Halcyon days of my youth … I don’t wish to go back, I’m quite enjoying myself in the here and now.  But, Bob Dylan sang it to me when I was a teenager in the ‘60’s … “times they are a-changing”.  And they did.  And, I’d venture to say, faster than they ever did before.  Time and technology have proven to be, in my opinion, … Continue reading Overload

Art, Movies, Songs … whatever

I can shed tears when drinking in the beauty of a work of art …   One of the attractions at the World’s Fair in New York in 1964 was Michelangelo’s Pietà and Ed Sullivan highlighted this extraordinary sculpture on his Sunday night show. I was captivated by the beauty that Michelangelo wrought from a slab of Carrara marble and I never forgot my sense … Continue reading Art, Movies, Songs … whatever

Who ARE These People?

Back in April I posted that I had (finally) sent my book to print.  I had done all that I could looking at it on the computer screen.  I needed a hard copy.  I needed to feel paper between my fingers.  I needed to be able to flick back and forth between the pages.  The copy came VERY quickly and it’s taken me this long, with a vacation and double pneumonia in between, to finalize it … until the next batch of typos is rounded up ;(

It is a book of family stories, so not a huge reading audience but if you want to just take Continue reading “Who ARE These People?”


Born out of an interest in history, ancestors, and family. I find it astounding that, because of the placement of my birth in the mid-20th C, I have memories of people spanning three centuries – between my grandparents born in the late 19th C to my own grandchildren born in the 21st C. Maybe one day, a generation down the road, a genealogy-junkie descendent will … Continue reading Hallelujah!

A Woman is a Dog’s Best Friend

win badgePets galore.   First I remember Smokey and Dusty, the cats that would cling to the screen on my parents’ bedroom window to announce their desire to come in, until one morning they just never came home.  There was the budgie that had a heart attack and fell over dead one morning when the cover was removed from his cage.  The turtles … they passed of indigestion we figure, and burped themselves to death from all the moths we fed them one night.  And then there was Happy the Basset Hound. But Happy was killed outside the house one evening when one of us inadvertently left a door open.

It wasn’t that we didn’t take care of our feathered and furry friends – we just seemed to have a rather long string of unfortunate luck, until we got Betsy the Basset Hound.  She was my mother’s dog; so attached was she to my mother that she wouldn’t leave the house without her, which relieved my sister and me of dog walking duty.  Tug and pull, cajole and plead as we might, we could not get her out through the door.

Betsy gained a reputation – if there was food, anywhere, she would find it. Continue reading “A Woman is a Dog’s Best Friend”

WIN #8 Early School Years (6 to 12 yrs)

For more about Write It Now – WIN – click here.  For previous WIN posts, click here. This week the prompts are: 1.Tell us about your first day of school or your first teacher.  How old were you? Did you like school? Why or why not? What subjects did you enjoy? 2. Did your family believe school was important? Are there teachers who particularly helped … Continue reading WIN #8 Early School Years (6 to 12 yrs)

Passing through the Portal

win badge Anxious, excited, apprehensive, I kept close to my mother’s side, within reach of her hand should I need an extra measure of comfort as I watched the other fidgeting five and six-year olds grouped in clusters about the cavernous room, some holding fast to their mother’s hand. It is September, 1955. Continue reading “Passing through the Portal”

Mum’s Bundle of Joy

win badgeIt was a winter Friday when I was born.   I stayed in the hospital with Mum for two weeks while she recovered from her birthing experience.  Later, as a grown up and mother of three who only got 48 hours to recover, I thought that was a bit excessive.  My mother stayed in the hospital longer recovering from me than she did recovering from the open heart surgery she had 47 years later.  My own daughter only stayed in the hospital about 5 hours after she gave birth.   Give it another generation and we will have come full circle and parents-to-be will just forego the trek to the hospital and be birthing babies at home again.

On examination after delivery the doctor announced that Continue reading “Mum’s Bundle of Joy”

“Ohhh, You’re the One …”

I discovered another challenge.  This Weekend Theme is from SidevieW and the theme: Birth

The greatest natural high that life could offer was coursing through me as I floated above and beyond, my tiny newborn tucked safely in my arms.  Ohhhh, she was beautiful.  I peered at my tiny, perfect baby and  in my heightened awareness I felt the wellspring of love bubble inside me as I slipped into her embrace.

Motherhood was not a given for me; as a young bride I recall not wanting to become pregnant because I had things to see and places to be.  After one such trip during which I spent considerable time with two young children I realized that yes, now I was ready for motherhood. However, we rode a roller coaster Continue reading ““Ohhh, You’re the One …””

Lot 22

win badgeFor more about Write It Now – WIN – click here. For other WIN  posts click here

This year is the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, the only war fought on Canadian territory.  This story seemed appropriate.  Stewart and Mary are my 4x great grandparents.

