and the other half doesn't? The side of the eyebrow closer to the ear goes white, while the side closer to the nose doesn't. My own eyebrows are like this, and I've noticed, over a long time, most people's are the same. What causes this? Is it blood supply, or what? Think about it, and look around at older folks.

Another silly thought I had!

Love and kisses
May 22, 2007
(Rachel's birthday)

I'm not sure if Mom's observation about the eyebrows of aging people is correct or not, but Wikipedia has an informative entry on them.  And here are some photos of eyebrows at different ages. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

MY VIEW #59 - What Future?

Four generations. L to R, Daughter Ann Griffin, Granddaughter Melinda Deines, Great Grandson Riel, and Letty
Any person over eighty years old will soon ask this question and not like the probable events life holds for all of us. I think I'm a realist and see things for what they are.

I have lived a long time, many, many, years, and realize that man never learns from his mistakes, after a pause he is in trouble again. Anyone reading this will likely think I am afraid, but they would be wrong. Facing facts, bad facts or bad times, as well as good facts, is a duty in the reality of life. There are always people who need assistance and help, worse than I. So to help others is a way of life for me. If I've had a little, I shared a little, if I had a lot I shared a lot, and have been happy to do so. Life can be very cruel at times, and I am sorry to see it, but that is how life can be. I hope my God will give me courage to face my end, whenever it comes. There are some things I want to say here, whatever future there is, you can only change it a bit at a time, through love, help, prayers, patience, and "wisdom of human nature." We do what we can to help.

There is a new big problem in our world today. Some countries seem able to do well and do, and mind their own business, they don't try to tell others how to live and run their countries. Doing that is the time honoured mark of a "bully." It makes me mad to see or hear of their ilk. Greed is also the mark of a bully. You may ask, "What has this to do with the first part of the story?" Well, we will see. There have always been bullies, but since the invention of TV and now later inventions like computers, cell phones, photo phones etc., the bully ilk have gone full steam ahead. (Mom knew nothing about cyber-bullying, so her comments are rather prescient.) Some very rich people now are in complete and furious control of our lives. Years ago we had a radio, had a time for news stories and nice music and discussions, life was hard but quiet compared to now. It is interesting, but very draining now, to watch TV and computers. you are yelled at sworn at, and insulted by such crude talk, they sell sex all day and night, like it's an ice cream cone. Everyone's imagination is killed, in an instant, and you have to look at the "weather reports" to get a bit of mental peace.

What kind of a world is on the front burner for our new generation of children? I ask you? These children have lost all of that precious time, play time, their childhood. Now they will be baby adults on a cell phone. That really scares me, young teens going around like life has left them, and all hope is lost. What an outlook for future generations, Our life was supposed to be good. God gave it to us, why is it so hard for people to see this and not to show respect as we should?

Of course, now maybe, it could be a better and very different world in all ways, and from an infant on be all that they would even know. May cars would even not exist, only science. I'd be long gone by then.

Have a happy life everybody!

Mom/ Letty
May 3, 2007

Mom's last sentence in this post is very ironic, considering the rant she is on about how bad things are now. Of course, older generation(s) always think the younger generations are turning out badly for whatever reasons. And despite Mom's claim that she was not afraid, she was. She told me several times that she was afraid of computers, afraid of people in high office. Still, she makes some very good points about what passes for entertainment today, and overuse of cell phones!

MY VIEW #58 - Two Poems

Every Day Has Its Charm or Story

The sun came up at 7 a.m. today,
What a great joy, enjoy it all.
When evening comes, reach for the stars
So far away, ask a prayer for you.
In sunlight, look at the tulips, flowers
Entwined with beautiful, creeping periwinkle,
Amid the peonies, azaleas, rhodo and lilies,
Holly, lavender, blending with all the
Flowers, on two pink flowering cherry trees,
In my garden. This is my happy place.

Letty Evans
April 29, 2007

Letty loved gardening. When I was small, she grew mostly vegetables, but at the time she is writing, it is nearly the end of her gardening years which by now are all flowers and mostly perennials. She enjoyed the beauty of nature so much.

