Saturday, December 26, 2015

Goodbye, Mom

Dear Mom,

All your "view" and family history writings are out in the world for anyone with an internet connection to see. Can you believe that 8731 times, people have looked at your writings? (And over the years, more will follow, I am sure.) Congratulations, Mom! You would be so proud that people from countries as different as China and Ghana, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, Germany and Venezuela, have seen your posts. I don't know any of these people, but I thank them for honouring you with their time and attention.

You have spoken very clearly for yourself, and now, it is my turn to speak about you.

Me, Melinda (granddaughter,) Riel (great grandson,) Letty 2007
You were a wonderful mother to young children. You had such love, such empathy, and a strong sense of fun, although you were strict, too, and didn't let me get away with much. When I had my own children, you loved being a grandmother, and my daughters loved their time with you: the cookies, the candies in the blue candy jar, the shopping trips, the stories - what child could have asked for more? They all loved you so much.

You were courageous, through the trip to England during wartime, living in a very substandard home when we returned to Canada, coping with your many illnesses and injuries over the years, and caring for Dad through his declining years.

What got you through many tough situations was your incredible stubbornness. It worked for you many times, but worked against you too, because you were so ruled by your emotions that no-one could budge you from a position once you had taken it. 

I admired your creativity. Your poetry and all your writings reveal an artistic soul that, had it been nurtured with more education, might have bloomed into far more than you imagined. I and your granddaughters, having inherited your love of the written word, continue to honour you in our own writings.

Of the sad things that passed between us, or at least between me and your deteriorating self in the last two years of your life, I will say no more, except that I forgive you, and ask you to forgive me.

Mom, I love you. I believe we will be reunited one day when it is my turn to "slip this mortal coil." Goodbye, my dear.

Linda Ann

Thursday, December 24, 2015

My View #32 - It's Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve. I sit alone, watching a lovely children's show on TV. It is lovely.

I've talked to all my children and grandchildren a little while ago and I'm immersed in days gone by, of Christmas Eve in England and Canada. I'm not lonely, what a lovely evening, just enjoying an evening alone, on Christmas Eve.

Christmas 1961 - Letty receives a pop-up toaster for Christmas. She and Ron slept in a hide-a-bed in those years, in the one-bedroom house.

On November 29th, Edgar and Melinda, my eldest granddaughter, had their first child, a baby boy. That was one reason my home was quiet, My daughter, her husband, and my other two granddaughters were with the new baby in Toronto. Meanwhile, my son, Bob, was in Southern California. He drives an 18 wheeler.

From the left: granddaughter Rachel, Grandson-in-law Edgar, Great-grandson Riel, Granddaughter Melinda, Granddaughter Michelle, Daughter Ann (Linda) and Son-in-law Art, December 2006, Toronto, Canada
So this is why I was alone on December 25th.

What beauty there is in a happy child, the wonder in their eyes and eager voices. What good memories I have. At 93 I'm still a child at heart, and love all the lovely music makers, off key maybe, bu still beautiful.

I hope I don't have any more quiet Christmases in the future. Give me the noise, sparkle and laughter next Christmas.

January 7, 2007

Art and I spent another couple of Christmases with Letty, and she was never alone after that one year.

This is the final post of Letty's writings, but I will blog my own tribute to her. It is fitting that today, the anniversary of her death, is the last day in which she speaks with her own voice. 

Merry Christmas to all our readers around the globe. Peace and joy to you all.

Ann Griffin
December 24, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My View #33 - What is Christmas?

For the Children

Christmas is a Birthday Party,
For a baby boy,
A young boy.
You had a birthday party, sometime?
This baby was the new kid on the block,
So he needed a party.

People came to see Him,
They brought Him presents,
Which is good.
Not like the ones we get,
His were stuff called "Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh!"

You know what gold is?
Look at your parents' rings.
Frankincense is funny stuff, I looked it up,
It is "perfume, made from the gum of African trees."
Imagine that, now I know too.

Another gift was myrrh, more perfume,
So He should smell really good.
He was a happy baby,
Smiled a lot and didn't cry much.
He had lots of company, sheep, cows, people, birds,
Because He was born in a barn.
He loved all the people and animals.
His Mom and Dad loved him, there was music, singing,
"Happy Birthday," and that is why we celebrate,
Because that little boy did on His birthday.
So He started the Christmas Party.
That little boy's name was Jesus.

Image result for christian christmas images clip art
Blessings to all.

