Tuesday, March 31, 2015

To My Mom

Dear Mom,

Could you have imagined it? I'm putting your writings on the internet, and people from all over the world are reading.

Russia, England, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Spain, Germany, Canada of course, even Singapore. Most of your readers are Americans, since that's where I live, and some of them are friends I know.

I don't know who the others are, but I want to thank all your readers in every corner of the globe. Mom, they like your writings. Two friends have even suggested I should publish your writings as a book, but I'm not sure I have the time for that, since I'm writing a book of my own.

Anyway, Mom, I'm glad I decided to write this blog and share you with hundreds, maybe thousands, of people.

Love,
Annie

PS to all my readers: because I have a separate URL rather than a Google URL, your comments are not coming through. I can't read them even on my back end. I'd love to publish them, so feel free to email me at anngmesa@gmail.com and I will do an addition to posts with your comments.

MY VIEW #29 - Joints

Yes, this is all about joints, no, not the kind you carve for Sunday dinner, not even the kind some people roll up in paper, light up and smoke, no, no.

This is all about "knee joints" and I do know a lot about them. At 19 years of age I injured mine while ice skating. After the surgery the doctor told my parents "they didn't know much about, or how to treat knee injuries" Very honest guys in those days. Anyway, I was on crutches for 3 weeks and got it to a sitting position. That was that and no more pain There was no such thing as physiotherapy in 1932.
Letty with crutches on the train with son Bob, in the 1950s. She was on holiday despite recovering from surgery.
Years later, and seven more surgeries later, using a cane over a 50 year period, I graduated to a walker which has four wheels, what an improvement. Bless the inventors and manufacturers, they get full marks from me. I can go anywhere at any time, basket ready for any shopping, a seat to sit on when I'm tired, brakes, and very light. I'm the luckiest 93 year old in the neighborhood, and I walk every day. To walk is a pleasure I've always enjoyed, and still do. Forget the pain and get out there and walk.

Letty
November 15, 2006

Letty's knee surgeries took up a lot of her life. Usually, it was only her left knee, but in her late 70s, she had knee replacement surgery on both knees. Physiotherapy enabled her to get more movement in the left knee than she'd had for years, but the right knee replacement was less successful. Eventually, after fifteen years, both replacements failed, but by then she was too old to re-do the surgery.

She did not walk with a cane for anything close to 50 years; that would have taken her cane-using days back to her 40s. I remember her having to go sideways down steps because her knee wouldn't bend far enough, but she didn't consistently use a cane until into her 80s just before the replacment surgery. 

I remember trying to convince her to use a walker several years before she "graduated" to one from the cane. She was far more stable and no doubt saved herself from several falls.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

MY VIEW #28 - The Light in My Window

It's only a street lamp.
I go to bed and switch off mine,
Pull the shades up
And there is the "light."
It shines across my bed,
Bright comfort, since I lost Ron.
Lets me think of stars and him
Before the dark dawn.
Tomorrow won't be long breaking,
A new day creates.
Then I can sleep
The "light" is still there.
An answer to prayer.

Letty
11 pm, Nov 14, 2006

Thursday, March 26, 2015

MY VIEW #27 - Time

Time is "of the essence," it is said, but I am not so sure, unless they mean it is all alike. I do know TIME directs and rules our lives. All our statistics are recorded as to "hour, day, month, year" on paper, or in our minds, the honourable or terrible truths of where we were at a certain time. Look at your kitchen calendar, it keeps "time" of you. I have kept a few over the years, and sure enough, time is "of the essence," I told you so, say the sooths- ha ha!

It is too bad, life is so driven by time. We should enjoy more. Just to be able to sit and see, just one flower open its petals. In one 24 hour period, just sit by it, or lie beside it, to watch how it happens. Not just walk by and say, "Oh! that will be open tomorrow, it should be beautiful." But "I haven't time, I have to have lunch made by 12:30." Such a waster of beauty and education.

Ok, fire me! I was only watching a flower bloom. Ha ha!

It is time I finished this episode of "My View." Thanks, Carol, for ignoring all the fibs I told, of this being the "last issue."
Letty enjoying time with Setta our first Old English Sheepdog

Letty
November 12, 2006
(See, just marking time.)