Look at This Snail

A snail crawled out, with
A house on his back.
The snail crawled out, with
His house on his back,
And he wandered across my garden,
Looking for food and a drink.
I found him trying to climb the garage door,
Black head and legs and body one inch long.
Never had I seen what
Was hidden in his house, before,
In all my 93 1/2 years, it is still time
To explore. Always a surprise.

Letty Evans
April, 2007

Monday, April 20, 2015

MY VIEW #57 - My Window

When I was young, I was busy and fast,
I did everything on the run.
Now that old age has caught up with me,
Life has lost most of its fun.
I just sit at the window, watch life go by.
My window, my "door-way to fun."

It isn't all gloom, disaster and loss,
It is a door-way to a great treasure.
I see the younger, taking up the reins we have lost,
And doing it measure by measure.
I watch them go by, on foot or by car,
They lighten my day, I'm so glad
To have my window, it isn't so bad,
 My window, my "door-way to fun."

So now I'm content, I have this vent,
My life has had a great run.
Life's little troubles don't seem so bad, and
I have my window, my "door-way to fun."

Letty Evans
December 2002

Mom was good at putting a positive spin on things. Sometimes I think she was trying to convince herself. Did she do a good job?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

MY VIEW #56 - A Dead Society

The nicest, happiest sound in the world is the chatter, singing and laughter of children, playing outside in the fresh air. Now we don't hear any of that anymore, as everything is so organized, and spontaneous play is eliminated. How terribly sad to see the days ahead, with no child in sight, skipping, or a child playing all. Children are not allowed to play on their own, as we were, and we had such a happy time. We enjoyed outdoors, we never were supervised, never suffered from obesity, ate healthy plain food, had good friendships and slept like a log at night.

TVs started this other trend, but the serious problem is because of the TV and Internet Computers. These two items have been the crux of these problems. Years ago, before TVs became commonplace, it took a week or more to get news of some event, but with TV it took maybe 30 seconds, and most programs were good to watch or hear, but now, oh now, what a different world we have. There is some good computers supply, but, and a big but it is, the damage done and supply of damage to the people under 20 is enormous. I fear for all young people who have an occasion to watch such dreadful stuff. They have been robbed of much fun, trust, honour and respect, and I for one am very sorry to see this loss. God forbid, it could get any worse. I love the younger ones, they are our future.

Photo by The Atlantic
A concerned Mom.

Letty Evans
March 26, 2007

(For nearly everything invented or made there is a down side.)

Mom was not the only one concerned about the amount of time children spend watching television. This article (click here) outlines professionals' concerns. I completely agree with her that for every invented thing, there is a down side, whether you are talking about fire, or smart phones.

The issue of children not having enough unsupervised time is a different one, and I don't agree that TV and the internet are the cause, but again professionals have weighed in, saying life is really not a lot more dangerous than it was years ago (when I was a child, for instance,) yet recently two unsupervised children walking home in an American city, prompted an adult to call the police. Personally, I was permitted to walk up to a mile or so from home, unsupervised, when in elementary school. There was a dangerous river close by, yet I was not unique; all my friends had plenty of freedom to roam and play.

MY VIEW #55 - Money Over the Years

A history lesson:

1c. piece - one cent, one penny. Old ones much larger than now.
5c. piece - old one solid silver, under 1/2 inch across.
               -now larger, made of nickel
10c. piece - same as always, metal?
25c. piece - old ones silver, and a paper "shinplaster," 1 x 5 inches was 25c
50c. piece - old ones silver, rarely seen now
$1 piece - old ones solid silver, not around now. (Also used to be green paper.)
              - now a brass coin, called a "loonie."
$2          - old, peach coloured paper, unavailable now
              -now a coin, nickel and copper, called a "Toonie"

How things have changed in the long years.