Letty Evans
Christmas 2006

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

(Nearing the End) My View #199 - Blind Courage

Dear Readers around the world,

This post is the last my mother wrote. As we approach the anniversary of her death on December 24th, I have reserved three Christmas stories she wrote for the last three days of this blog. I hope you will enjoy them and share them with your friends. 


Never in my long life, have I ever seen such a display of sporting courage. In all of the country, to learn we have hockey teams of lads who are partially or totally blind. Yesterday I watched them play, and I was so shocked. I can still hardly believe it. What courage, rage, and tenacity must have seeped into their souls, to drive them, plus a wonderful, very special coach. They all looked so happy, in the rough and tumble game of hockey. I prayed for them, right then, for giving me so much pleasure. Next day I am still so happy for them, and their new joy in life, playing hockey. God bless.

February 26, 2011

Hi Linda and Art - I think this is one of the best things I ever wrote about. What do you think?

I am not in great shape anymore, always wanting to lie down. What a lazy life I lead. I love you both, have a happy life dears.

Monday, December 21, 2015

My View #198 - My Scottish Godmother

To me it is funny, you go into some homes and, right away, you are struck by the number of pictures on the walls. The home of my Aunt Mary, my Godmother, was like that, very interesting, but looked sort of cluttered. I loved her house, and Uncle Jim too, but I always liked the pictures. There were not photo albums in those days, but there were lots of military pictures.

They were a Scottish couple, and I loved to visit them and their children, Jean and Willie. We stayed for a day, Charlie and I, and we always had barley soup for lunch, and Auntie always baked a batch of scotch scones, to take home for Dad. He loved Aunt Mary's scones, a special treat. Auntie never lost her accent, and it was a treat to see her and Uncle Jim dancing, kilts and all. I think that was when I really liked the dancing, like no other. But those pictures of the dancers on her walls were special. I am both Scottish and English by birth, and love it all. I hope my children appreciate it.
Scottish Country Dancing. Photo from St. Andrews Society of Panama website.

That's all for tonight, love, Mom

Feb 8, 2011

PS: I only have scenery and flower pictures on the wall, except for weddings.

I believe the aunt and uncle she mentions were not blood relatives, since both Letty's parents emigrated from Britain without much or any family in Canada.  Our family also has a strong Welsh heritage from Letty's side and I, from my father's side too.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

My View #197 - Kitchen Cupboards

All kitchen cupboards are designed and built by men. Women, it seems, have no say in the matter and this is wrong and bothers me. Most people are tall or short, and this is where the difference lies and needs to be changed. Tall people are very comfortable with these cupboards and have no complaints, while short people struggle and constantly complain, "I can't reach that, on the centre shelf."

I am one of thousands of women who are only 5 ft tall or less, and we have trouble reaching to the second level, let alone the third shelf level, it is useless to us, unless we stand on a chair or a ladder. Phew!
Me in Letty's kitchen. I scolded her more than once for climbing on a small chair to reach things.

When you are told, "don't stand on a chair," what do you do? Just wait till some lanky person comes to the house and ask them to help? Yes, to them it's easy.

So you builders better smarten up, and challenge the cabinet designers to make some changes. My top shelves are all empty, come on men, you know how to change things, do this for all the short women, who make your meals.

No doubt this will make the designers swear, and nothing will change.

My grouse for today!

Letty Evans, Feb 6, 2011

Note: the bottom shelves/drawers, from the counter down, are all OK and work well.

At Letty's memorial service, her granddaughter, Michelle Deines, read this to the congregation, prompting laughter in places and agreement from the short people in attendance.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

My View #191 - Split Beds Long Ago

If you are of Russian background, you likely know more about split beds than anyone else. It is a good example of cosmopolitanism than most countries realize.(sic)

That scheme arrived in Canada 66 to 80 years ago, in a lot of small towns in Saskatchewan, and elsewhere. One year, a storm was blowing with lots of snow, and also it was nearly New Year, a few parties had planned weddings. Some folks wait for the camera, and some don't. Anyway, a very few lost count of time and cold, and a couple range a house bell at the wrong home, and were told to come in, out of courtesy. When they did, they were surprised there was no wedding, and wanted to go on. These thrifty people spoke, "Stay the night!'

"What about the wedding, and where will we sleep?"

"We can look after two stranded strangers."

"We are not married."

"You will see. Mother, bring the divider," and she did and everyone was eager to see what would happen.

