happiness

Grandma Remembers (FGK 156)

I found this shoved in a bookcase in Dad’s office, aka my bedroom, aka Grandma’s bedroom. I have no recollection of having given her this book – I was 13 at the time – but I’m so glad I did. I’ve always been interested in our history, probably the reason why I have this ever so useful history degree. Anyway, this is kind of interesting and I had no idea, besides being from Ontario, of any of this history.

I figure Dad must have put this all together but I’m not sure when. It certainly wasn’t 1984 because he was clearly on the internet, but it also wasn’t 2014 because he used MapQuest (although my parents loved MapQuest). Either way, I’m glad he did it. It looks like he’s put together some of her relatives. I really knew nothing about Grandma’s lineage, so it is really cool for me to read a bit about about where she came from.

Grandma Remembers

September 27th, 1984

Melissa gave Grandma a “Grandma Remembers” book for her 76th birthday and Grandma wrote in response:

September 27th 1984

Thank you Melissa Ramsay for this thoughtful and flattering book for my birthday. For me, the title should be “Grandma Forgets”. Is it because I’m now 76 years old? I don’t think so. I’ve always been mentally lazy – a dreamer. I will do my best to fill it with facts.

My parents were both the youngest in their family and each family had nine children,. My mother lost her mother when she was two years old and was raised by her maiden aunt, Miss Betsy Thompson, and her bachelor brother Uncle William Thompson who lived with their widowed mother on a farm out at Westmeath near Pembroke Ontario. My mother had very fond memories of her grandmother being very loving and kind to her and her little brother Thomas who also lived there.

Her grandmother was a pioneer and lived there when the Indians were still unfriendly. Her grandmother was very popular for her skills in setting broken arms or legs and helping sick people. Her grandfather helped the Rideau Canal in “Ottawa” when it was still called “Bytown.”

Aunt Betsy used to tel her she could remember when they would put a few sacks of wheat in canoes and take it down to the Ottawa River to mill to grind it into flour. Aunt Betsy remembered as a small child being terrified of the forest fires when they would go to the river for safety sake.

My Great Aunt Betsy was a popular member of the Ladies Aid in the local church. I remember seeing a very beautiful hanging lamp above her organ which the church group had given her; it had a beautiful flowered globe with prisms hanging around it and a coal lamp under it. The organ was very beautiful too and she left it to me when she died. It is now in the Pembroke museum. Uncle William Thompson gave my mother a beautiful piano when she got married and your aunt Sheila Burger has it now Melissa.

My Mother’s father went to New Westminster British Columbia when it was called Port Moody. He went there int eh 1870s thinking it would be the terminal for the CP Railway and would become a big sea-port city, but Vancouver became that. He bought many lots in Port Moody and was preparing to reunite his family there in a home he built but he got sick and died there. I have a letter which he wrote to Great Aunt Betsy saying he bought a piano for Mattie (my mother) and there was a piano teacher there to continue her lessons but of course that never came about. You could perhaps someday try and find his grave in the oldest graveyard in New Westminster, BC.

My mother’s mother “Margaret Ruth Sullivan” was also from near Pembroke and her relatives ware still living there. There is a placebo n the Ottawa River called “Sullivan’s Point”, named after her people. My spelling is terrible Melissa, check it and correct it.

My mother’s youngest brother was a reporter on the first steamship to sail Lake Superior and it was caught in a bad storm and all aboard were lost. Another of there brothers was drowned when the ship he was on went down coming from the gold mines in Alaska in the early days.

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Grandma and Grandpa’s 25th and other photos (FGK 155)

Today is the first of an on and off series I’ll call “who are the people in these photos?” Usually Grandma was really good about writing on the back of photos, but I’ve got a bunch that are unmarked. So – anyone who remembers and knows who these people are, please let me know!! This envelope of photos was in with her hospital letters, but the ones that are dated are from the late 50s, and I think when she was in Florida finishing high school.