Mom did not understand the concept, "time is of the essence," which is used in contracts such as real estate and litigation. It means that there is a time limit on the contract, and things that need to be done, such as a home inspection or obtaining a loan, must be done in a timely manner.

However she makes a good point about our time-obsessed society. I don't think I could spend 24 hours non-stop, watching one flower, but taking time to enjoy life is something I'm learning to do in my retirement.

Mom says many times in her writings that the current one is her last. As you'll see, if you stick with this blog, her writings went on until her last few years.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

MY VIEW #26 - Pass It On


 When we are born we have no teeth, and our appearance favours one parent. When we have our "baby teeth" our face changes, and we could look like the other parent. Then when the baby teeth fall out the permanent teeth change the face once more, and we note these changes with surprise.

Then all of a sudden "puberty" comes along, and everything changes. We definitely follow the pattern, of mom or dad. It is so very interesting to see a little of each parent emerging. A very young adult arrives, who, through the years, will carry a little or a lot of one or both parents' looks.

It is an interesting study, to me, and I wonder if other people think of it, as I do? I hope so.

Letty
Hallowe'en Night
October 31, 2006

A quick internet search reveals a huge human fascination for how our faces change and how features are passed down genetically from one generation to the other. The photo is from one of the hundreds of web sites on the subject.


Monday, March 23, 2015

MY VIEW #25 - Man's Inhumanity

AP Photo of cyclists killed by aircraft machine guns, in Belgium
When France was invaded and overrun during the War, a hopeless feeling ran rampant in the world. We were very scared, hoping and praying for help.

As always the newspapers and radio were our only source of information. Sometimes it was one week, or two or three, before you got any news of events (not like today when news is instantaneous) and we held our breath.  All of Europe was in an uproar of fear. One of the horrible pictures in the news showed people, hundreds, trying to escape Paris, running along roads, and aircraft fighters using their machine guns and shooting, so many trying to get away and live. What an awful scene, to see bodies blown to bits. It's a terrible price to pay. I hope I never see such again.

Sorry, love, but I feel a bit better for telling this tale. Be careful, loves. I love you all.

(This is the 4th and last war story I will write.)
Mom
October 30, 2006

It occurs to me that most of the generation that was in any of the many war zones for WWII, likely suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, to some extent or another. My mother never told me these stories when I was young, and knowing that soldiers returning from war zones benefit from being able to share their stories, I can see why she says she feels better for sharing this awful experience.

MY VIEW #24 - "Where is my Mommy?"

A child and her doll in London during WWII
During the "Blitz" on London, the East End was particularly in a bad way. Riding through it after hostilities ceased was a shock. I was on my own at the time and I remembered so vividly that picture of a little girl, about 5 years old,and wondered if she survived her ordeal.

That picture of a bombing raid in which a building of four stories, stood, of which the whole front wall had been sliced off. All the floors were open to a view of the world, and on the third floor, all alone, looking out and crying, a little girl of about 5. My heart went out to her, poor child. I'll always remember.

This is my 3rd picture I can't forget. She would be about 65 now, and will have her own stories to tell.

Letty Evans
November 1, 2006
This photo is not the one my mother remembered, but it captures the same sense of devastation, abandonment, and loss that the little girl must have felt. I think of the children in Syria and Nigeria right now, experiencing the same kind of trauma. Why are humans such a destructive, aggressive species?

Friday, March 20, 2015

MY VIEW #23 - Cold Comfort, a World War II Memory

I have heard it said that a problem or trouble shared with another cuts the pain in half and makes life a bit lighter. What brought this on is a long-standing group of war pictures of stark clarity, from World War II, that won't leave me. There were four, now there are three, and since I put one on paper, that remedy has worked, so I now plan to do the others.

It was early on in the war, Stalingrad was under attack, in bitter cold winter weather, city people fleeing by the hundreds, just in the clothes they wore, In the "news reels" in the movie houses we saw the war stories. This picture I've remembered for sixty years, was of a young mother, lying in the snow on her back, holding up her small baby, so it wouldn't be in the snow, both of them frozen solid. I cried for these two. War is such a cruel job. I hope this helps me. Very sad story. What a trophy of war.