The mother stripped the bed, flipped the mattress over, and a split appeared in the bottom. The divider was put in place and covered, making the two halves equal and ready for the boy and girl to go to bed.

"You shall see your friends in the morning. Sleep well. Breakfast early."

"This is far better than cold, bitter ground last night. Many thanks, farmer, for a good night's sleep. Please let me say one more word. Thank you, sir."

Letty Evans
September 30, 2010

Rather than a memory, this is a story Letty heard elsewhere and is re-telling, although various chaste forms of sharing beds have been invented over the centuries. Bundling in colonial New England comes to mind.

Curiously, split beds are enjoying a revival, so one partner can raise the head and foot of the bed separately from the other.

Friday, December 18, 2015

My View #190 - Oil?

Who said we had to find cause, to lay blame for the oil disaster on BP, or any particular persons? Everyone is so anxious to lay blame, because they don't think of what could be the cause, other than what the oil company has done.

One thing against us, we had no business, in the first place, drilling under water in the Earth's crusty core. This is God's terrain and it is partly covered with water to protect it, and to make homes for fish.

Get that through your thick skull first. The Haiti earthquake set this off, it is on the fault-line that runs north and south, all through South America, the Caribbean and North America, all that way. I am no scientist, but I read a lot and love to study maps, and I think oil drilling in the sea should be banned completely. These companies aren't content with drilling on land, so what is left is the beautiful, healthy ocean.

Then another very severe quake in Chile, and it made the whole world tremble, with volcanoes, floods, and severe storms. I think if we believe in God, he is giving us a warning: "Look after this world."

Let's hope everyone will.

Letty Evans
June 12, 2010

If only the oceans were still healthy.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

My View #196 - Doctors and Hospitals

These people and places are very important to every human, and to everyday life. Few places share so much of the things in life we call important. There is no time a hospital is not busy, watching, waiting, doing so much to save a life. God is with all the workers, no matter how menial a job is, always doing what they can to help. We have to do our part (the other 50%) and people will get well.

Doctors are qualified to do the most urgent jobs of all, they operate to save lives. Very honorable work it is, mostly in the very great risk category, but they are trained, to do, and to accept responsibility, if all is not successful. Very few of such cases occur, thankfully. With the right equipment, they perform miracles daily and all humans are grateful to those Doctors.

The hospital I remember, from fourteen years old, my Dad went to, to have his left eye removed, was the Medicine Hat General. All the family had a turn in there, but not my sister. It was an excellent hospital. Nurses trained there were classed with those from the Mayo in the USA, first class. Some hospitals do not have training classes. In England, the hospital in Huddersfield did and was always so. It was very old, one floor upstairs for ladies, and one downstairs for men, with forty beds in each ward, and if pushed they put eleven more in. Now they have a new, modern hospital, a wonderful improvement. Some hospitals are quite small and some are huge, but they all serve the same purpose, to save human lives.

Letty Evans
January 23, 2010

Letty was intimately acquainted with hospitals in Huddersfield, Calgary, Victoria, and Duncan. From the time I was twelve on, she was hospitalized at least once a year with various ailments, ranging from a spinal fusion to influenza that nearly killed her. Doctors were, to her, godlike in their knowledge and advice, and nurses not far behind.

She did not shy away from telling off nurses who displeased her, though, if they were too slow to answer her call button, or worse, mishandled a procedure such as a bath or blood drawing. 

Near the end of her life, she dreaded hospitals. The uncomfortable beds, the noise, the lack of privacy - and who can blame her? As her daughter, I am thankful for the lifetime of excellent medical care she received. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

My View #187 - The Factory

Years ago, when we first lived in Bowness, a vacant lot across the two roads, was a rough hilly place. Two years later, on a sunny day, men with measuring tapes were busy. We thought, oh, more homes to be built, good, but not so, a factory where doors and windows were to be manufactured. A Mr. Chris Firth, the man who was building it, told my husband one day, it is a small firm, very little smoke or noise, fine.

One man, a Mr. Dan Scott, who was the boss, and my husband talked, and seemed good friends, a very nice fellow. Dan and his wife had 6 children, after a few years, nice kids, four girls and two boys, ages between sixteen and three years, so their house was always a busy place.