Photo of Canadian money by Reaxion Graphics

March 2007

I recall during my youth, Canadian coins being changed from silver to nickel, and when I was in my thirties, the $1 and $2 bills were replaced by the Loonie and Toonie. The penny was taken out of circulation in Canada about three years ago. Now Canadian bills are made of a polymer substance which supposedly will be more difficult to counterfeit. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

MY VIEW #54 - Ice Cream

"One of the Nice Flipperies of Life"

Hi everyone! Part of our rite of passage in this life is enjoying an Ice Cream Cone. When I was a little girl we went to an Ice Cream Parlour for one, or a dish. What flavour? Chocolate, strawberry or vanilla, that was all there was to choose from. In England, when I lived there, Walls Ice Cream was the only kind and only vanilla flavour. Today it is very different. As a child we had a churn of our own and all summer we made Ice Cream almost every week, and took our turns churning the handle. We enjoyed all the work and all the dessert, and sometimes Mom put cooked fruit in for a special treat.
Letty and Ron eating ice cream in Chemainus, BC, Canada in 1995
Now you have 50 or more flavours, it is an awfully hard choice to make. There you are, modern times. Maple Walnut was my favourite, then and now. We used to pay 10c for a cone, then 25c for a few years. Now it is $2.50 for a cone (2 scoops,) what a change. Some people still make their own, this usually tastes wonderful and can't be beaten. Good old ice cream, it cools a hot tummy in summer. Wonderful stuff.

Mom's Recipe

1 pint cream
1 cup milk
3 eggs (beaten)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

1 churn
5 lbs ice
1 cup Rock Salt
Lots of elbow grease and laughter

"I scream,
You scream,
We all scream,
For Ice Cream!"

Have a good day.
March 21, 2007

Friday, April 17, 2015

MY VIEW #53 - "I'll Keep it Clean"

Soap is a funny substance, mainly used to clean things and people, by scrubbing with water. Lye, ashes and fat are the main ingredients. It comes in many sizes, shapes, colours, smells and uses.

My earliest memories of soap is (sic) Mother bathing us, and blowing bubbles in the tub, and me screaming for more. The soap was green Palmolive, there was white Lux bar soap and red Lifebuoy, which didn't smell very nice and didn't make good bubbles.

1920s advertisement for Palmolive soap.
Laundry soaps were white Casteel (Castile) (It smelled so good and clean,) and another we used was Fell's Naptha Soap, a big brick that lasted a long time and smelled great. About this time Ivory Snow came out and was all big flakes, used for delicate laundry washing. Years later, Tide and such were popular and served.
Castile soap, which is still available in many forms.
The ones who objected to any kind of soap were boys, from age 1 to 18 years. Everyone seemed to hate to wash off dirt and those who did, did a half-hearted job of hands, neck and ears. To me it seemed the only time they got a good scrub was a Saturday night, which is recorded somewhere as "Bath Night." My Mom used to say, "That is the day all my flowers got watered and grew." She had a few funny sayings.

That's it for tonight.

Love from Mom xxx
March 21, 2007

I have my own funny soap story. When I was about two, living in England, soap was still rationed. We had a frosty day, and I saw the adults out sprinkling salt on the sidewalks to melt the ice. I decided to help, and sprinkled Mom's entire week's ration of soap flakes up and down the street. I still remember that incident, around 1950.

MY VIEW #52 - Beds

"Beds" are up for a topic today, so I'll do a little story on this subject and see what you think. I've slept on nearly every kind of bed, from posh hotel beds to sleeping on the bare floor, to a hammock. There is quite a good range here. From the cradle to the grave, most of us have experienced a lot of beds, good, bad and indifferent. Life has introduced us to some strange things and one is "beds."

I remember when I slept at our Aunt Mary's house, when my Mom had my younger brother, Charlie and I slept in a single cot, one at each end. It was fun and Aunt and Uncle were nice. Later I learned she was my Godmother.

On holiday one summer, at Elkwater Lake, Grace and Very Tyler, Mary my sister, and I, all slept in one bed. Across the bed mice ran about, what a gas! I loved it at the lake, I was 6 or 7 that time. When I cut my head at 9, I had to sleep alone on two big chairs, med into a bed for me, for a week, not fun. I could only sleep on one side that time. I got spoiled a lot that time. When I babysat at Wilsons I slept on a straw mattress in the spare room. Straw is not very warm to sleep on in winter, so I had a hot-water-bottle. I only babysat on a Saturday night at Yeo's or Williams' and Fisk's, and always slept with the children, all these beds were good. At 16 I spent three weeks in hospital and those beds were very firm, a bit uncomfortable. When my beloved Mother died, I was taken care of by several people (family friends) as I was very ill and fragile and weighed about 90 lbs. I survived and all beds I used were very comfortable. I was so very lucky in life.