I’m pretty sure this is mom
Also think this is mom?
Pretty sure the house is Grandma’s – so this is Uncle Marshall?
Finally a photo that was written on! Thank you Aunt Annie!!
I thought someone had been bad and had their face cut out of the photo, but based on the crutch mom cut her own self out of her photo. I wish she’d left it, but I also know I’ve cut myself out of too many photos for one reason or another.
Grandma, Grandpa, Marshall, Sheila at their anniversary party at the hall
Not sure who is on either end – is that Uncle Frank?
I always knew Grandma was a classy lady, but seeing her here all dressed up – wow. Just wow.
The year got cut off, but it says 1958. Grandma was 50 in this photo – same age I am now.
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A brief history of the Copithorne Family 4 (FGK 154)

Here is the link to the article I have shared. It was published in the June 1949 issue of Canadian Cattlemen and written by Dora Dibney There are a few photos included in the article that I didn’t include because of the quality but they are worth checking out.

Again I am indebted to Percy Copithorne for this bit of historical information. “At the time when the N.W.M. Police were looking for Ernest Cashel, the notorious robber and the man who was wanted for the murder of Rufus Belt on the Red Deer River, Cashel walked into my dad’s place and asked for a saddle horse that he might <use to> catch his own which he claimed got always from him a few miles away. Dad was away that day but luckily his man was home and when my mother made inquiries for a horse the man said that the boss was very particular who rode his horses but that he no doubt could get a horse at a neighbour’s place a mile distant. This proved to be true and Glen Healey, the neighbour, did not see his horse again for sometime. That night at midnight several police rode in and inquired of Cashel. They slept on the floor of the sod-roofed two roomed house for the balance of the night.”

Although through the years, things generally became easier for these hardy men and women, there was still much to do. They had to be completely self reliant. Mothers made all the overalls for their active boys. They looked after the garden, milked the cows, fed the chickens, washed and cooked for the family, and brought up the children.

Jack Copithorne of Calgary has a fine photograph taken when he was a very young chap. It shows his mother, his brother, and himself, just outside their home, the white-washed log shack, and looking with pride on the small group as the father seated on his buckskin pony.

Jack and Mrs. J.C. Buckley, daughter of Richard Copithorne, recall how they and other children in the district rode their ponies to school, a pleasure which the child of today rarely knows. The old school still stands one and a half miles west of the Jumping Pound Post Office, and like other buildings, is made of logs. It was constructed by John Stewart and was considered very attractive with its red roof, whitewashed walls, and green trim.

Some of the teachers whose names will be remembered are Miss M.A. Walsh, Robinson, Hart, and Kent.

Church services were held in the school, and before it was built, in the various homes in the district. The minister had a large territory to cover but was always a welcome visitor.

Everyone took a great interest in politics and there was always lively discussion as to the merits of various candidates for office.

There are always amusing incidents to recall. There was the time when one of the Copithornes saw a bundle up in a tree and took a shot at it. Out fell and Indian corpse, not in good condition. Then, another time the cowboy with his chaps and guns was all for going out to find and capture, by force if necessary, the lost souls mentioned by an enthusiastic Salvation Army worker.

John Copithorne retired in 1912 and moved to Victoria. He died in 1933 and surviving are his widow, six sons: Jim of Sidney, BC; Jack, Calgary and Jumping Pound; Harry, Jumping Pound; Claude of Cochrane; Ernest, Calgary; Charles, Midnapore; and two daughters: Mrs. L.D. Nicoll, Jumping Pound, and Mrs. M. Morris, Victoria. One son, Bert, Died some years ago.

Richard’s four sons are: Percy, now at the home place, and George who farms eight miles west; Frank, now on the old Fraser River ranch, and Clarence, on Clemen’s ranch; his two daughters: Mrs. J.C. Buckley (Marjorie), Springbank, and Mrs. Annie Jones of Okotoks. Richard died in 1936.

Sam Copithorne’s two sons are Louis and Bill, and his two daughters are Mrs. J.E. Robinson, and Mrs. Rex Young.

