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Memories of Grandma’s 80th 12 (FGK 213)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When Margie asked me to be the master of ceremonies this afternoon she also asked me if I would talk about Aunt Edna’s life. Instead of talk about you Auntie Edna, I am going to talk to you.

For all of us here this afternoon, you represent a friend, a sister-in-law, a cousin, an aunt, a great-grandmother, a grandmother, or mother whatever this relationship however, we are here to show our love and respect for you.

Your roots go back in the Jumping Pound and Cochrane communities. In you, I believe are found to be those qualities so admired in the pioneers of this country.

I have always admired your great strength, often in adversity nurtured by your upbringing, the love of and from Uncle Percy, and your family, and a strong faith in God.

Your concern for others is evident and all of us have been touched by this concern in one way or another.

Your considerable efforts in making a home for your family and in helping to make the ranch what it is today have been noted. One always has an always will be made to feel welcome wherever you call home.

The Jumping Pound community is a better place because of your commitment to and involvement in its development. And the Cochrane community is now benefitting from this same commitment.

Your warmth and regard for others whether family and friends or for strangers has been something I have envied in you. You have that rare quality to make others feel comfortable and welcome.

Thus,. As well as wishing you a Happy Birthday Auntie Edna, I wish and I believe everyone here would also wish to say thank you for being a part of our lives. We all owe you something in one way or another

Love, Gord.

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Memories of Grandma’s 80th 9 (FGK 210)

(Why are we sitting like a TV family???)

Dear Mom

Your 80th birthday is not only a wonderful opportunity to celebrate with your friends a life that has enriched all of us, it also gives us a chance to give thanks for some of these qualities that make you such a wonderful person.

What an exciting and varied life you’ve lived. And yet you’ve always managed to adapt to the present while preserving important aspects of the past. That I think is one of the most important qualities of your character.

All my life I’ve been enthralled by your stories of growing up in Cochrane, marrying Dad, the early days on the ranch, and the establishment of our home. You’ve given continuity to our family by passing these stories onto your grandchildren and I hope we’ve all gained an appreciation of the fact that much of what we enjoy today is a result of the efforts of you and Dad.

In my own childhood memories, you of course played a pivotal role. How lucky I am to have that memory of coming home from school on a cold day and entering a kitchen full of freshly baked break, doughnuts, and love. Always you had a treat waiting for us when we got home.

Your life didn’t lack excitement or challenges; I can remember you rushing someone off to the hospital because of an accident in the field while simultaneously making plans to feed a crew of hungry people supper. You saw to it that your (often reluctant) children had the benefit of music lessons even if it meant tackling roads that today we might consider impassable without a four wheel drive. (I personally came as close as I ever want to climbing a telephone pole on one of those trips)

When it was necessary, you weren’t afraid to take on the medical establishment, and I will always be grateful that against everyone’s advice you had the courage and foresight to take me to Warm Springs where I got a brace that helped change my life.

Your own active imagination has always helped you understand the dreams of others. The support you gave me when I wanted to go to school in far off places gave me the opportunity to enrich my life indescribably, I now know I had a remarkably privileged education and life experience in my teens and twenties. Your tolerance in these matters is a great example to me as a parent: you may not have always agreed with what I was doing, but I always had your support and that gave me the courage to go on.

We’ve had some very good times together too. Such as our trip to Nassau when I was in high school… do you remember your reaction when I thought you should run back into our burning hotel to rescue my Calypso records?

It wasn’t until I became an adult that I came to appreciate your real gifts to your children: you example of a sincere religious faith, concern for your fellow men, and an ability to set goals and work to achieve them.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM…. And thank you! Love Margi

I remember thinking how great it was that I got through the 80s without big hair 😂
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Memories of Grandma’s 80th (7) (FGK 208)

I love these memories, Michelle describes some of the absolute best moments of my childhood. In fact, the only “downside” of going to Grandma’s as a kid was worrying about the boogeyman who lived in the basement (Grandma had trained us all that the boogeyman lives in the dirt part of the basement). All these years later I’m still a bit scared to go in the basement. But the memories of that special cake, the pull-taffy, and the famous tea times will live in my heart forever. I’m pretty sure I found her tea leaf reading book in the junk room a while ago – I’ll have to go look for it.