My Dad bought me a new bed after Mary got married and took hers with her and Ken. One winter in Medicine Hat I stayed with the George's for a few days. They had an out-door bedroom on the front veranda, so Sis and i slept outside every night. We even had a nightcap, sheep's wool comforters and hot water bottles. It sure was cold getting up in the mornings, the warm house felt good, it was a g good test. The cold air really smells strange at night.

In 1943 Ron and I were married and I snuggled up to him for 53 years. When you are young, you snuggle up to Mom and Dad. As little kids we snuggled to each other. Marriage is a big snuggle, and when you are old and alone, pillows or cushions are your "snuggle-bugs."

My family are all wonderful to me, but it is so hard to accept a lonely heart and bed. My home is perfect for me and I love living here, and I hope this silly little story made you laugh. I only hope I don't bore you. Next episode is on "soap," I'll keep it clean!

Love from Mom xxx
March 17, 2007

Grace and Vera were cousins of Mom's. Her sister, Mary, married a British airman and moved to England. I did not realize she took a bed with her all that distance.

For a few years, Mom had a cat named Caspian who kept her good company snuggling with her on the couch or bed.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

MY VIEW #51 - Listen to the Music of Life - "Nostalgia"

Cactus berries
Hair cuts
Mud puddles
Blistered heels
Changing diapers
Wet panties
Carrying heavy things
Tears, tears
Breaking bones
Candy canes
Breaking dishes
Being sick
Eating ice-cream
Paint peeling
Being loved
Lost keys
A loving family
Picnic races
Loving my family
Running fast
Watching clouds
Nasty medicine
Hating real windy days
Lying in bed
Friends dying
Snow forts
Family deaths
Tea pots
Clean glasses
Lost and afraid
Music lessons
Money earned
No money
Hot flannel poultices
Missing my Ron
Old age
Penalties for not being careful
Berry picking
Moma crying
Home, the heart of life and family.
Daddy crying

Daddy a nurse
Enough for tonight
Moma a nurse
Blessings galore xxx

All these things make up a life and are full of nostalgia.

March 2, 2007

I'm sure Mom could have written a post about each of these things. I know she's written about some of them, but a few will make no sense to today's readers. For example, "Hot flannel poultices." These consisted of two pieces of flannel, about a foot square. In between was smeared mustard, or Vicks VapoRub. The whole thing was heated and put on the chest of someone suffering from a cold or some other respiratory ailment. They did absolutely no good, medically speaking, but were used for centuries. Mom used them on me a few times.

I wonder what she meant by "penalties for not being careful?" Hmmm....

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

MY VIEW #50 - Dan Cupid

"Dan Cupid" hath a garden,
Where women are the flowers,
And lovers' dreams and lovers' tears,
The sunshine and the showers.
For perfume, grace and beauty, 
The rose doth stand apart.
Please God, that I, before I die,
May wear one on my heart.
Please God, that I, before I die,
May wear one, may wear on, on my heart.

And now the garden's empty,
New blossoms yet to show.
A younger mix, with beauty fixed,
Mid rain and sunshine grow.
For perfume, grace and beauty,
The rose still stands apart.
please god, that I, before I die,
Wear this one on  my heart.

The first verse is anonymous, the second verse is by Letty.

February 18, 2007

(The word "Dan" means "Master, Lord or sir, according to the dictionary. I thought so.)

This song is far from anonymous. It is from an Operetta called Merrie England. Click here to hear it in its entirety. Mom, not surprisingly, forgot quite a few words, but I recall my father singing this song when I was a child.

