happiness

Mom’s Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Carriage

When I was 10 years old, our grade 5 class was supposed to spend the week skiing at what was then Paskapoo for a week (it later became Canada Olympic Park or COP, later Winsport). Unfortunately for me I got sick, and not just a little sick – fever so bad I remember getting delirious and I couldn’t eat or drink anything for days. I remember mom feeling so bad for me because she knew how much I had wanted to go skiing, and now that I’m a parent I’m guessing she was a little concerned as well.

On one of my super sick bed days Mom came into my room with a box I’d never seen before. She had a gleam in her eye and she told me this was one of her most treasured pieces and she wanted to let me play with it for the day. It came with a ton of warnings about how delicate it was and how playing was going to look more like touching gently, but her excitement was contagious and I was excited to see what was in the box.

She opened it, and it was a lead toy replica of the Queen’s coronation carriage. Made even more special was the fact Mom told me it was a gift to her while she was in the hospital – and even then I knew we never, ever spoke of the hospital – so this was a big deal.

In my memory this was the turning point in my flu sickness. I remember lying in bed with the carriage on my lap, spending hours looking at the details and the horses and wishing I was the Queen. Of course at this time Lady Diana was just making herself known to me and although I had no idea I was about to enter years of adoring Diana and the royal family.

And then the carriage got boxed back up and I never saw it again. It was never mentioned again, and I figured maybe it had been misplaced or broken or was just buried with other treasures. After all this time I’d given up on it.

This afternoon while I was rage cleaning my room (it’s a thing) I climbed up the step ladder to bring some of dad’s awards and frames down from the top of the bookcase. Guess what was on the top of that stack of things? The carriage!!!

I have to admit I sat down and cried for a little while. The 5th anniversary of mom’s death was 2 days ago and there have been so many emotions I don’t know how to describe them. But seeing this carriage was like getting a little hug from heaven.

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happiness

Protected by mom’s love

Mom’s birthday was a couple of days ago so she’s been on my mind more than usual. Last night a memory came up that I shared with the girl and I thought it was such a powerful memory of mom’s love that I would share it here.

When I was a little kid- I don’t know how old but probably in the 6-8 year old range – some of the horses here got into some gopher poison. The carrier for the poison was oats so when the horses discovered a big bucket of oats they devoured it. I remember lots of yelling and then mom, dad, and I (and I think Grandma and maybe some others – I’m a bit sketchy on these details) were standing just outside of the yard in the square field watching Grandma’s horse Captain and another horse named Stick run flat out up and down the field. I remember the adults all freaking out and the horses both snorting loudly and having kind of wild looks in their eyes. At the time I had no idea what was going on but I knew something bad was happening.

Suddenly mom turned to me and yelled at me to run back to the house and grab her purse.

Now I was a little kid, and a curious and kind of defiant little kid so I stood my ground and stared at her demanding to know why she was sending me off when clearly shit was getting real. I don’t know how she said it but something in her voice let me know that I really needed to run back to the house and get that purse. I was grumbling my way up the driveway when I heard more shouts and cries and things were kind of chaotic. My stomach sunk because I knew something bad had happened and I recall having a moment of gratitude for my mom who had sent me away.

The horses didn’t survive the incident and it was pretty devastating, I remember how much my Grandma loved Captain.

Mostly what I remember though is how mom’s immediate thought was to protect me from what was undoubtably an extremely traumatic scene. Because mom couldn’t just pick me up or grab my hand and kind of force me to leave she had to choose words that would convince me to run. There’s a fierceness in a mother’s love that I don’t think you really find anywhere else and I’m so grateful that mom pulled me out of a really tragic situation.

Mom protected me in many other ways throughout the years, especially near the end when she was my strongest supporter throughout my divorce. We had so many bumps in our relationship but there are these moments when her love shines through so clear and bright.

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Days Gone By 8 (FGK 221)

Grandma and her friend Jean are in the front. Not sure who the woman is standing in back.
Yes, this is “me”. One Sunday in the country. The other party is a cousin. He is a ______ – sixteen years old. Don’t think for a minute he is half as ______ as he looks. He is the biggest mischief I have run across for quite a while. Louise
I would have sworn this was a Ramsay photo – but nope. There are a few ski ones – and I’m not sure if they weren’t in Ontario for a visit.
John Brown with nieces Edna and Ruth
McDougall memorial 1927
I think we’ve seen this one before, but it’s a great photo so I’ll throw it in again.
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happiness

Days Gone By 6 (FGK 219)

“Marshall wouldn’t have his picture taken but he couldn’t resist looking out the window”. I’m so glad she wrote that or I never would have noticed the face in the window
1940
Sheila at 3 months
“Some horsie, eh?” Percy (horse), Sheila, Marshall
This was taken shortly after Sheila had her tonsils out but she is big for 2 years don’t you think? Percy and her are great pals.
March 25 1942. Sheila, Marshall and Margaret and myself. Marshall’s tongue popped out and spoilt his looks. Love from all – Edna
This is Marshall and Margaret on Pete. September 1941
Percy and ?
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Days Gone By 5 (FGK 218)