Well Gramma, this is it: the big EIGHT ZERO. So, how does it feel to be so wise and well cultured? Ever since I’ve known you, which has been 18 years and 1 month, you have had a direct influence on my life. Ah yes, how I remember Melissa and I terrorizing you and your house. How you put up with us, I’ll never know. I remember how the big highlight of my life was to go over to Gramma’s house for the afternoon and have tea at 4:00 everyday, life would stop in order that the tea could be served, it was quite the event. Of course there would be cookies galore, of all sorts, and if we were REALLY good, we would get our own teapot. Melissa and I would always fight over who was going to get the teapot, or who was going to sit beside Gramma. In the end, Gramma would always step in and solve our dilemma. To finish the afternoon off, Gramma would always read our tea leaves to see what our future held. To my knowledge none of the predictions have come true, but I haven’t lost hope yet. There are so many fond memories I have of you, Gramma, I just don’t know where to begin. Let’s see… sleep-overs, reading comics, making pull-taffy, your “favourite cake”, going to church with you and eating shrimp sandwiches after, going to. Hawaii, and even sweet-talking police officers. I’d just like to say that you are, and always will be, the bestest Gramma us grandkids could ever have.

Love ya lots and lots. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Love Michelle

Grammas are Special by Ryan Copithorne

As years have gone by, I think of the fun Because of the special things my Gramma has done. The making of pull taffy and afternoon teas, A constant supply of doughnuts and cookies. Looking under the branches of our Christmas tree, Yes, the biggest present is from Gramma to me. She’s always there for driving me places And when asking for money, surprisingly kind faces! The cookies, the doughnuts, and special things you do, Are some of the reasons that the best Gramma is you!

Happy 80th Gramma, Ryan Copithorne.

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Memories of Grandma’s 80th (4) (FGK 205)

My Grandma is a very special person, but more than just a person whom I love very much, she is also someone I greatly admire. The building of the Copithorne family and their ranch would not have been as successful without her. She worked so hard for so many years and yet has always kept a beautiful grace and style.

My husband Keith and I are very proud to be her granddaughter and grandson in law

Keith and Betty Godkin

Dear Grandma Copithorne

I want to give you this poem:

I like my Grandma, she is nice, she’ll always love ya, more than twice

I like my Grandma, she is special and great, and for my Grandma, I’ll open my heart’s gate

Love Jim

My most memorable time with Grandma was when I stayed at her place before I left for England. I really enjoyed our long talks. Grandma has always beeen very encouraging and supportive of me in the ministries God has led me into. I really appreciate her many prayers, encouragement, and letters. Thank you so very much Grandma!

Love, Lynn

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Memories of Grandma’s 80th 3 (FGK 204)

Dear Grandma

There are lots of memories I could talk about with you – such as listening to the Bambi record over and over, going to movies etc. But the most memorable was our trip to Vancouver Island seven years ago. What an adventure! Looking back, some things were kind of funny – such as the flat timer on our rented car – some were serious. I will never forget our conversations because they changed how I looked at things. Your opinions on how important motherhood is, the sanctity of marriage, and your love and respect for grandpa have made a lasting impression. It made me respect your generation for the solid rock of values on which they built this society. Thank you grandma for being you!

Love Dixie

Dear Grandma Copithorne

I guess that as an “In-law”, I haven’t been around long enough to have the kind of memories of our times together like Dixie has. But you have made many good impressions on me.

After meeting you the first time, I left realizing that I had met a real “lady”, a person with real manners and gracious attitude, that folks my age don’t have.