MY VIEW #49 - A Day in the Sun

We all need a day in the sun, no matter how old we are. It is a time we never forget. The program on TV this morning made me realize this, the Children's Variety Show. This particular TV "Show of Hearts" gave a lot of people their "Moment in the sun."

During my life I have volunteered for many causes, and enjoyed it, such as the Cancer Society, heart & Stroke, Church, fire victims, poor people who were short of food, and baby sitting. You meet very interesting people you wouldn't meet if you didn't do this particular job. Now I am too old to do the footwork it takes, but I still knit and write stories of life, as our family lived it and survived.

Mom never became a nurse, but she wanted to, badly. She's posing in a friend's nurse uniform in the 1930s. She was thrilled when her youngest granddaughter, Rachel, decided to become a nurse.
My parents were generous hearted and never turned anyone away who needed help, food, clothes, money, a place to stay, and they passed this on to two of their children. This has been a blessing to us in many ways. This I am sure God wanted us to do, and I liked it.

Maybe the "I liked it" feeling is the one "Moment in the Sun" I will ever get, and I still like it. Thank you God.

Letty Evans
11:00 a.m., Sunday, February 11, 2007

I remember Mom going door to door, collecting money for the Cancer Society, the March of Dimes which was originally for polio victims, and more. She was a Girl Guide leader for a short time, sang in the church choir in Calgary years ago, and was always available to help others. The knitting she mentions was cotton string dish cloths, which she knitted by the score, and donated to her Duncan BC church for their fundraisers. She loved recognition for her efforts. Its too bad she was unable to become a nurse, because of her faulty knee. Her generosity has, I hope, been passed on to me and my daughters.

Monday, April 13, 2015

MY VIEW #48 - Curtains

Most windows want curtains. They cry out for them. Curtains are made of any kind of material we have, from fine lacy sheers, to leather or wood. It is amazing to me, where and when they were first used. Maybe to keep the hot sun's rays out, or to keep the cold of winter at bay. Someone was smart enough to do this, so here we are today with the largest choice of fabric in the world, to make curtains of every colour in history. I remember dark green ones at our home, when I was a wee one. We though they were a great place to hide. It was very hot in summer where we lived and heavy dark curtains kept the house cool. The two bedrooms' curtains were wine coloured and had a fringe. We played a lot under them. We had two kittens who loved to climb curtains. My Mom didn't like that but they were fun to watch and we did encourage the kittens.

Image of kitten climbing a curtain from
When we moved, Mom had to make new curtains. They were nicer, light coloured flowered ones, with blinds under them.

When I grew up I sewed. I did a lot of curtain sewing for Moore's Furniture Store, and slip covers for chairs too. It is heavy work. I liked lighter work, dresses, sheer curtains, baby clothes, kilts and men's clothing.

Curtains are used in many places and trades, viz. painting, welding, hospitals, navy ships, schools, opera theatres, to name a few. During World War 2 every window in Great Britain had to have "Blackout" curtains. So you can see, curtains are an important part of our lives. Un-curtained windows are like ghostly faces, without eyes, and look forgotten. I like curtains, as you can see.

Letty Evans
February 2007

MY VIEW #46 - Earthquakes

We have all heard "that word" and what it signifies, horror, fear and shock. Death and destruction in its wake. I have never experienced a large one, only three minor events. The first was in England in 1945, I fell off my bed in the early morning, and wondered why. At noon that day, on the radio, we heard it had been an earthquake. The second and third were here on Vancouver Island, one in 1997, at 8 a.m. one day, and it sounded like a train. The third was a year or two later, about supper time and again sounded like a train, right next door.

When Ron and I were in California in 1987 we saw the boarded supports of bridges and buildings, from the North Ridge quake the year before. It was a bad one there.

LA Times photo from Northridge Earthquake
The whole west coast is quake prone. Officials tell us (just last night on TV,) "Get ready with a survival kit, in the next 2 weeks, for a quake. Indications are perfect for it." Very few, if they have a kit, will have it nearby to grab, so why bother? Quakes strike without a warning, so I for one will stay put and take my chances. One idea that has merit is to put some quarters in the pockets of what you are wearing, it's easy and safe and will be there to make very important phone calls if you are lucky. It is a matter of luck and prayers.