Love from Mom xxx
November 1, 2006

I searched and searched but could not find that photo online, but I did find many photos of the siege of Stalingrad. This photo shows several children frozen to death.

MY VIEW #22 - Smoke

Smoke is like fine music, light and airy and asks to be noticed.
High and low at times, to match our moods.
you can find most rainbow colours in smoke,
From deepest black to pure white.
Sometimes it brings us sorrow and sometimes delight.


We all learned lessons at school that "hot air rises and cold air rushes in to take its place." (Our brains are marvellous storehouses. I am 93 and still remember that definition.)

When we are little we are taught to respect smoke and to learn it is caused by fire, which can kill.

Years ago in England, in the industrual North, mills and factories turned out many tons of extra smoke, to hide railways, viaducts and bridges from German bombers in the war, and it paid off.

My Father smoked a pipe, blew smoke-rings for us to put our fingers through. Fun!

Besides what we see, smoke smells and contains elements of whatever is burning, usually very bad for our health. It can be used for fun, like a bonfire at Halloween, with hotdogs, marshmallows and lots of laughter. This is fun and we had many happy evenings in our back yard, with the Fosters. Good memories, kids, yes.

Mom
October 2006

I didn't know about the extra production of smoke to discourage bombers in WWII, but I do remember bonfires in our back yard once all the vegetables had been harvested. Many marshmallows were roasted and plenty of neighbours gathered round. Mom made hot chocolate, the real thing from cocoa, sugar, and milk. They are good memories. Thanks, Mom.


MY VIEW #21 - Swimming Holes

Letty about age 5 and her brother Charlie about age 4

The first swimming pool we used was a paddle pool in Central Park, one block away from our house. As you can guess, we spent a lot of time there. It was around 20' x 40' and 1 foot deep at each end and 2 feet deep in the middle, just right for small kids to play. (The photo above was taken there, about 1918.)

On 6th Street there were cement footings for a large hotel (which was never built) that just sat there. This was during the drought-striken 20s and Council decided to turn a part of the cement jungle into a good swimming pool, and they did. It was a large, deep pool, 3 diving boards, lots of tiered seating, and really nice dressing rooms and showers. It cost us 10 cents to swim after 6 pm, but war free all day from 6 am, so we were in the water all summer. We even got my Father in once and my Uncle Fred.

A bit later two other pools were built, one on the "Flats" and one on "River Side." Not bad for a small town in the 1920s. We all learned to swim, Mary and Charlie were the best, I was the best "floater." Lots of fun and everyone should learn to swim. It's a lovely sport, we loved to swim in the river too.

Mom
October 2006

Thursday, March 19, 2015

MY VIEW #20 - Things that Really Upset Me

1. Cruelty in any form.

2. High stocked shelves in grocery stores, which short women cannot reach.

3. "Respect" is a lost word in our world today, both "self-respect" and "respect for others." Occasionally you see it, or feel it, what a wonderful feeling that is, to know "respect" still lives.

4. Children who scream or raise cane because Mom won't give in and buy them something they want.

5. "Made in China" on all we buy now.

6. Not enough nurses in our hospitals.

7. Not enough homes for poor, luckless people.

8. The poor quality of music, pushed to our young people today.

9. People who talk with their hands, in constant motion, as if their mouth is not able, on its own. So distracting. I watch those hands and don't listen to what they say. It's nuts!

I guess this is enough grumbling for one morning.
Have a good day, anybody! Love is the best thing.
I love you all.

Mom xxxx
October 24, 2006

MY VIEW #19 - Dinner at the Clubhouse

Letty lived for nearly twenty years in Holmes Creek Estates, a community for active adults over fifty. She outlived many of the residents and was the oldest resident there. They looked in on her, picked up her mail, and kept an eye on her yard and house.