Some of my impressions are humorous too, like finding out at my engagement party with Dixie, that you had been sure to “check me out” with my high school teacher, Gordon Davies. You didn’t want your granddaughter to marry any “riff-raff”. I hope I passed the test.

And the time you lent us the use of your ranch house for our honeymoon, and leapt it a secret from Marshall. Marshall would have given us a good chivarce , but you kept it under your hat!

But my best impression of you is second hand. It comes from seeing the love and respect that my wife, Dixie, has for you and also believing that you share our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

With love and respect

Art Bird.

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Memories of Grandma’s 80th (FGK 203)

I have to admit, most of these letters make me a little weepy in the eyes. Grandma was kind of the glue that held us all together -and the fact that we are still close all these years after she has been gone I think speaks to the kind of family she and Grandpa created. Their faith was central to their lives, and it was something that was passed onto all of us in one way or another.

The most significant experience and influence my mother gave me was her desire to teach me about the Lord. This was important to her and because it was important to her it was important to me as a small child. From my earliest memories I remember reading the Bible stories from colourful Sunday School papers and it was her who taught me that Jesus died on the cross for my sins. Even though I deserved to be punished, Jesus bore my punishment for me. I was an adult before I accepted this salvation but my other pointed me in the right direction for which I am eternally grateful.

I had to have children of my own before I could fully appreciate my mother. I couldn’t have been raised in a better home.

All my love, Sheila.

Sheila and Ted
Grandma (protecting her hair) and Sheila

To my Favourite Mother in Law

Even though you are the only Mother-in-law I’ve ever had, you are a favourite with me.

It seems we very seldom express the way we feel about people, and sometimes it is easier to write it than to say it, but I do so very much appreciate the good relationship we have had over the years. I think back to when I first met Sheila and stayed at your place. You made a very nervous young man feel at home, and I enjoyed the good meals, the card parties, and just the good visits we had with you and dad and all of the family. That big kitchen at the ranch was a place of informal family gatherings and good fellowship.

Christmas has always been a special time when we gather as a family, and I must admit I always look forward to your gift. Your taste in shirts is really something.

Well, on this special occasion of your eightieth birthday, I wish for you that it will be a special and wonderful day. May the Lord continue to bless you with good health, good times, love and peace.

Your loving son-in-law, Ted

Sheila and Ted (I love this photo)
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A History in Photos 12 (FGK 169)

Today marks 4 years since mom passed. I started sharing these stories last year in the hopes that I would get to understand her better, to know who she really was. I’m not sure I found what I was originally looking for, but this process has helped me in ways I never could have imagined. I was still feeling pretty broken in my own life from the challenges of recent years and I was seeking guidance and support, although I didn’t know that at the time. I think I have a better understanding of the strength and courage the entire family had to get through what they were faced with . Polio didn’t just impact mom, but her entire family. And the faith Grandma carried, the grace and humility she showed in her letters and memories have left me with gratitude for the incredibly strong line of women that I come from. The letters helped me see how Grandma was held steady by her faith in God during what must have been an unbelievably challenging time. It’s one thing reading the letters on this side of history – knowing that mom survived and knowing how things turned out. But at the time…. There would have been no way to know, no guarantees, and everything was just blind faith. As someone who really struggles with trusting that God has my back even when I can’t see it – this has been very comforting.

Look at how dressed up Grandma and Grandpa got to go visit mom at the hospital! And the garden in the background!! I remember as a kid playing with the snapdragons in this flower garden. It’s gone now, and there’s a deck near here – but I really miss the flowers growing along the side of the house. Grandma really had a green thumb.

Percy and Edna going to visit Margie who was in hospital
Margie and Len Carrol on the horse (I think this is “Slim”??)
Sheila, Margi, and Mother (Grandma/Edna)
Aileen, Sheila, Margie 1949
Sheila and Mother (Edna Copithorne)
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Edna’s Story 42 (FGK 149)

As I said before, her life was very lonely, taking grades 9 and 10 at home. I wrote all over America trying to find a school without steps into it and in a warm climate. Nowadays they do build one-story schools in this country. I was finally successful and found a private school in Daytona Beach, Florida. This was built by a former headmaster who had been injured and had to spend the rest of his life in a wheel chair.