February 3, 2007

I too have experienced a number of minor earthquakes while living on the west coast of North America. Mom's idea of keeping quarters in pockets for phone calls is innocent for its time, even, assuming phone lines would not be broken, and nowadays, there are very few if any pay phones left. So many devastating earthquakes around the world (Haiti, Japan, Turkey to name but a few) leave me saddened for the victims. After the Northridge quake, pictured above, California required buildings and freeways to be retrofitted so they could withstand future quakes.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

MY VIEW #45 - Buildings' Weight

How much do buildings weigh? All my life I have wondered about this, why don't the buildings sink into the ground because of their weight? Some cities, like Paris, France, can't build high as the city is on soft ground. I read some years ago that in a building each floor has to be able to support its own weight, plus the weight of the next floor above it. Now, how about skyscrapers? It really makes on think. Allowance is made for high wind swing, like the Husky (Calgary) Tower in Calgary and the (Space) Needle in Seattle. On windy days, do people get used to this problem in high rises too? I am just plain nosy!
Minneapolis. Plenty of large buildings!

The weight of high buildings is a big item to a builder. I was more aware of this after living in England and all the ancient buildings there. How do they determine the weight to the earth suitability conditions?

Where would I get an answer to such a question? I've no idea, just better forget. you know what killed the cat... Leave it!

Groundhog Day
February 21, 2007

I think Mom would have made a good engineer, had she had the right opportunities. Her curiosity was not matched by her ability to find answers to her questions, sadly. Bob and I told her that engineers know how to calculate building weight.

MY VIEW #47 - A World of Pets

Mom and her cat, Dandelion, with me and Bob, 1950s in Bowness
Pets have a special place in the world of humans. They trust us, welcome us, and we do our best to return all this faithful love. pets come in all sizes, shapes colour and species, from caterpillars to horses...

A new neighbour, a Mrs. Florence Evans (yes, the very same name as I have) brought over a tiny black and white kitten for Linda and Bob. So we had our first pet. Linda, age 4 years, said "mummy, can we call it Dandelion?" So that was that and he was a lovely pet, and well petted. Linda had a doll-buggy, dressed the cat up in clothes, and he loved it... I think Dandelion went deaf, he got hit by a car at 9 years old...

Now I live in Duncan, and three years ago Linda got me a dear little tortoise-shell kitten named Zoey, a gorgeous pet whom I really loved. We went to fetch the mail every day together, and she brought me gifts like garden snakes, birds, moths and rodents, and was excellent company. She was very different from all my other cats, for instance she bit my legs nearly every day. My doctor said I should get rid of her. Colleen took her to their farm where she is very busy and happy. Colleen also says she has never had a cat like her before, she follows Colleen and Philip everywhere, on their four acre farm. So I don't worry about her, she has a good home. Be happy, little girl, Zoey, I do miss you.

Oh yes, and at one time we had two turtles for a year, and a horse for three summers.

Letty Evans
February 24, 2007

This entry is heavily edited; the original went on for two full pages. I was quite a bit older than 4 when we got Dandelion; probably 7 or 8, but I remember dressing the poor thing up in doll clothes, which he did not like much at all, despite Mom's claim. The cat tolerated it and then would run away from us when he'd had too much. Zoey was a rescue cat and far too wild for Mom, but I'm glad she found a good home in the end. I too love pets, especially dogs, and my brother is very fond of cats.

Mom also hosted a hamster,a budgie, and several other cats and dogs over the years. She was good to them all.

Friday, April 3, 2015

MY VIEW #44 - Housekeeping

A tidy house is easy to look after, you say "famous last words," not necessarily so. first of all, our house is our main and important possession, be it two rooms or a castle, it is a very important thing. It is a "thing" and how we treat it shows what the owner is as a person. Do you agree, or am I barking up the wrong tree? Our home is our refuge and our retreat. Mine is anyway. Home is, generally, where you get treated the best, and grumble the most, so my Mother told me. I know she was right.