Yes, we have a Clubhouse, not very big and not very grand, but we do have one and we love it. Last night, we had our monthly get-together, there, an Italian (proper Italian) dinner. My word, it was so good, spaghetti in sauce, meatballs in sauce, luscious green salad, and buttered garlic thick sliced bread. There was coffee and wine, to wash it all down. There was lots of laughter, story-telling, and good-natured leg-pulling and shrieks of joy. What a happy bunch we were!

After dessert was passed around, amid joy and questions on size, one answer was "just enjoy and eat," so we did, amid words of "Gosh! Wow! How rich, how delicious" and we just love it.

We usually have 36-40 at our dinners. We don't always have special kinds of meals.

It is just the spirit in the place, any excuse will act as a cause to gt together, for a dinner or a potluck. We love to talk, eat, have a glass of wine from one of the bottles lined up on the old "Hi-Fi*." what is so nice is the friendship and camaraderie we have. I don't know of anyone here who would not help his/her next door neighbour, and that is something to be very proud and grateful for.

After this tasty meal we felt like we could "lick our plates" - oh yes!

Letty Evans
October 18, 2006

* Hi Fi means "high fidelity" and was the word for old-fashioned record players that up to the 1970s were a standard fixture in most homes. They were in a large wooden console with speakers and room to store the large LP records. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

MY VIEW #18 - What is Courage?

Rescuers helping an injured man during the London Blitz - London Telegraph photo
Years ago, about 1944, during the last world war, while I lived in England, newspapers were limited in size (only 4 pages) and everyone read and saved them. About once a week room was allowed for a picture and story of someone showing "special" braveness (sic.) There were lots of stories, but the picture and story that is still in my heart and memory is this one.

It appeared in our paper one day, a photo of an old lady and a young serviceman. No-one knew who they were, for a while. A bomb landed in London, a lot killed, some lived, and all was dust and destruction. After all the noise, uncanny quiet, and those alive wondering "who will rescue me?" ARP  (Air Raid Precautions) soon on the spot, looking for live people. How wonderful to hear their welcome, calming voices, after lying in the wreckage, with the smell of death and fear, for hours. "We'll have you out of here in no time, love, just hang on."

The old lady and young man were trapped by a big metal, twisted, beam, lying across their legs, just below their knees, and they couldn't move. You could imagine them, stuck, very dirty, scared and wet, telling each other their life stories, over the hours, waiting for rescue. Finally they were rescued, but the old lady had just died. The man lived, unhurt. Both his legs were artificial legs and he could have unbuckled them and crawled off to safety, but he stayed with the old lady, to keep her company and not let her die alone. I let you draw your own conclusion.

Was he brave? Very, and I'm glad I told you this story of courage.

Letty Evans
October 14, 2006

MY VIEW #17 - The Pecking Order

To me it seemed to be a "slang" expression, but we are never too old to learn something. Last Thursday, while shopping, I bought a new bird feeder, my old one had fallen apart and I love to watch the birds feed in the Fall. The old feeder used to hang on the fence, this one I hung in one of my cherry trees, where I could watch much easier.

Little juncos and finches and sparrows soon found it, and had a great time. So I stood for half an hour at the window to watch. Soon robins came, and the little birds flew off, giving in to the robins. Then blue jays came, and the robins gave way to the jay, and like the little birds, kept their distance. A few minutes later crows arrived, and the jays gave way to the crows. I was thunderstruck at this, and then two squirrels came and climbed the tree and all the birds sat back, while the greedy, destructive squirrels had their way. they did their best to pull the feeder down. I went out and nearly reached them before they fled. As it was nearly empty I took it down, washed and filled it and will hang it in a different place tomorrow.

So I'm wiser, and now know the "pecking order" in life is for real, even in the bird world. I guess its the same in the human world. The biggest and strongest rule. Quite sad, I think.

Bless the little birds, you are delightful.

Letty Evans
October 11, 2006

Saturday, March 14, 2015

MY VIEW #16 - GLUE

The Glue

Everyone has heard of glue. There are many kinds of glue, white, brown, and grey, it smells yucky and sometimes stinks. It is sticky, no doubt you have had an encounter with it and had a job to let go of it. One thing for sure, like stamps, once it is fastened on an envelope, you let it stay.