Margi and I flew down to enrol her and make arrangements for her to board at the home of one of the teachers. I also arranged for her to have her physiotherapy after school with a very fine physiotherapist, Mrs. Franks, who became a good friend of ours. While there, I celebrated my birthday and the teachers’s wife where Margi boarded had a small dinner parry for me. Just as we were starting our meal, someone banged and pounded on their door and shouted to them. Mrs Rich went to the door and there stood a neighbour with his arms full of things that looked like huge pineapples. He kept shouting “It’s blooming, it’s blooming, come and see it.” Mrs Rich promised him we’d be right over after dinner. It was a rare night blooming Agave or Century Plant and only blooms about once every hundred years. Mrs Rich put one of the huge buds in the centre of the table and before the meal was over it had opened out and filled the room with perfume. It was all very interesting to me, especially the unusual fauna. Guava grew along their back fence and they just looked exactly like lemons but you eat them skin and all and they make delicious jelly. The huge old trees around the school were heavy with silver moss and mistletoe.

Interesting too was the beautiful home across the street where Betesta lived and Cuba was in such turmoil then. Margi took her Grade 11 and 12 there and we had many interesting trips down there. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1958. What excitement that was and so beautiful. That was the year the girls were all wearing crinolines and fluffy dresses that suited their southern accents so well. They had two or three different affairs, all very exciting. One was a big lawn party at the headmaster’s home with the honour students in the receiving line. It was all a very happy and proud moment for me as I listened to the praise of Margi and saw them place a bronze plaque with her achievements inscribed on it in a place of honour in the school. She also gave a very good talk in her valedictory address. I took her to the Bahamas to celebrate before we returned home.

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Edna’s Story 41 (FGK 148)

I love Grandma’s Kitchen (obviously) and I really appreciate all the thought and love that went into building this room. It truly is the heart of this home. I also love that the photo of Grandma standing by her fireplace includes the best dog and by best friend ever – Kayla. When I was away, especially when times were tough, thinking about this room that I love to much was what got me through. This room is filled with memories of all of the people I love, and I feel incredibly blessed that I am making new ones with my family.

Harry used to send Margi comic books regularly and Slim sent her flowers. And all through her stay in the hospital the J.P. School sent her a weekly newsletter. In the fall of 1955 she was able to come home to live with us again. Percy built a physiotherapy table in her bedroom and we fixed up all the pulleys and sandbags, weights, etc. I went in and learned how to give her physiotherapy and took schooling by correspondence. It was a lonely life for a young teenager. Both Sheila and Marshall were gone to town. She still had great difficulty climbing steps and had one or two nasty falls on the three steps down to our kitchen. We decided then to tear this lean-to off and build a new kitchen level with the rest of the house. And build up the earth to be level with the back door and widen all our doors so that a wheelchair could get around easily.

At this age in my life, I have enough experience to really know what I wanted in a kitchen and I got it. Small kitchens were the style then, but to me and our way of life the kitchen always seemed to be the heart of the home. I compare a good kitchen in a home to a good woman. Like a good woman, a kitchen should be efficient and beautiful and always have a pleasant fragrance surrounding it. What is more alluring than the aroma of fresh baked bread, hot fries, and a roast in the oven?

One wall of my new kitchen is of knotty pine and has a fireplace with built in china cupboards on each side, a television set and two easy chairs. The cooking area has knotty pine cupboards. Natural wood adds warmth to a room. The southwest corner is all windows which look out on a panoramic view of the Jumping Pound Valley into the wide range of the Rockies. This area is an indoor garden of flowers because we seem to have nine months of winter in this country. It also holds our old red leather covered chesterfield. My range is a beautiful old-fashioned one Percy bought me many years ago and I wouldn’t trade it for any modern one, even an Ultra Ray. There was one small window – about three feet by two feet in the south wall which I didn’t like in it so I designed a stained glass one which portrayed our wildflowers, our friendly wild birds, and of course our source of existence – cow and calf on pasture. This adds colour and conversation to the room. My kitchen table seats twelve comfortably but of course often more. Adjoining is a very efficient mud room and extra bathroom.