Sam is too busy these days with spring work to be bothered talking about his family, and anyway he doesn’t think it is important. But stories of Canada’s pioneers should not be lost, and who of these old-timers ever kept a diary? Their sons and daughters have heard their tales many a time, but they too, forget and much of Canada’s fascinating and unique history remains unknown.

The debt that this generation and posterity owes to the men and women who opened up this country, can never be repaid. Not only were there great material advantages, but if we can emulate their integrity, their great independence of mind and body and spirit, then indeed we may prove worthy of the hardships which they undertook so courageously and as a matter of plain fact.

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A brief history of the Copithorne family 3 (FGK 153)

As far as I know my cousin still has Sophia’s sidesaddle and it’s in working condition. I remember she used to use it to ride in the Stampede Parade when we were younger.

“Well, it was tough going. Dick and John carried on mixed farming. They used to make butter and bring it into Calgary twice a year to trade for goods. No money in those days. You had to leave at daylight to make the trip in one day. There wasn’t money to pay for feed, so they took what they needed for the four-horse team, and of course, no money either to pay for a night’s lodging.

“They used to trade with I.G. Baker, probably the first storekeeper in Calgary. They did that right up to 1895.

“They had a great big barrel churn; it used to hold fifty pounds of butter and you had to have a man on beach end to turn it. There was no cream separator in those days. Them milk was left to set for 36 hours and the cream was then skinned off.

“They used to pack the butter into big wooden tubs and when they took it to the store, a man used to poke a broom handle right down to the bottom of the tub and then smell the butter on the stick. That was the way he graded it.

“They had about fifty hens and were able to trade the eggs, too.

“Dick had got married by then to Miss Sophia Wills of Springbank, and the women had lots of work. No fancy gadgets to help them with the washing and cooking and sewing. The women helped cut firewood sometimes, and the men also cut down trees to make A-fences and X-fences. We used to work in the bush all winter.”

Dick and John went out of mixed farming in 1898 and into beef cattle. Herefords. It was difficult to get a good sire so they raised their own and tried to improve their stock by culling. It was a good thing when the Calgary bull sale started, Sam remarked, because a rancher could get good animals then.

Asked how Jumping Pound got its name, he said it was one of the places where the Indians stampeded the buffalo. The animals, terrified and crazed by the Indians rushed to the cliffs and plunged over, breaking necks and legs as they crashed to the bottom. There was a good price for buffalo hides so the Indians were intent on collecting.

It wasn’t all work and no play. Men and women used to hunt coyotes and great was the competition to see who had the best saddle horse. They’d forgather with their hounds and off they would go across the country; no fences to bother with in those years. Percy, who is Dick’s eldest son and a substantial cattle rancher in the Jumping Pound district says, “I remember my dad mentioning Mr. Kerfoot and Captain Gardiner, father of Clem and Teddy Gardiner, as some of the enthusiasts. My mother used to take part also and was considered a good horsewoman. My dad said that very few women could sit on a bucking horse in a sidesaddle, but she had preformed the feat on several occasions. I still have her sidesaddle which is in excellent condition. There were also the kit-foxes to chase, a nearly extinct species of animal now. The men too, went out hunting lynx, for these great wild cats were a constant menace to the cattle. Sam Copithorne killed 21 lynx in the spring of 1907.

That was the year John and Dick made a trip back to Ireland, and Sam went over in 1911. He stayed three months, but Sam just didn’t care for Ireland; he said, “You couldn’t give it to me.”

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A Brief History of the Copithorne Family 2 (FGK 152)

“John told about the Indian Sun-Dance. It was about the time of the Frog Lake Massacre and the Indians were pretty touchy. He had given out rations of print etc to be made into clothing. Instead they tore it up into little pieces and stuck it on the tree tops long before the Sun Dance. He described the Sun Dance much as you read about it today but the braves cut holes in their shoulders, put thongs through the muscles, and dragged poles, and sometimes ponies around and around the lodge, always yelling at the top of their voices, until they would faint.