One day, a few years had passed (this all happened fifty years ago,) Mrs. Scott shot herself and died. Oh my! Everyone was so shocked and sorry for all of them. Mr. Scott told my husband, and Ron said, "If we can help in any way, we will." Poor man, he came to me one day, asking could I babysit the two little ones, Julie (three,) and Penny (five,) I did, for many weeks, on Thursdays and Fridays, nice kids. They finally quit asking "why doesn't Momma come back?" I told them she was with God, in Heaven, he is looking after her, because she was very sick. The Penny said, "Will you be our Momma now, please?" I was touched, and shocked a bit, and said, "No dear, I am Mother to my children." About a year later, Mr. Scott married a widow lady, and things settled down and looked good for all. The Factory was a big busy place and did excellent wood work. So life returned to normal and I didn't see any of the children, so was happy for them all.

A few years later, I was looking out our front window, it was a Saturday and my husband was at home, I saw a wisp of smoke at the Factory and called Ron. He ran over and ran back and yelled, "Cal the Fire Department, it is burning inside!' They came just as an exploding roof fell in. My goodness, what a big fire, and what a lot of people all of a sudden. It burned for two days, and was called arson. Mr. Scott was nowhere to be found. Years later, a rumour was about that Mr. Scott took the funds, set the fire and disappeared to Switzerland. How true that was, no-one knew. Interesting to think about, but time will tell, it always does.

F.L. Evans
March 2010

Not real names in this true story of life in old Bowness, Alberta.

I remember vaguely the suicide of the mother, but I had left home at the time of the fire. The two children Mom babysat, I taught piano for a year. Neither were especially musically inclined, but anything I could do to give them some attention after the loss of their mother. I'm not sure I agree that time always tells. I wonder what happened to those children?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My View #186 - Changes

Death is so final. Another of our community died this week, Patricia Marley. Another house for sale. So many during the 18 years I've lived here: Marion, Jeff, Ester, Louie, Catharine, John, Lorraine, John, Ray, Ron, Yokey, Bill, Betty, Wes, Isobella, and 2 others.

I am very old, but manage to look after myself. I guess I am very lucky, so I just keep busy, knit for the church, write letters and family history.

I am out of yarn now. Bob is having blood again today, and will come for supper. That is all for today.

Letty lived in a community restricted to fifty and over, and slowly losing those people must be one of the most challenging aspects of that lifestyle. It's a big reason why my husband and I chose a community that includes all ages.

She knit cotton yard dishcloths by the hundreds, and they sold well at church bazaars. I wish I had kept a few more of them but all I had are now gone.

The reference to Bob having blood, is to his treatments for chronic Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Monday, December 14, 2015

My View #$185 - The Gold, Silver, and Bronze

Written just after Canada won the Gold Medal in Hockey at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, BC.

Monday: Today I am recovering from "Hockey Fever," like most Canadians. Today I feel wonderful. It has been a day to rest, think, and wonder. Nearly everybody is a bit surprised at the success of the past two long weeks, as I am. After all the competitors have done their best, and now, on their way home, whether they lost or won, they have done it all, with skill and love of sports. Congratulations!

The biggest surprise to me is the very beauty of the Medals themselves, so very different in design, size, and shape. The Native couple of people who did them and in patterns, need a medal themselves. I really hope they both get a lot of recognition.

You can see the native designs on each medal. I could not find the reference, but I'm sure these designs are copyrighted by the Canadian Olympic Committee for Vancouver 2010. I think they are stunning.

F. L. Evans
March 8, 2010

Sunday, December 13, 2015

My View #183 - Irons and Ironing

Modern people don't know how lucky they are, to have thermostats in their electric irons. As a child of twelve, I learned to do the family's ironing. It was not an easy pastime, as it is today. It was hard work. Those irons we used were called "sad-irons (a heavy, solid, flatiron, pointed at both ends, with a removable handle - dictionary notation) a set of three, heated on the cook stove. Hot, heavy work.
A sad iron (photo from Pinterest/Ebay)

And then electric irons came on the scene, oh my, did that make all ironers happy. They were heavy too, but easier to use. They didn't have heat controls and could get too hot. Many articles of clothing were scorched, or just plain burned, and spoiled. The cords (cotton covered) twisted and wore out, and you had to unplug an iron to cool it.
Vintage electric iron (from

So I am very grateful, I use an iron that is light weight and has a thermostat built in, and I never complain about any ironing.

February 26, 2010

Letty doesn't mention steam irons. Before those were invented, clothing to be ironed had to be dampened. I did that myself many times, using an old pop (soda) bottle that had a sprinkler head you can see if you click this link: Here's a blog post by someone else who remembers sprinkling clothes. 

