Tokens of Love
Kathy J. Snow (Peters)
…”Believing the bond of love they had for each other, still holds their hearts close, and I believe her guardian angel watches over her from above”.
Growing up with the privilege of having a Great Auntie Nell, made it possible for my heart to treasure special trinkets, fond memories, and invaluable stories shared with and by mom. There are so many I am quite sure out of five siblings some of our treasures will be photo copies of notable memories, but savour and expressed from our hearts in each our own way.
I can still hear her laugh and the way her head would slightly shake as her lips formed the most beautiful smile. I can see her black shoes in my mind, and still remember how fascinated I was why one shoe had a much higher heel. Her walk although unbalanced due to her wooden leg, held character, and with each step was a reminder of how she had lost her leg as a child to cancer.
I will do my best not to share too many unforgettable(s) as to leave some to be shared by others… I do however recall one of Great Aunt Nell’s special talents, as she held a crochet hook in her hand, wonderful masterpieces were created! I remember one year in my birthday card, along with the paper clipped five dollar bill was a beautiful hand crocheted cross bookmark! I treasured this bookmark and was so very proud of it, but sadly as a child things tend to be misplaced, and not valued until as an adult you start to look back over the years, and those trinkets hold so much more value and you wish you had kept them in a special box!
One day on one of my regular weekend visits with mom, we were organizing her drawers when we came across Great Auntie Nell’s bible! I opened the worn cover reverently, and with delight turned the discoloured pages. Running my fingers over the hand written notes Great Auntie Nell had written, my heart rejoiced that mom had this beautiful keepsake from her Guardian Angel! As I turned a few more pages, there in the book of Matthew nestled between verses was an old crocheted cross bookmark! My eyes welled up with tears as mom took the cross and held it to her heart. Mom held the bookmark and with a smile filled with tenderness, a voice filled with love and respect mom looked at me and said, “My dear Aunt Nell made this”. Very carefully mom placed the bookmark back in its place, but not before reading a verse. It has become a special time with mom now; on my visits we get Great Aunt Nell’s bible out and read a verse together, marking where we have read with that very special memento ~ a hand crafted book mark, crocheted by mom’s guardian angel.
Forever keeping alive this beautiful memory of this kindred soul, and loving heart; I pray that this will be one memory that dementia will never steal from my dear mom, the memory of her “guardian angel”.
Kathy J. Snow
A Trip Down Memory Lane
M.G Jaraway (Peters)
…Yes, it’s been many years, but the memories remain as close to my heart now as they’ve always been.
Today, if anyone were to walk with me down the lane to River Street’s end in Kenora Ontario, there would be nothing but an empty overgrown lot where a tar-paper house once stood, the house of my great aunt Nellie.
My memories don’t seem to go any further back in time than when I was ten years old and a first trip to Kenora to Grand-dad and Grandma Sharpe’s; mom’s parents. Even from that first visit we always looked forward to the trip because after we’d spend the first half hour or so visiting our grand parents it also meant a skip down the lane for a visit with our Great Aunt Nellie.
Now, “Taking my finger out of the dike” decades later, the memories come flooding back.
Yes, it’s been many years, but the memories remain as close to my heart now as they’ve always been.
“You think you’ll never remember the details from so long ago, but all I had to do is find a quiet, comfortable place and write one line. That’s when you start to remember things all over again. It’s incredible.”
I remember the expression of surprise when we walked in the door. She never knew when to expect us. There was always an ice cream cone, a glass of lime freshie and cheezies. I don’t remember her ever being without them.
I remember the prosthetic shoe and the gimp in her walk caused by a wooden leg worn because she’d lost her own to Cancer at a very young age; some child had kicked her in the shin causing bruising.
I remember the many crocheted and knitted items. The love that went into every stitch. The baby buntings, and table clothes, dollies and bookmark crosses. In time she taught me to do the same. To this day along with the cherished memories tucked in my heart I have several heirlooms tucked in my own “tickle trunk” of treasures.
Years later I also fulfilled a mother’s request. With my own creative talents I designed a head stone marker for her unmarked grave.
So many dear to the heart memories across time.
…“It’s funny how we remember the adorable little idiosyncrasies she had. They were so heart warming”
Although quite young at the time, I remember hearing Great Auntie Nell laugh and thinking how it made me feel so comforted and happy. I can still close my eyes and see her smile, and hear her wonderful giggle. I recall with such fond memories the excitement looking forward to her little gift of ribbon and crocheted crosses for our bibles. I can still see her always sitting at her little kitchen table as she would listen to our little conversations and with her habit of nodding and saying,“yes ummhmm”.
I call to mind walking down to her little house from Grandma Sharpes, she gave me fresh sweet cantaloupe along with a vanilla ice cream in a pointed cone, and I remember uncle jack coming downstairs to join in.
To this day when I buy cones for ice cream for my home, they have to be pointed. Just that little thing makes me feel she is always nearby.
I will never forget this wonderful lady, and so thankful she was chosen to be our mom’s guardian angel.
The Impact of Love
Janice M. Fehr (Peters)
…I would go there by myself. It felt like a “secret garden” like it was some kind of fairy land. I don’t know why, but it was just a special place.
