happiness

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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Days Gone By 2 (FGK 215)

Help me out if you know who anyone is!

Percy and I (Edna) and Margaret Rowland (A friend). Summer 1947. Grandma is closest to the barn, Grandpa beside her.
Granny’s grave.
Grandpa
Maybe grandma?
Grandma and her friend Jean, not sure who the man is – one of their fathers?
Grandpa, Jean, Grandma, George (I think? Jean’s husband?)
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Memories of Grandma’s 80th 11 (FGK 212)

Grandma, You are so giving and loving. You always know the right thing to say. You are always ready to lend a helping hand. You always have as mile to cheer up my day. You have given me so many fond memories. You always make your house feel like home. You are very trusting (especially in letting your grand children drive your car without a license!) You always take the time to talk to everyone. You are so kind and I am very grateful that I have such a wonderful Grandma that I love so much.

Happy 80th birthday! Love always, Melissa

*disclaimer: this was the only acid wash I ever owned, and the only time I ever wore this dress- but standing beside Grandma as the Heritage Belle this photo keeps showing up. Mom bought the dress from the lady who sold us Rolex so I kind of love it even though it’s so ugly. Doesn’t Grandma look beautiful as the Heritage Belle? Proof we are beautiful at any age, especially when our beauty radiates from within.

Grandma. Here is a poem just for you, the best grandma in the world.

Grandma

Bread, pies

Loving, caring, soothing

ready, beautiful, young, playful

Loving, playing, laughing,

Toys, games

Grandchildren

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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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happiness

A History in Photos 3 (FGK 160)

Last night I received a wonderful gift, and my uncle spent hours (literally hours – I think over 3) going through my photos with me and a couple of cousins, and writing down who was in every one of them. Not only did he remember an incredible number of people, but he was able to name many of the animals in the photos as well. I am grateful and it will certainly make sharing these memories more accurate. Again though, if anyone is able to recognize anyone who is unnamed please pass that information on to me (or any good stories associated with the photos).

Additionally, I am looking for a local (Calgary area) recommendation for someone who does high quality scanning of old photos. I want to publish these in a book for the family to share and enjoy and my scanner is not of a good enough quality. Thank you in advance for anyone who has any suggestions.

Uncle Marshall down the hill at what is now Kumlins (Jack Copithorne’s)
Uncle Marshall said “if anyone tries to tell you I don’t know about turkeys, here’s proof that I know what I’m talking about”
Left to Right: Sheila Copithorne, (Back) Clarence Buckley, Anne Copithorne, Marshall Copithorne, Harvey Buckley, Kenny Copithorne, Richard Copithorne.
Grandma and Grandpa in front of the barn
Grandpa (Percy Copithorne)
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Indra’s Net

I woke up at 3am today. Lately I’ve been doing lots of waking up at 3am which means I must be hella stressed. Usually though when I wake up in the middle of the night I lie there and stress about the problems of the world, while lately I just lie there and think about God and where I fit in the universe. Much lighter thinking haha.

This morning (is 3am morning? I feel like it’s still deep night time, or when I was younger it was time to come home) I woke up to a vision of Indra’s Net. Perhaps I’ve been feeling very disconnected lately. I think Covid has a lot of us feeling disconnected and confused. Alberta in particular seems to be filled with anger, confusion, and chaos as we are being divided between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. While I am one of the vaccinated, and strongly believe in it, I don’t like how we are fighting with each other when we would do better to work together.

So anyway, with that I’m feeling a bit separated and confused and waking up to the image of Indra’s Net was kind of perfect.

Indra’s Net is a spider like net that spreads infinitely in all directions. In each “eye” of the net, or where the threads join together, there is a beautiful jewel. Each brilliant jewel reflects every other jewel, which are infinite in number, and every reflected image holds the image of all the other jewels. Infinity to infinity, whatever affects one jewel affects them all. Everything contains everything else, but at the same time every individual jewel is not hindered or confused by the other jewels.

I love this idea because I often get hindered or confused by the other jewels.

In his book Hua-yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1977), Francis Dojun Cook wrote,

“Thus each individual is at once the cause for the whole and is caused by the whole, and what is called existence is a vast body made up of an infinity of individuals all sustaining each other and defining each other. The cosmos is, in short, a self-creating, self-maintaining, and self-defining organism.” (Source here)

Instead of thinking that everything is part of a larger, collective whole, the idea is that everyone is the larger, collective whole, but also simply themselves at the same time.

I find this idea so completely abstract that it actually makes perfect sense to me. And I love the way it allows me to see how we are all connected. What affects one of us affects all of us. We are one being working together, but we are also our individual selves with the freedom to choose who and how we are. Some people I find it easy, and a beautiful privilege to think of being connected with, and some make me want to cut their jewel out of my beautiful web. The challenging ones are probably the most important ones as they probably reflect some unhealed aspect of myself. If their behaviours didn’t trigger something in me, who they are and what they do wouldn’t bother me and so I know there is more internal work for me to do in those areas.