My aunt had an early steam iron that burned me, shooting steam across the room. The technology, vastly better now, includes a teflon plate, various temperature settings, auto shut-off, extra steam and spray buttons, and a plastic water tank that shows the water level.

Ann's iron

Letty did not realize that modern people, namely her granddaughter's generations and younger, seldom iron anything at all. Wash and wear, use the touch-up setting on the dryer, or use a steamer. Anything to avoid that iron.

As for me, I like ironed clothing, and still iron a few things weekly. Most fabrics no longer require it.

Friday, December 11, 2015

My View (unnumbered) - On Shakespeare

An English Poet 1564-1616

When I lived in England, one summer I went to Birmingham to visit my cousins for a few days. While there, two of the girls, Ellen and Mary, said, "Tomorrow we are going to Stratford-on-Avon, Shakespeare's country." Of course I was delighted and we did go. What a wonderful day we had.
Downtown Stratford-upon-Avon. Photo by Kaihsu Tai from Wikipedia. It was just one of these sorts of ancient buildings I stayed in.

First off, we went into Shakespeare's home and saw the room he did most of his writing in, a small room, his desk and chair quite small, but very impressive. We also saw his garden and Anne Hathaway's home. After lunch we went to the theatre, to see how grand it was, and admired the swans swimming in the River Avon. Then we had to buy our tickets for the evening show, "Anthony & Cleopatra," I was thrilled. Before the show, to get a good seat, you had to pay for a "queue stool" for 1 shilling and 5 pence. Then came about 2 hours of waiting (first come first served sort of thing.) We finally got in, up in the first gallery, and watched a very splendid performance. I can still see it all, in my mind. Then we got a late bus or train back to Birmingham, very tired but happy. What a lovely day we had.

November 15, 2009

Letty was in England 1944 to 1953, but it is unlikely that this trip happened after I was born. Could it have happened in wartime? Possibly, but I doubt it. I date this adventure to between 1945-1948.

I too had an opportunity to visit Shakespeare's birthplace in 1970, when I stayed the night in a hotel from Shakespeare's time. The floors canted at crazy angles and the whole place looked ready to collapse, but it was an experience I'm glad I had.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

My View #176 - Tea

Tea is one of the staples of life, I believe. India and China are two of the largest supply countries in our world. There are various brands of tea. It is a refreshing drink in any weather, but a special comfort on a very cold day.

My mother was a devotee to tea, Dad and all her children enjoyed tea. Still today, at 96 years old, I love my cup of tea, it is my first drink any day. I have a very dear friend who visits me every Sunday after church, for a cup or two of tea. Carol Mills and I have had this routine for years now, and the teacups have been ready for a thousand cups, I can tell you. Carol is a tea granny like me, and I hope that never changes.

Coffee drinkers would shudder at this, I think. I like my tea. No matter if it is loose-leaf tea or in teabags (ground,) it tastes the same. Good!

November 17, 2009

My smallest teapot and a favourite mug
When I was growing up, our Saturday morning ritual involved my brother and I climbing into our parents' bed (their only day to sleep in; how they must have groaned when they heard us tiptoeing into their room.) Mom made tea, then brought it to the bedroom, where we enjoyed our tea in bed. At first, we children had watered-down, sugary, milky tea, but when we got a little older, I made the tea as strong as our parents'.

So I too, am a proud tea lover, to the extent that I purchase my tea in Canada when I can. The USA, not being a tea-drinking country, is a challenging place in which to find decent tea.

Mom's love of tea became a minor problem when she was over ninety-eight. She did not realize she was consuming over eight cups daily, and it was affecting her ability to sleep. I solved the problem by purchasing decaffeinated tea for her. That way, she drank as much as she wanted, but reduced her sleeping medication by half.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

My View #175 - The Effect of Money

This post of Letty's is very timely, considering what is going on with the Republican Presidential nomination battle, and rich, arrogant, ignorant, Donald Trump. Letty knew nothing of him; the association is mine alone.

It starts with love of money, and ends up where it started from... Some people are born to it, handed down from a rich father. Others love money, it lures them and never stops.

Great wealth breeds power,
power breeds control,
control breeds contempt,
contempt breeds unhappiness,
unhappiness breeds strife,
strife breeds riots,
riots breed war
and war breeds loss of colntrol,
control of life, limb, and money,

then it all starts over again, about every 100 years.