By May of 1812 Stewart Grafton and Mary McCool had made their way from the Carolinas all the way to York, present day Toronto.  Once there Stewart sought and secured an interview with Sir Isaac Brock, military commander and administrator of Upper Canada, telling him of their adventures.  After settling his family Stewart joined the York Militia.

On October 13, 1812 Stewart was on the field at Queenston Heights, the largest battle at that point in the war between United States regulars and New York militia forces and the British Forces, led by Major General Sir Isaac Brock. Before the battle was over Continue reading “Lot 22”

Angel of Mercy

For more about Write It Now – WIN – click here. For other WIN  posts click here

In 1823 Thomas Grafton married Hulda Hopkins and settled down to farming and raising a family … and then cholera struck.  The disease was first noticed among British troops in India in 1817 and it spread around the world, through Russia, Germany, England and to Canada by the early 1830s.  It struck more than one of my relatives and raised another to be the closest we have to sainthood. Continue reading “Angel of Mercy”

WIN #1 The Early Years

In an earlier post I introduced the writing program WIN – Write It Now. There were a couple of readers who nibbled at the idea so I thought I would plunge in and forge ahead.

To encapsulate the essence of the previous post – WIN is the acronym for Write it Now – it is not a creative writing course and there are no critiques.  It’s purpose is to encourage us to write our life’s stories – not just the events but our reaction to the events; not just the people who have populated our lives, but the little insights or tales that will bring them into focus for our children and later generations.

Because, when we go, unless we have written them down, our stories go with us.  Or perhaps you have an aging parent, aunt, grandparent – time is of the essence, to glean what you can of all the wonderful stories that decorate their lives.

The founder developed an outline to help us tap into these memories and family stories.   It is not intended that we necessarily write on every point; they are merely an aid to help nudge the memories loose, to give us a starting point.

So, for those that wish to join me on the journey, the first sessions are on the Early Years. Here are the prompts to awaken your memories and hopefully start you on your way.

1.  Where did your ancestors come from? When did they come? Where did they settle?

2.  What early memories do you have of your mother?  What did you learn from her?

3.  What about your father – your early memories? What did you learn from him?

Remember, the goal is just to write it, now, in whatever words come.  If you would like to share it, please leave a link in the comments section below.  If you don’t wish to share it, just a comment that you did indeed Write it Now would be great.

I chose to write about my ancestors. This is my story: Continue reading “WIN #1 The Early Years”

Three for Three

I read a post on Dear Friends about the lessons we give our children.  I say “give” because our children are always learning, even when we aren’t teaching.  And it’s important that what they learn by watching us is what we actually want them to learn.

The first time I looked into the face of my first-born child I recall so very vividly, and with panic, wondering how I would ever Continue reading “Three for Three”

Changing Gears

win badgeChanging gears a bit – I will return to my Wales saga tomorrow …

Seven years ago I began participating in a different kind of writing program – it’s not a creative writing course and there are no critiques.  It’s purpose is to encourage us to write our life’s stories.  We all have stories.  “J’écris ma vie” was started by Olivier Fillion, a Frenchman in Quebec.  The seed for “J’écris ma vie” (literally, “I write my life”) was probably planted during his years in public relations where his work included meeting with retiring staff and writing something about their life.  From that Fillion went on to develop an outline for tapping into one’s memories to produce family stories for the next generation.

He developed it as a two-year program, meeting every two weeks to share stories.  At each session a guide or ‘prompt sheet’ is distributed with questions – it is not intended that we necessarily write on every point; they are merely an aid to help nudge the memories loose.  The program starts with the early years, looking back to our ancestors, values and beliefs, brothers and sisters, and moves through childhood, adolescence, love and romance, parenting and family life to retirement and the golden years. A member of our community took it upon himself to translate Fillion’s program into English and W.I.N. – Write it Now – came into being.

A ‘”two-year” program that has kept both me and my husband engaged with an interesting, fun, humorous and sometimes sad, sympathetic and empathetic community of new friends for seven years.  It re-awakened my joy in writing and gave structure to my jottings.

A simple prompt from the first sheet, The Early Years: “What early memories do you have of your grandparents?” prompted me to write the following: Continue reading “Changing Gears”

There will never be another Jaxxon

An anniversary today, a sad one.  It’s been a year since we lost our dear, sweet Jaxxon.  Man’s best friend? Yes.  A comfort?  Yes.  Home-grown amusement?  Yes.  A frequent topic of conversation?  Yes.   A warm and fuzzy?  Yes.  A loving companion? Yes.  Do we miss him?  Yes, yes, and yes again.

We got Jax because of my husband – never had a dog that was just his, wanted one, we got one.  I was more hesitant. I’d had ‘my dog’ – Continue reading “There will never be another Jaxxon”