I worked hard in that kitchen. The summer we built it I cooked for 18 men all summer in just a make-shift kitchen. At the same time I gave Margi her physiotherapy which consisted of 38 exercises with resistance and each one 15 times. This I did twice a day. Margi also caught the mumps that summer to add to the confusion. We heard of more modern treatment and equipment for polio in Warm Springs, Georgia, and the USA President Roosevelt built this wonderful place. Percy and Sheila and Margi and I flew down there to see if there was any way we could improve her condition. It was quite an experience for us. We landed in Atlanta, Georgia, and the moist heat really hits you. We rented a car and drove the 70 miles through the pine forests, peach and pecan orchards, to the beautiful spot called the “Georgia Warm Springs Foundation”. She got much better braces there – more modern, lighter and stronger metal. We took her there many times after that.

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Edna’s Story 30 (FGK 147)

By now Sheila had graduated very successfully from Grade 12 and had her application accepted in the university to become a teacher but suddenly decided she would try the nursing profession instead. That Christmas, Percy and Marshall were both very sick in bed with the flu and Sheila was on night duty in the General Hospital. However, she wanted to come home for Christmas Day and we both wanted to see Margi for the few minutes they would allow us. It was a cold, snowy day and poor Sheila looked so grey from being on duty all night but we had to sit in the cold empty basement of the Red Cross Hospital for hours before they let us see Margi for a few fleeting moments. That was one of my worst Christmases.

While Sheila was still in Mount Royal, one weekend she brought a girlfriend home with her and they wanted to go to the Friday night dance in Cochrane. Percy and I were in such distress over Margi, we just didn’t feel like going dancing so we asked Slim if he would mind taking the kids in and looking after them. Marshall went too just for the fun though he didn’t like dancing. When they got there, Slim took his nice suede jacked off and Marshall’s coat and they locked them in the car before going into the hall. Slim was an excellent cop. I’d swear he could tell you how many fillings a motorist had in his teeth a mile away. That night he spotted a car driving around Cochrane without its lights on so he followed it on foot until he got all the particulars such as make, etc. By then it was time to go back to the hall and take the kids out for supper. But when he got back they were sitting in the car waiting for him. He wanted to know how they got into the car when he had locked it but they said it was open, he just thought he had locked it. Then people all around him began to complain of the same thing, purses and coats were missing. Marshall’s and Slim’s fine suede jackets were gone. Even our own family didn’t know he was a cop but Percy and I sure laughed and teased him about that. However, he went into the police in Cochrane next morning and told them who he was and gave them a good description of the car. Both garages in Cochrane had been robbed. They were able to catch the car in Banff, a stolen one from Saskatchewan and they caught the thieves.

Slim was a big fine looking man 6 feet 6 inches tall. Marshall was at the aggressive age. Sometimes he would come to the table defiantly, with his hair uncombed or his hands not too clean. I would ask him to spruce up a bit and he’d say “Oh, I’m all right.” Slim would just get up quietly and tuck Marshall under his arm and hold him under the laundry tap in the back kitchen. It didn’t have to happen very often. We had an equally as big and tall Swiss man working there then. One cold rainy morning Harry was late coming for breakfast. Finally he burst in the door just steaming with anger. He couldn’t find the milk cows and was out in the rain all that time looking for them. He lit on Slim and said “You sitting there all nice and dry! You should be out helping me!” He was quite right and Slim said so and would have gone, but Percy took Harry in the other room and told him all about Slim. From then on, Harry just idolized Slim and Percy knew where to find those cows. There’s a little pocket in the hill below the house where they often hid and strangers couldn’t find them.

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