Nov 5/09

My View #174 - Umbrellas

Umbrellas are strange things, we can't do without them. They come in every style and color. Some are very pretty, some are for show, some are huge and some are so very large that you can have six people under them.

Men who live and work in rainy countries, like Britain, always carried a folded black one. Most women favor colored ones, strong or flimsy, no matter, filly ones at weddings are popular and look so nice. (I have never seen a frilly umbrella at a wedding, other than a parasol prop for the bridesmaids. Letty must be talking about a different era.)

As children we were fascinated when Mom showed us Grandpa Taylor's big black umbrella. It was black and had a spring-loaded button to press and, zoom, it opened with a swish that made us all jump. Mom told us it was called a bumbershoot, very different to the ones we have now. It also had a gold handle. I wonder where that umbrella ended up?
Umbrellas, some of the many featured at

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

My View #173 - Today - Final of "The Great Depression"

In our old family we were all great bookworms, my father saw to that. I remember this from about ten or eleven years old. About once a month, on a Friday evening, he came home with all our reading material, this kept us all busy for weeks. We read everything he brought, from cover to cover, all except his "True Detective" magazine, we didn't get to read that. Not fit for children, he said, but we didn't care at the time. We had the Daily Mirror, McLeans, Liberty, and Mom's favourite, the Ladies' Home Journal, and all the latest papers. We had lots of books too, and we knew what was going on in the world. I remember so well what some of those things were, so I intend to put pen to paper and tell you.
Letty, 1923 (age 10) is top row, second from left. Most of the girls have bobbed hair. This was a school production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in Medicine Hat.
After the First World War, we had the bad time of flu, many people died. People were very tired of war and sickness, and people, especially young men and women, and got very defiant. All women had long hair, long skirts, and were always told what to do. Not any more. They go their scissors out and went on a big defiant journey, and never went back to the old ways. I remember mothers talking about these daring ones who bobbed their hair, and real short it was, cut their skirts and dresses to above the knee, just a little bit above, swore, and smoke the boyfriends' cigarettes, and danced the nights away as flappers. This time was called the "Roaring Twenties" in all the papers.

Everyone seemed to go mad, my Mom and Dad were disgusted, but Mary and I both laughed and saw the funny side of it. But it was not funny. About this same time gangsters took over the country, not too much in Canada but it was very bad in the USA. We were all very poor.

The papers we liked to read before were not so good now, awful news in them. Big gamblers ruled the land; big milk tankers emptied their milk into drains in the gutters; two men, Leob and Leopold, had all control over all the sugar, and miners were not allowed to work their shifts. (Leob and Leopold, as the link will explain, murdered a fourteen year old boy. They were nothing to do with a sugar monopoly.)

Things were terrible, all over the world, until Herbert Hoover became the US President in 1929. Oh boy, did he change things and smarten people up. He was President till 1933. The Depression went on and on and people were still broke and hungry, but a good many criminals were gone. That was about the time Hitler raised his ugly head, and we all know what happened then. I am so sorry, but history does repeat itself.

Bye, this is my last story. (How many times has she said this?) Be kind to one another. I love you all so much. My hand is hurting today.

Love from Mom xoxo
October 3, 2009

PS: Al Capone was King in this era and had hide-outs in southern Canada, in Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC. This is old history now.

Songs from this era:

Video of flappers from the Roaring Twenties, including music.

Monday, December 7, 2015

My View #171 - Christmas - Turkey, Cake, Pudding - Oh Oh!

Christmas, yes, Christmas, what a wonderful time, in our years. Our blessings time. Our Christmas, when I was young, I can remember well.

About age 12 years, my Mom said, "Letty, it is October and we must start doing the Christmas cakes."

"Why so early?" I asked.

"Because they have to age to be at their best for Christmas."

That was ok by me, and Mom showed me how to wash the raisins, currants, and sultans, which are rather dirty when you buy them. Soak them in hot water for half an hour, stirring them and break up the clumps. Rinse in cold water and then spread them out all together to dry, for two days. You get a rude shock when you see how dirty that hot water was.

Mom said, "Look, you don't need that dirt in your tummy. Put the dirty cloth in the garbage."

We had mixed enough for 14 pounds of dark fruit cakes, and the next week we had 7 pounds of mixture for light fruit cakes. After all were baked, they were wrapped and put in a big crock, in the basement, to age.