I think this is Grandma?
Grandma
Edna and Jean at Copithorne’s
November 9, 1939. Jean and grandma
August 1935. Sheila Mae Copithorne at 5 months
Edna and Percy Copithorne
Sheila entertained Clarence and Harvey Buckley at tea one day last summer. Marshall made a very entertaining host at the other end of the table. Summer 1939.
“This is Marshall in his airman’s uniform. 1940”
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Days Gone By 4 (FGK 217)

Sheila, Margie, Marshall 1947
There’s a lot going on in this one. I think it’s Grandma on the left holding a tray of food all dressed up in the field. The poor man sitting on the left looks like he was caught by surprise.
We’ve seen this one before – but the back is this photo says “Edna at Coal? Camp” anyone know where that is? The photo was printed in Vancouver as far as I can tell
I *think* this is Grandma and her friend Jean. They seem to me like they had an Anne Shirley/Diana Barry kind of friendship- one that we should all be so lucky to have.
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Memories of Grandma’s 80th (6) (FGK 207)

Kathy’s middle of the night walk to Grandma’s was a legend when we were kids – told so many times with giggles each time. We all thought it was hilarious that she got up in the middle of the night and headed to Grandma’s for tea. I had totally forgotten the story until I read it here. Who else is craving Grandma’s special cake??

God blessed us with a wonderful person who both loves us and is loved by all

Regardless of the situation, Grandma is always there to help in any way that she can

Always busy in her garden, adding to the beauty of the ranch

Never failing to comfort and console me whatever the problem or situation is

Driving grandkids to and from is something that we will never be able to repay

Making chewy ginger snaps and my favourite cake are things that favourably haunt me

A friend to me you’ll always be. I love you very much. Happy 80th birthday to a special person that means a lot to me.

I’m sorry I couldn’t be with y’all on this happy day. Texas wishes you the happiest birthday ever

Love, Cherie

Cherie riding side saddle in our great-grandmother Sophia’s saddle in the Stampede Parade

Grandma, Happy 80th Birthday!

I have so many fond memories of our times together it’s hard to know where to start. You were always my favourite, you were the one who inspired me to learn to cook. I remember sleeping over in the “junk room” and for breakfast we’d make porridge and melt cheese for our toast (you even bought me my own frying pan!!)

There were also the many teatimes when we made pull taffy and our “favourite cake”. Teatime was always an exciting time in your kitchen. It was a sweet tooth’s dream! You had every sort of good imaginable! Then there would be the excitement of getting down to the bottom of our cups and having our fortunes read – you even took time to teach me how to do it. From what I am told, I enjoyed teatime so much that when I was young I came to visit at 4:00 in the morning and my attempts failed as Barry Davis found me and took me home.

Another exciting event at your house was when we all went out with our brown grocery bagels and picked what seemed to be millions of peas. I don’t know how many peas you would have after the pick because we kids would pick one and eat two – not very good odds.

Grandma, to this day you still inspire me – who else at the age of eighty winds a beauty contest? I hope that if I get to be your age I will be as beautiful and full of energy as you are.

I love you, Kathy.

Maybe Michelle lying down? I’m in the beautiful yellow snow suit (and I think we still have my red hat), not sure who is on Grandma’s knee – Jen and maybe Ryan? Kathy beside Grandma
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A History in Photos 41 (FGK 198)

Sam Copithorne’s Family. Left to Right: Beatrice (Blach) Sam’s wife, Irene Robinson (Sam’s oldest daughter) Louis Copithorne, Bill Copithorne, Dorthy Young (Sam’s youngest daughter), Sam Copithorne (1904).
Let’s Rodeo
Sophia (Richard’s wife – my great grandmother) in front of the old house.
Slim (aka Ken Knoughtson? Aka the RCMP stock detective)
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A History in Photos 38 (FGK 195)

There’s something about old photos. Even so many of these ones where i don’t know the people in them. I wonder about their lives, what did they do? Were they happy? As my cousin Jen pointed out these photos really make me aware of my own mortality. Some day I too could be an unknown face in a pile of old photos. It sounds depressing, but I think it’s kind of cool – we all share connections in ways we can’t quite comprehend.

John and Eunice Catterall Blake 3.5 years and Bruce 2.5 years. 1965
Part of the Mormon Temple at Cardston
Left to Right: Larry age 3, a playmate, Ricky age 5. The Syme(?) Cowboys. Jim and Marg Symes – Circle S Ranch 1954
Watermelons at Constance’s (?)
Bush Sprayer
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A History in Photos 33 (FGK 190)

The Ramsay family!!

Margaret Jean Copithorne. 5 weeks old, 1940. I think it’s Grandma holding her.
Look at this cute kid. Too bad she was forced to wear the curtains as clothes. Perhaps it’s where my love of The Sound of Music began!!!
Me and my first horse
My first ride. Mom, Dad, and Grandpa in the back
Margie Copithorne
Me out playing in the snow – life before wifi
Me (or maybe Gill) enjoying some forced family fun time with Dad
Margie and her dog Sandy – cocker spaniel.
Gillian – not sure who she is with.
Gillian on Peanuts. The other rider looks like me – and is using and English Saddle – but I don’t recognize the horse. Is it Walleye? Why would I be riding him? Mystery….
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