Houses are funny things, they neither ask nor tell what needs doing to make us happy and comfortable. We have to do that by ourselves, so you start young and never give up learning. We keep learning all our lives. Like last spring, at 92 years of age, i learned it is cheaper, after 15 years, to get my roof re-shingled, even if there is no leaking, rather than waiting till it does leak. That is good economy. Fences make good neighbours, and a coat of paint is wonderful. That is outside and mostly man's work, but it is still "house-keeping," and very important, but mostly a yearly or more thing.

Inside it is usual for women to do the "house-keeping." Inside housekeeping is a daily thing, more intense and never ending, a ritual it seems. It is hard sometimes "for the end to justify the mean." Labour-saving devices help now, which weren't invented years ago. Good show, to men. Some things never change, no matter how we try, until some inventor comes along. We have most things automated now, except an "automatic woman." Wives, and especially mothers, have the organization of the future of the world in their hands and hearts. Just think, for one minute, what would happen if these women stopped dead for one week. Holy smoke! Disaster, on top of disaster, no kidding, just think!

So we all need our "house-keeping heroes." Help them, praise them, and never forget them, ever, these housekeepers of the world.

I happen to be one of them.

Letty Evans
January 29, 2007

My mother, who never had a paid job outside the home in her life, is pleading for others to value what she spent her life doing. Even though her belief in division of labour along gender lines may meet with some derision today, her world was truly that way, and I remember growing up in a family where work was either "men's" or "women's" work. 
Don't you love her comment about the automatic woman?

MY VIEW #42 - Birds

Photo of peacock from

The whole world is blessed with birds of every size, shape and colour, mythical, magical, and material. We couldn't live without them. Here are a few ideas to kick around and think about. When was it that you remember your first bird? I was, maybe, about four and a yellow canary, in our kitchen, sang so loud whenever the water taps were turned on. We had chickens and geese at that time too, and I was afraid of them. They too are birds. Birds go back in history to the very start of life, from huge ones to tiny hummingbirds, from ugly to beautiful. They keep our lawns and gardens pretty well free of bugs, and are great to watch at a feeder or by water. Ducks, with a string of babies swimming behind them, are a delight to our eyes. Eagles, perched like big turkeys in trees, are a special memory to keep. ("Willy," a black squirrel, is at my back door eating nuts. He comes every day. Sorry for this interruption, Willy is an old friend.)

Now back to birds, "My View" for today. Parrots are one of the brightly coloured birds, and also peacocks, and both have coarse, screechy voices. Similar too, though less noisy, are parakeets (budgies.) These all seem to be branches of the same family. Some of my favourite birds are: whooping cranes, owls, robins, swans, bluebirds, juncos, meadowlarks, sparrow, loons, hell-divers, cranes and sapsuckers. There are hundreds more you too could name.

Some other things are classed as "birds," not the winged variety. here are a couple of them: chicks (what boys call pretty young girls) and jail-birds. The only thing these two groups have in common is they all have two legs.

So this is it for today. Was it worth the effort?

Letty Evans
January 2007

I had never thought of when I remember first noticing a bird. I still can't think when that might have been, but I do recall a childhood friend who had a canary that sang endlessly.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

MY VIEW #42 - Blue Zones

Questions Answered

When you reach old age, 90 plus, sometimes you look back and wonder, "How come?" Everyone else in my birth family is gone, only one remains.

Part of the book I made for Mom on her 100th Birthday. She looked so happy that day.
We five children had a happy home, good education and loving parents. What contributes to having only one of seven family members reach 90s? Is it inherent, is it diet, is it where we work, what kind of work, or is it just luck? No-one in my family, generations back, reached 90. I was the third child, two before me and two after me, and I was the one who spent a lot of time sick in bed.

A programme on TV tonight, on this subject of old age, set me down again with pen and paper. I am interested too about the "Blue Zones" where many people are living to be 100 years plus. Not that I am that ambitious, far from it, I am ready to go any time (after June,) if it is my destiny.

Along the way, in my 93 years 5 months, I hope I helped some people, left a smile on a few faces, and never been greedy in word or action. I just kept getting well, worked hard dressmaking, faced adversity, and lived a quiet sort of life for my husband and family. A lot of laughter is a positive ingredient to a long life. Never let it be said, "She never cracked a smile."