Later, in November, we made what Mom called "keeping cookies" and "squares" and so many "fancies," enough to feed an army of guests. Root Beer was a drink the children had, it was a nice non-alcoholic one and it was parked in the basement for weeks, too. And home-made candy - we were lucky.

The turkey tale now: Don't laugh, it was not funny, but you be the judge. We got our milk from a farmer Anderson, in a small town called Pashley, near Medicine Hat, and he sold turkey You put your order in  in October, delivery date December 23rd. It was delivered dead, but with all its feathers, head and feet still attached, price $6. What a time. Mary, my sister, looked after Dad's and the boys' meals, while Mom and I did the turkey.

Here is a You-Tube video on how to pluck and clean a turkey, just in case you'd like to try this yourself. 

My Dad chopped off the head and feet, came to the back door and handed it to Mom. She knew what to do and had a pot of boiling water ready and dumped poor turkey in, up and down, up and down, for about fifteen minutes and then laid it on an old oil cloth table cover, and she and I plucked that bird. All of this took place outside, behind the house in a lean-to. Feathers were everywhere, and it was so cold out, but this is what you did. Most feathers were put in the garbage, a few big ones were kept for the boys to play "Indian Chiefs" in the summer.

Next day, Mother (what a wonderful Mom) cleaned (took all the insides out, a very dirty, stinky job,) washed the bird's white body, singed the "pin" feathers and on December 25th at 6 a.m. (bless her heart) it was ready for the oven. But o my, "love" never tasted so good, for it was for love of her family that drove her to do it, this big job, until frozen turkey came to all. We really did enjoy the end results.

So all you people, be gracious about your frozen turkeys at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Letty Evans
September 19, 2009

I remember my mother cleaning chickens, which she bought at the butcher's store plucked, with head and feet removed, but not eviscerated. Cleaning the internal organs from any animal is indeed a dirty, stinky job. The sanitized fowl we purchase now barely resemble the live animals that gave their lives so we might eat.

Letty mentions pudding in her title, but not in the post. I remember making Christmas Pudding with her, mixing the fruit, adding some sherry, and steaming them in crockery pots for hours. Then they were covered with muslin and stored for six weeks. I can still taste that pudding with the sauce she made - mouthwatering!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

My View #170 - The Way it Used to Be - and Now

Many, many years ago, small villages grew out of people's needs to be together and help one another. Typically, there was a little village square, with four sides and a road or opening to each corner or side. Mainly the needs led to a food store, a clothing store, a bank and a church. These important buildings were small and primitive, but a good place to meet, in the square. These sorts of villages still exist in some parts of the world, but are now more or less tourist attractions that people love to visit.

Most of these villages grew up near or on a river bank or a lake, the need for water and wood was very urgent. The only means of travel was on foot or horseback. So these villages grew and as more people came there, and more people were born there, the villages spread, new paths and a few buildings followed the river in both directions, causing more types of work, and changed the villages into towns. Time moved on and things improved, but travel was still by foot or horse-drawn carts.

Village life changed in many wants, hostels and pubs came with the new buildings, industry of women put materials they wove and sold, to busy buyers from other villages, causing more travel, overnight stays, and bringing interest into how to make travel better. "The coach and four" came on the scene, so a good walk became a ride to town. The "Dick Whittington" story is of this period in history.

Trains people were very busy about this time, and preparing the world for new treats that give us so much pleasure today. Trains changed many things, one of them had many people learning to tell time by a clock and not just by weather and the sun. (Incorrect. Timekeeping devices have been around since 2000 BCE.At this time trains were short, bunty, noisy things, time brings changes.

This whole story is based in England, years later Canada learned how good train travel was and worked accordingly. This is about the time the little old villages had grown into enormous cities, and all who could did a lot of travelling how times had changed. Then cars were made and towns changed very quickly.

All these things of change in the world are written up in books for all to read. It is excellent reading, and this is the end of this little glimpse into the past by me. Good night.

September 2, 2009

If you are looking for historical accuracy, please do not count on this post. Letty's interest in history is remarkable, although her knowledge did not match her curiosity.

Here are a few useful links if you want an accurate picture of the growth of towns and cities:

Friday, December 4, 2015

My View #169 - My Candle

My candle is slowly losing its glimmer. At this age you dwell a lot on your past life and what it has been all about and why. Mom once said to me, "Don't push your boat too far into the sea, when you know you can't swim." Now I know what she meant. Live in the present, the future will take care of itself. She was a wise Mom and never showed how worried she was, to the rest of us. Some things that occur in life, no-one else will know, and are taken to the grave with us.