There are certain people in our race (human), just like glue, and many, many of them are MOTHERS. All over the world, mothers are the "glue" that holds a family together. Spread thick in some cases and a bit thinner in others. In many cases a thin fragile glue is present, but still there, waiting to be re-stuck. Happy thoughts waiting in the background to be freed. Glue is tenacious stuff and never really gives up. It leaves a mark. I love glue!

(Jan McIntyre inspired me to write the above.) 
Jan McIntyre was the wife of the minister at Letty's church, St. Andrew's Presbyterian in Duncan, BC, Canada.

Shadows

The sun shines bright upon the wall,
The white outside wall of a house.
A large rose bush, shed of flowers,
Paints a picture of shadows.
It looks like a seascape,
Dark and light serene,
A picture to make hearts flutter,
A picture pure and clean.
Soon it fades and vanishes,
No longer light and shade.
Full sun now hits the wall,
The picture in its grave.

Letty Evans
October 11, 2006

MY VIEW #15 - I WONDER

A Wonderer's Look at Life

I wonder why I wonder, is it natural?

I wonder why we don't run out of clouds.

What makes us want to listen to a clock tick?

Why do bubbles always make me laugh?

Why do certain colours please they eye or not?

Who invented the tooth brush or scissors, or many, many things we use each day?

Who told us we were short or tall, and games we played, I wonder who started all those things?  I loved most games but only two I was good at, skipping and playing "jacks."

Why do I wonder where it all started?

I wonder what made men want to sail, and where all the wood for furniture came from.

Why do we go to bed at night instead of day time? Is it due to the sun, I wonder?

I wonder why we eat warm food. Cold food is just as healthy.

How long will I live, I wonder, and when will I die? I wonder if it will finish in a sudden flurry, that would be nice, no fuss.

I wonder if someone will say, "Kid, you needn't wonder now, you are going to join your Ron, and it is Mission Accomplished." Oh my!!

Letty Evans
September 2006

Letty had over eight years still to live when she penned this. She talked often of death, her desire to die, even, and rejoin her husband of 52 years, Ron.

Monday, March 9, 2015

MY VIEW #14 - LEARNING MEMORIES (You learn again what you remember)

THE RIVER

I come from haunts of coot and heron,
And make a sudden sally,
To sparkle out among the fern,
And bikker down the valley.
Of twenty hills I've hurried down,
Or slipped between the ridges,
Of twenty thorps I hurry down,
Those twenty thorps, a hundred towns,
And half a hundred bridges,
Then on and on and on I go, to join the mighty river,
For men may come, and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

Anon.

Letty did not know the author of this lovely little poem, and neither do I , so if any reader recognizes it, please let me know so I can give the author credit.

She included in this "View", the words of several old songs her father and mother sang to her. Rather than write those words here, her comments on the songs shall suffice:

My Mother sang us fun songs and lullabies, my Dad sang us funny songs. Good memories. We lost them young, they were wonderful people, and I miss them.

Letty Evans. Sept 19, 2006

My Grandmother died in her sixties of septecemia from a botched surgery. My Grandfather died in his early seventies of a heart attack. Really not early for the 1940s, but I think Letty's comments indicate just how long ago it was since she had seen them.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

MY VIEW #13 - "Life is Not as Easy as it Used to Be...!!"

Whoever wrote that is very young.
Life has never been easy.
It is hard, unpredictable, unforgiving, also beautiful and curious.
Troubles never come in singles, except in tennis or golf.
That troubles come in groups, is the rule.

We start out small, a tiny baby, helpless, hungry, cold, in need of comfort. Most of us started this way and received all this, with love. In some lands they are born, neglected and die. Life can be very hard, when we really think of others.

We are given choices in life, from childish habits, to fully grown adults, to try to be a help and comfort to other humans. But that doesn't always work as it is supposed to. There is jealousy, hatred, and love, which is predominant, in some lands but not all lands. It makes our own choices hard to assess. We do our best and "sink or swim," as the saying goes.

When you're very old, 80s, 90s, and 100s, you have a heavy load on your mind of "why didn't I do better?" Even thinking about ourselves and our doubts is a very hard pill to swallow. A man wrote:

"A wise old owl sat on an oak,
The more he saw the less he spoke,
the less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can't we be like that old bird?"