Letty Evans
January 25, 2007

PS: I hope you get a laugh out of this issue?

I inserted a link to a Blue Zones research project. 

Although Mom had four siblings, one died at eight weeks of age, too young to have a happy home or good education. It was always curious to me that she always included the dead sister as part of her family, although the child died before Mom was born.

My brother and I never imagined that Mom would live as long as she did. Truly, she was ill often, and hospitalized at least once a year, which I thought was normal until I grew up. Why did she survive? All her siblings smoked, and Mom never did. She probably had a happier life than they, and was not carrying a burden of terrible secrets that her sister did for years. But I think she's partly right; it has to be luck to some extent, and good medical care.

MY VIEW #31 - Bees

Honeybee photo from
This is the song of the bee.
His legs are of yellow,
A very fine fellow
And yet a great worker is he.

On days that are sunny
He's making his honey.
On days that are cloudy
He's making his wax.
In buildings or farmland,
Over gardens with flowers,
In some old fine corner
He levies a tax.     (stings you)

This is the sound of the bee.
His legs are of yellow,
A very fine fellow,
And yet a great worker is he.

Dad taught us a lot about bees and not to be afraid of them. You leave them alone and they leave you alone. You can't trust wasps or hornets at all.

Letty Evans
December 2006

Mom had no idea of the worrisome die-off of bees in our continent. I thought her poem an ode to bees and very timely.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

MY VIEW #35 - Pencils

(Editor's note: This "My View" is out of sequence because Mom had several posts about Christmas which I thought would be more appropriately posted next December.)

"A small, slender stick of wood or metal, with a core of graphite, used for writing or drawing. Age unknown." Official data in dictionary.

My first pencils were about 3 inches long. My Dad cut long pencils in half, so they were short. In Kindergarten, where we learned our letters and numbers, all pencils were short. These had no erasers on the tip. We got those in Grade 3.

We didn't know then that we were using soft leaded pencils. I supposed there was a reason, but hard leaded ones didn't come until later. That was something. I liked to draw, and one teacher showed me how important soft lead was, and hard lead too.

"Indelible" pencils were different, as the marks could not be erased, which was fun. The core of these pencils was purple (a different mixture, I guess) and if it got wet it was very purple, indelible.

Then there were "Eversharps," a great improvement. A fancy metal pencil, 5 or 6 inches long, you could twist the top and the long 3" lead would come down, for writing. These were great and we called them propelling pencils. I still have one and a box of leads. Lots of real gold and silver ones were made. Gold was cheap then, $35 an ounce.

"Carpenters" pencils are different, flat instead of round, with the same lead core. They are flat to lie next to wood, to measure, I still have one, and a dozen HB pencils.

That's it for now. did you learn anything from this?

January 2007

MY VIEW #30 - St. Andrew's Christmas Dinner 2006

The punch bowl is empty,
The tables are full,
Someone taking photos,
Workers at the grill.
On a rainy night, lots of light,
Visitors happy, waiting for the party to start.

Lots of noise and laughter,
Food smells so good..
Everyone ready, when Carol gives the nod.
Tables numbered, who will lead
To that table of goodies we see?
Our table is #5, it won't be we.

We line up and fill our plates,
Salad, veggies, stuffing, turkey and gravy,
They never had it this good in the navy.
What a feast, with dessert later.

Gordie, ad-libbing as M.C., takes a ribbing,
Which is par for the course, of course, young man,
Leg pulling season, along for this reason,
Fits in fie with this Christmas plan.

After the feast comes singing and laughter,
"The Twelve Days of Christmas"
Nearly caused a disaster, what fun!

The men in their glory are singing "The Story"
Of our dear Lord Jesus, on a wonderful night.

Then we all went home, afer this glad celebration.
Good Night.

Letty Evans
December 2, 2006

Mom was a member of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Duncan, BC, Canada. In her last ten years she rarely attended a worship service, but when she could get a ride, she enjoyed many of the social events.