“Well he got a job with the Indian department as farm instructor at Crooked Lakes near Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan and then he followed the railway to Sarcee. You remember they were issuing rations to the Indians in 1886 and 1887 and that’s what John was doing and running freight from Sarcee to the Stones. He used to drive a bull team; took him two days to make the journey.

“He had to stay overnight at the home of Napoleon Blanche; that was the only house between the two reserves. Nearly always John had an Indian guide.

“There is a story that Mr. Blanche trie to raise hogs just like cattle. He would turn the sows out on the range in the spring. It would be nothing to jump a bunch of razor-back hogs during the summer as one rode across the country. In the fall the hogs, as many as could be found, were gathered in. The next problem was the slaughter and dressing of these porkers. Apparently Mr. Blanche was not very skillful at the job for when scalding and shaving off their hair failed he decided to skin them. After all were skinned they looked such a gory and disturbing sight that he decided to put them up in the hay loft. He stood the frozen carcasses on their feet and covered them with hay so that nobody could see them. However, a neighbour made a friendly call one evening and went to the loft to get feed for his horse. Uncovering one of the skinned hogs gave him such a start that he backed up and fell down through the hole in the floor to the manger below. He wasn’t injured but certainly had a good fright.

“It was a mighty different life to what my folks had planned for him. He’d taken the civil service examinations in Ireland and he’d passed. But he just wouldn’t take a job. That’s what my father wanted for me too, but I wanted to go farming. I was going to go to Australia, but I came out to my brothers’s place instead.

“Anyway, Dick was the next one to come to Canada. He got here in 1887 and first of all he got a job in Calgary working on the old Mission Bridge so that he’d have enough money to buy a team and wagon.

“Then they started looking for land; the country wasn’t surveyed then, and they passed through Springbank to Jumping Pound. So John and Richard were in partnership from 1888 go around 1900.

‘If a man had an axe and a hammer and a saw, he could build anything. So John and Dick built a log house with a sod roof, and stables, also of logs and with a sod roof.

“The house had just one room, one window and the door was right in the centre of the front wall. The second house Richard built was nearby; it had two windows and a lean-to for a kitchen. That was on the hill. John built his house at the foot of the hill on the river bank. He got married in 1887 to Susan Toone. She was jut out from Ireland. She’s 86 now and living in Victoria BC.

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A Brief Story of the Copithorne Family 1 (FGK 151)

I found this interview with Sam Copithorne and thought it could be fun to share. At the end of the stories, I’ll post the information to source it, but this is written by Dora Dibney – I have no idea who she was. I always wondered (but not badly enough to ever ask lol) who Grandpa was named after – and it looks like it was after one of his uncles. Enjoy!

A Brief Story of the Copithorne Family

(Dora Dibney)

“Now look,” Sam Copithorne remarked, “there’s no use writing a story about me. I’m not a pioneer becuase I didn’t come out to this country until 1904. It’s my two brothers you ought to write about, if you HAVE to write about the family.”

“Where was I born? Oh, in Clonakilty, that’s in County Cork, Ireland. My father had a dairy farm, dual purpose Short horns and we milked about 25 cows. Guess we had about 120 acres.

“Besides John and Richard, I had four older brothers: James and William and Robert and Edward. We had one sister: she was the eldest. John came out here in 1883 and Richard came out four years later in 1887.

“James went to Central Africa as a missionary and before that he was in the civil service. but he was in Africa, oh less than a couple of years when he got fever and died.

“John was the first to make a move though. He just decided to come to Canada so my father got him a lot of letters of introduction to people in Montreal, but he never used a single letter.

“He didn’t like Montreal so he bought a ticket through to Winnipeg. Well he looked for work and somehow or other he met a man who wanted someone to drive eight mules. John had never had a thing to do with mules, but he waits sure he could drive them so he got a job and $10 a month. That was doing farm work.