Would like be much easier? I don't know. It is still hard.

Letty Evans
September 1, 2006

This rather sad, wistful entry suggests that Letty was not altogether satisfied with all her life decisions and accomplishments. We don't often get a view of Letty questioning herself, and I think she tells us why: questioning ourselves is hard. The poem you may recognize as an old nursery rhyme. I think Letty wanted an easy answer that she did not find.



Saturday, March 7, 2015

MY VIEW #12 - Blind Staggers

When I was a child of 12 - 16, things occurred that I didn't understand until a year or two ago. Mom and Dad had farm friends who came to visit and chat. In those days children were supposed to be "seen and not heard," so we became good listeners. It is only a small item, but it gts stored in the brain and out it comes, years later, about "Blind Staggers."

Quite often, most of the farmer would mention that they had to put a cow down that week. We listened, fascinated, to all the gory details, how the cows acted, trying to walk backwards and falling down, unable to get up. So a cow was taken away on a stone-boat, off from the house, a big hole was dig, the cow shot, put in the hole and buried. No other cows had it.

One farmer thought his cow had found a patch of "loco" weed and eaten it. It was deadly stuff and most farmers cleared the land of it.

This could be happening again, in the argument between the USA and Canada, about Beef - what do you think? It is worth a "good think" say I.

Love from Mom
Sunday, July 23, 2006

This really is my last bulletin.

I had never heard of blind staggers, but it actually exists and is caused by selenium poisoning from certain plants. Selenium toxicity in animals is described by Cornell University experts if you follow the link. The farmers were right about a "loco weed."

This is clearly nothing to do with the occasional tension between USA and Canada over beef, usually about mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encepalopathy, which can be transmitted to humans.

A stone boat is a sledge used for moving heavy objects. They were made of wood or steel, formerly pulled by horses or oxen, now pulled by tractors.

My View #11 - SHOES


More than half the population of the world live in a tropical or sub-tropical climate and do not wear shoes. Some peoples don't know what shoes are! To the rest of the races it is a necessity, to wear shoes of some sort. As I am a native of Canada, all need shoes. There is so much variety in footwear, so I am in a hunt to write about it, and see what you think of "my view."

I imagine the word "Schuh" is German, and means "cover for foot" in skin, canvas or so, with a thick sole (from dictionary.)

Shoes come in all sizes and colour, my memory of them are button boots, black and grey, and these were for Sunday. On a weekday, or a play day, we wore brown, leather, T-strap sandals, or went barefoot. That was most comfortable. House slippers were great, mine were red and Mary's blue. I don't know if the boys wore any. To swim we wore rubber slip-ons, which made your feet feel heavy, but there were rocks on the bottom of the river and lake.

Later, "black patent" leather came on the market, and Mom gave me and Mary "Mary Jane" ankle strap shoes. Oh my, we were so happy! Mind you, you only wore these Sundays or special days. We thought they would last forever, but our feet kept growing. It was about this time, me 6 and Mary 8, I looked at adult women's feet and saw the heels on their shoes. I was a slow learner I guess. Anyway, why were heels so different, some high, some low, some thick and some narrow? Big question - ask Mother - "which way would my heels grow?" and "when does this happen?" Oh, innocent childhood, I was a worried 6 year old. My Mom looked at me funny, then laughed and took me into her bedroom and we discussed the problem. Years later, when she reminded me of that, we laughed our heads off. Poor innocent kids, get worried over the darndest things, especially in the dark, at night. I've always been "afraidy-cat" - go ahead an laugh, its true.

Men are bigger than us and have big feet, and depending on what link of work, results in work related type of shoes or boots worn. Fishermen have special chest high waders with boots attached inside. Men in the Forces wear a big variety, lace-up usually, black. Sailors wear a certain type, readily removed if they fall overboard. Grandpas wore soft comfy slippers and babies wore soft knitted booties. So this is the end of my yarn.

Letty Evans
July 2006

My mother would have loved the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada. I wish I could have taken her there.