Kenora, Lake of the Woods did not know it harboured a beautiful lady that had also suffered much grief in her young life, and would also be known as mom’s guardian angel.
Just down the lane on River Street; there nestled a little old house that was the home to a lovely Christian lady by the name of Nell Lodge. Nell Lodge lived with her brother Jack Lodge for many years, and never did marry. Nell was the sister to my mother’s mom Constance Kenora, the first white baby to be born into the Kenora district, part of the pioneers of this beautiful Lake of the Woods.
Also known as Nellie, she was recognized as a tender dedicated christian woman who attended lakeside Baptist church regularly, and was picked up by taxi with bible in hand, as not to miss a Sunday or weekly prayer meeting. Nellie did not drive or ride bike, and walking would be difficult given her wooden leg. Sadly as a young girl Nellie had lost her leg to cancer, and lived out her years with a cumbersome wooden leg. As a young girl she had been aggressively kicked by another child, and her leg had bruised quite badly. The bruise never did heal and tragically turned into cancer and had to be amputated, in its place a wooden leg with a brace. Mom said, “Auntie Nell was never one to complain” and she looked at life and its trials that they were meant to be, as God had a purpose for her life. Unknown to her one of those purposes would be to give shelter to my mom and be one of her lovingly guardian angels.
My mother moved down to her Aunt Nell’s after her father had come back from fighting in World War Two. He had come back a changed man and held unto demons from the war; this would have a lasting impact on my mom’s young life right up until this day. Mom recalls packing up her few belongings and leaving the little red mushroom house that was her home. Left behind sadness, abuse, and shadows of night terrors that still sometimes haunt her today, Thelma Sharpe (known as Holly) would leave her footprints in the dust of River Street as she made her way down the lane to be welcomed into her guardian angels arms of love, the arms of Nellie Lodge.
Mom recalls going to Lakeside Baptist church with Nell, and one time in-particular when the young people were singing. it just so happened that Lawrence Peters was on the platform singing when Auntie Nell leaned over and said to mom, “now there’s a nice young Christian man for you” , in time mom would court Lawrence Peters and walk down the isle in Lakeside Baptist church and say their vows. With heart brimming with love Nell her guardian angel attended their union revealing a luminous smile on her face.
Many years later and through chapters of life, Holly would follow her husband to Eastern Ontario, where they reside today in the town of Hanover in a little apartment. Due to distance, and lack of funds mom was sadly unable to make the 1846 KM trip to her old home town to say good bye to her dearest Aunt Nell. Nell Lodge would later move in with her sister Constance until moving to PineCrest where she would live out her remaining years, and it was there she would hear the call of her Lord, and go to her heavenly home to meet her Saviour.
Mom’s dream is to go back to Kenora and visit Aunt Nell’s grave, bring her flowers and say good bye. This will be her final trip to Kenora, part of her “Long Good bye” closure to another chapter of her life, that held sorrow, but also was covered by the love, dedication, and protection of a dear soul; a Christian lady that I would come to know as my Great Auntie Nell, my mom’s guardian angel.
Kathy J Snow
Her daughter ~ advocate for dementia awareness and “For the Love of a Mom”
Donations are greatly appreciated through;