There is a street in Kenora, Ontario that holds very special memories for me as a little girl growing up. As a child you do not realize how very special these memories are while you are living them. You don’t realize that one day, you will have to say goodbye, and that these people who we just take for granted when you are young, will one day leave us, and all we will have left are these very treasured memories…
My Great-Auntie Nell was one of these people who as a child, I dearly loved. She had a wooden leg that just intrigued me as a little girl, and also endured me to her. I don’t ever remember her complaining about it, I don’t remember her ever complaining about anything, actually. (I don’t remember Grandma Sharpe ever complaining either. I think they had learned the secret of true contentment.) Auntie Nell was so very special. There was just something so very special about her that children loved, you KNEW she loved you, you could FEEL it.
We very frequently made the trip to Kenora from Vermilion Bay to visit Grandma and Granddad on River Street, where they lived in a little mushroom house. As a child, I thought nothing about how small or old the house was, I just LOVED it. It was Grandma’s house period. I loved the old cupboards, I loved the melmac tea cups and saucers she served tea and shortbread cookies to us with. Grandma Sharp loved children, and she always used to say: “we just have the best looking children, don’t we!” After visiting with Grandma Sharpe for about 45 mins, I would skip down the lane to another very special place; Auntie Nell’s house. It too was a very old and small house. It absolutely broke my heart when they tore it down! I wanted to preserve that house FOREVER!
Whenever, I opened the door at Auntie Nell’s, she always had a pleased and happy smile for me.
She ALWAYS gave us a pointed ice cream cone with French Vanilla “Blue Boy” ice cream. I don’t think there was one single time, we didn’t get one of those special ice creams! She always had cheezies, and rice krispie cake too, or assorted shortbread cookies in tins. Her house always smelled like Chicken Pot Pie, and I loved that.
Auntie Nell was a professional knitter. I always marvelled how she could sit and talk and visit, her fingers flying as she knitted without even watching what she was doing… how did she remember what row she was on? She must have had all those patterns permanently memorized in her head!
I remember sitting on the couch with her at around the age of six while she patiently taught me how to cast on stitches, and knit and purl, it is a memory fixed in my mind forever. I also loved looking at her knitting, it was so even and perfect, like it was made by a machine… she made me her beautiful heirloom baby shawl when I had my first baby,(which I passed on to my oldest daughter) and numerous little layette outfits.
Every Easter and Halloween, we received a parcel in the mail from Kenora from Auntie Nell. I was always so touched and thrilled, and it was so special. In it was rice krispie squared, chocolates, candy, cookies, nuts, etc… and every birthday, we received a birthday card with five dollars paper clipped inside, after we turned 13, we got ten dollars.
Behind my Auntie Nell’s house was a big field of grass and flowers. I used to love running and twirling in that field. I would go there by myself. It felt like a “secret garden” like it was some kind of fairy land. I don’t know why, but it was just a special place.
I remember Sunday evenings sitting and watching The “Tommy Hunter Show” and “Walt Disney” with Auntie Nell. She always sat and watched it with us. I LOVED those times!
I remember asking one time, why Auntie Nell never married. I thought she would have made the most perfect wife and mother. I was told that she had a beau once, but she didn’t feel that his walk the Lord was serious, so she didn’t pursue the relationship.
Instead she cared for her Dad till he passed on, and then Uncle Jack, her brother.
I didn’t find out till later in life what a huge impact she had on my own Mother’s life, and how she was like a second Mom to her. Thank you Auntie Nell. We love you so much! You had a huge impact on our lives too! Your love has followed each of us children through our lives. You and Grandma Sharpe were both such Godly examples of love, patience, and contentment no matter what life sends your way!
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen”
-Elizabeth Kubler Ross
Janice M. Fehr
The Ice Cream Castle
June Morin (Peters)
…After what felt like an eternity to a child, we finally get to take the skip and hop on the little dirt road, down the hill to whom we really came to see,…
It’s a hot summer day, we are told to visit my mom’s parents, (grandma and grandpa sharpe), but only long enough for us girls to say hi, have a cookie, run outside to feed chippy the chipmunk and find some shade underneath the huge willow tree…oh just to swing on its big friendly branches.
After what felt like an eternity to a child, we finally get to take the skip and hop on the little dirt road, down the hill to whom we really came to see… Aunt Nell and her brother Uncle Jack. It was their home that felt safe and held giggles of adventure. The front musical steps brought us up to the smiling screen door, which led into the familiar worn wooden floors that seemed to know our names, right to the beautiful lady with the wooden leg, Aunt Nell and her sweet gentleman of a brother, uncle Jack. We were greeted with sunshine, lollipops and rainbows with the pot of gold being the famous ice cream scooped into the cone that ended into a point where the last drops formed a pool of sweet cream waiting to surprise you when you thought it was all gone.
After a few stories, laughter and hugs, it was back outside into Aunt Nell’s backyard where surrounded by butterflies, dragon flies and later joined by the fireflies, for a few minutes the game of tag was played; only to turn into our favourite play of doing somersaults over and over down the grassy hill that left emeralds covering our clothes and smeared mud pies on our faces and hands, until we were too dizzy to stay upright and fell over rolling like barrels down the hill again. It was our secret world where we were surrounded by invisible solders to all others. They stood guard protecting us, no outsiders ever made it in.
Suddenly we could hear our mom’s voice calling, “Let’s go girls, Its time to head back home.” Then the solders disappeared as we ran to tumble into our family car and slam the doors as we waved out the back window at Aunt Nell and uncle Jack until the hills and corners hid them from our view, knowing we’d visit their ice cream castle where our Queen with the wooden led and her brother the king, lived waiting for us to return again.
Lovingly with happy memories
Does your loved one or someone you know have a guardian angel? Do you know someone struggling with #Dementia, a special #caregiver? Would love for you to share your thoughts and special memories.