One a more cheerful note, now I'm started on year 97, I wonder what wonders I will see before my feet grow cold. Have a laugh at my expense, and have a wonderful life. My eyes are my candles.

I just had to be a pig and write a bit more, when I said "this is the last" of my pen days.

Love from
Friday, August 28, 2009

I am happy and have a wonderful family.
Ta Ra

Mom wrote this the day after her 96th birthday. I wish I'd had the opportunity to meet my Grandmother. Sadly, she died before any of her grandchildren were born.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

My View #168 - Being Ninety-Six

One of the questions a young girl (teller) at Island Savings (Credit Union) asked, "Mrs. Evans, what does it really feel like to be nearly 100 years old?" I looked at her and grinned, and replied, "I only know, my childhood seems an awful long way off." I remember it very well, in my mind, and who I played with and went to school with. One phase of it, I liked school and learning.

First you love your husband and learn to copy with that (his death in 1996), a very hard situation to cope with sometimes, and you never forget.  Ron was the finest of men and gave me two beautiful children, Linda Ann and James Robert. Both of them are middle aged now, so you can tell how old I am. My body is not so great now, but my mind is very good and I am able to still write letters and enjoy letters that come my way, for how long I do not know. Carol Mills and her husband David are very good to me, in ways I never expected, and are more like family to me. I love them both and they are good, tough people, proved time and time again.
Ron and Letty in front of their Duncan home, 1991

I've written elsewhere of things I have lived through, happy, sad, good, bad. What is ahead for me, who knows, if only I have the courage to handle and pray, my big family will be kind to all old people, who need a little help and a kind word of encouragement, in their long journey. I have been so lucky in life and family. After many bumps in the road, you cope, and continue life's long journey.

My love to you all.

August 22, 2009

This is it. xxx

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My View #167 - When the Juice (Electricity) Goes Off

It is very quiet. No phones ringing, no TV and everything is still. Today at about 5 pm, is when it happened, and now, at 6 pm, no sound on any line.

Now at 8:30 it is working, for five minutes, not overnight. A fuse box blew, behind P.M.(sic) house and at 10:10 am today, workmen are still trying to fix it. Neighbors very helpful.

Twenty-seven hours later, we had phone service again. A transformer had blown up behind house #30. What a noise and what a fiery mess. Now I know how lonely it feels to be without a phone, very old, alone, trapped. It could have been a disaster and I hope TELUS (the phone company) learns something from it.

Sorry if I missed your calls. Not my fault. Blame poor maintenance somewhere.

August 18, 2009

I was well aware of the dangers of Letty's isolation, and had begged her off and on for years to consider moving to an assisted living facility, where there would always be other people around. At moments like this, she saw her vulnerability in sharp relief, but never enough for her to make a move.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

My View #166 - A Party

What a happy time we all had yesterday afternoon, August 12th, with all my family here, except the new bride-groom, John. Tuesday was very quiet for me, but Wednesday was lovely. Art, Linda, Bob, Rachel, Michelle, Edgar, Melinda, Riel & Santiago, cake, flowers, cameras clicking, jolly laughter, baby eyes bright and squeals of the two year old's delightful energy.

Letty and her granddaughter, Michelle Deines
I was just so happy. We talked, laughed, sang songs, had beautiful tasting birthday cake, white and green flowers on the table, everyone enjoying each other's company. My Michelle brought her wedding dress and put it on, she and I had a picture taken together in the garden. What a gorgeous dress, magenta color. How I wished John was here too, also Chuck and Jan.

Then the time of parting came, as it always does, with hugs, squeezes and kisses and goodbyes, and they left me and Bob at 3:30 to catch the ferry. Bob and I did up the dishes, and then he left. That was when I sat and cried, for my lovely family, who came from Toronto, Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria and Chemainus, to honor John and Michelle and me. What memories I have now, to record. God bless all of you, from the very young to the very old.

Thank you all. I love you.

Grandma Letty
August 13, 2009

The event was three days after John and Michelle's wedding - Michelle is my middle daughter; her new husband, John, had to work so did not come with us. Letty was not well enough to travel to Vancouver for the event, so we took the day and went to her. We celebrated her 96th birthday at the same time, fifteen days early. This was the only time she met her youngest grandchild, Santiago, who was a five-month old baby, and the last time she saw granddaughter Melinda, her husband Edgar, and their oldest child, Riel. This was an emotional post for me to read.