“It wasn’t long after that that a man came to the farm and he bought the mules. He couldn’t drive them so John got the job of taking them to Brandon.

“That was the time of the rebellion I, so John volunteered for the army and he was sent to live with the Indians and watch their movements. Well, he lived with them for a long time; he took part in their powwows and he got so he could talk Cree with the best of them.

“He lived with them so long that they nearly forgot he wasn’t an Indian. They used to call him Wapoorshwian which means Rabbit-Skin-Robe. I remember him telling us about the way they used to eat. They’d put all their meat into one big pot and they’d sit around and fish it out when it was cooked. Sometimes they’d fish out a piece of dog meat and then they’d remember and say “white man no eat dog” so they’d find a piece of rabbit meat for him.

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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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Edna’s Story 29 (FGK 146)

Another emotional one – although I think that Grandma’s reaction at the hospital was completely appropriate. I’m glad that times have changed enough that we can show some of these emotions. I’ve never heard/read these details of mom’s illness and time in the hospital and while it’s incredibly painful to read I’m grateful to Grandma for writing it down. On a different note, the “favourite sauce” at Christmas must be what is now called “Grandma’s special sauce” (which sounds more like devilish than it is – the extremely high calorie delicious spoonfuls of goodness that we no longer have to put on gross pudding or disgusting fruitcake and instead smother our gingerbread cookies or panettone with the sauce).

By now Marshall was going to Mount Royal College too, and he and Sheila would bring their new friends out to visit. For Christmas I cooked our usual oyster soup, roast turkey, and Christmas pudding with our favourite sauce. It was a big dinner but Margi insisted on eating it like we did. But she wasn’t able to get it down. She soon was becoming dehydrated again. We bought a big rubber boat hoping to fill it with warm water and try to give her underwater therapy in her bedroom. The hospital didn’t have that facility at that time and it was supposed to be good for polio victims. But we couldn’t get it to work. I used to see pictures of Mahatma Ghandi and shudder at the sight he was so thin – but by now Margi was worse than that, she weighed only 56 pounds. Clarence came to see her and was almost ill with the shock of seeing her. Dr. Price came to see her and decided to put her in the Holy Cross for a while. We hired three special nurses and were able to visit her whenever we wanted. They gave her one or two blood transfusions that seemed to put new life into her. Dr Price brought many of his colleagues to see her and we decided she was able to be back in the Red Cross Hospital where they had special equipment for treating those with paralyzed limbs. This time one nurse, Miss Homer, took her in hand and just about hypnotized her into into eating a bit and keeping it down. Gradually she was successful, and by the following summer Margi was getting a little physiotherapy. By now she was so rigid that the agony of her physiotherapy just doesn’t bear thinking about. Miss Olsen, her physiotherapist set her goals ruthlessly and just persisted until Margi could lift her arms. She still cannot lift them very high but just being able to move them was wonderful.

About a year later when I went in to visit her one day there was an air of excitement in the room and when the other mothers left, they asked me to wait a few minutes. Then Miss Olsen came in and said “Well Margi, are you ready to show her?” Even when the patients couldn’t move the nurses always put a dress on them and noted lay on the bed nicely dressed. This day they had put a back brace on under Margi’s dress and Mis Olsen lifted her off the bed and Margi was able to stand up by leaning against the high bed. It was the first time I had seen her stand up for well over a year and the shock or surprise was just too much for me. I crumbled up and cried when I should have shown such happiness. I have never in all my life been so ashamed of myself. Everyone was embarrassed but I think the children understood, each one in there had endured so much and they were all such wonderful characters. Margi was able to sit in a wheelchair then and go down to therapy instead of on a stretcher. She was taking her schooling by correspondence with the help of a wonderful volunteer teacher Mrs John’s. That year (1954?) they fitted her with a leg brace which was the worst and she learned how to walk with crutches. I spent hours down in the physiotherapy room learning all I could about it and Miss Olsen often came out and spent weekends with us teaching me more.

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