Hopefully the 3am wake up time comes to an end soon, but until it does I find gratitude in the comforting thoughts that are coming to me during this time.

Namaste.

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Faith in Divine Healing (FGK 90)

I’m back!!! I decided to take a week long social media break, which turned into two weeks, and then over three weeks. It was kind of nice to cut the noise for a little bit, but I’m finding that since we aren’t socializing much (at all really) that I miss hearing what is going on with the people I care about.

I found today’s letter to be quite timely as I’ve been really seeking my connection to God in these last few months. God and I have had kind of a bumpy road (well, I have – I am pretty sure God’s road stays the same but I keep looking at other paths) and I’ve felt the need to deepen and better understand that relationship. I had the most wonderful Pastor in Virginia who really helped me see God differently. Not that she used different words, but she had this amazing relationship with God that made me curious. And once I started praying there, things started changing and happening in ways that I could not explain – so I’ve decided they must be God’s miracles showing up in my life.

As I’m reading these letters I’m understanding better the deep faith that my grandparents and my parents had with God and in their lives.

Friday Morning – Jenkins Breakfast on Radio

Dear Margie

The breakfast dishes are not done yet so I must hustle- it really keeps me hopping. This deep snow is sure causing Dad lots of grief. 4 little calves came last night, had to take the Jeep up to the field to bring them down, had frozen ears etc.

Last Monday Mary and George quit Nichols and came over so we had to dash around and tear down Marshall’s bed and get things ready for them. I gave them your dresser to take up to the valley. Marsh has Sheila’s bed now. Don’t know when we’ll get around to getting your bedroom suite. I put the little green table in your room where the dresser was and put all your clothes etc from the dresser in Sheila’s big trunk.

When Frank and Georgie were down Sunday night, Georgie said that when her mother was so sick a few years ago Charlie Coolie wrote to her like he did to us and Aunt Georgie really believes in Divine healing. She said her brother-in-law Mr. Costello had cancer and just made up his mind he wasn’t going to have it. He is Catholic, he used to get up early, early in the morning and go down to the church and pray for hours and he just cured himself that way, then he prayed for success in business and he sure is a wealthy man now – owns so much property and takes two long trips each year. I sure get a lot of inspiration from the Unity papers etc. Hope you read them regularly, they guide me so much and are food for the soul.

It must be hard to not ever have any privacy in there, but it is also nice to have company.

I wrote to Annie and Girlie last night and to Casino Carnival and put your name on it, so if you win $600 don’t be surprised. And I wrote to the radio programme so don’t forget to listen Sunday.

Smokey hasn’t been out hardly at all since it snowed and boy is he ever wild – just like a silly little kitten all the time!.

Well I must get to work now, will see you on Sunday eh? Hope to see you sitting up one of these days soon – think it’s possible?

I’m going to town this afternoon, have a hair appointment at the Bay.

Millie there always asks how you are.

Lots and lots of love

Mom xxxxxxx

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Family Sing-song (FGK 88)

At the bottom of the box of letters were two audio reels. I had no idea what would be on them, or even how to play them. Fortunately a friend of mine directed me to a place in Inglewood where I could get them moved to digital format and could listen to them. One reel was empty, but the other is a real treasure. Talk about “From Grandma’s Kitchen” – we get to hear everyone all here in Grandma’s kitchen (and later the living room where they sing). Grandpa is on here, and he plays his violin while someone else plays piano and the family sings. I LOVE that someone used the word “twitterpated”.

As someone who has had to participate in the awkward family phone calls when either I was away, or when someone else is – I appreciate how difficult it is to think of something to say and make yourself sound interesting. I also know how it feels to be the one away from family, to know they are gathered together, and how loved it made me feel when I would get the big awkward phone call. So, although people don’t maybe sound like they don’t know what to say, the love behind the effort made speaks volumes.

Instead of transcribing this one, I thought it should be played so everyone can hear it. I love it – hopefully it works!

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The Garden at Braeside (Grandpa Taylor’s Garden) part 3

I have to admit that this story didn’t end the way I imagined it would. And like many real life stories, the unexpected turn was a wonderful one. Reading this made my heart so full and so grateful that this man was my grandfather. I really wish I had been able to get to know him better, he was a man with a very kind heart.

He mentions that this story was written for Cindy to illustrate, and that she was doing it for some class assignment. He also mentions that there should be copies for us four “younger cousins” – did anyone ever see the illustrated book? I’d love to see what she did with it. It has been a real joy to get to hear Grandpa’s voice as he tells this story. If any of the Ramsay family would like a digital copy please let me know and I’ll email it to you.

By the time he was 10 years of age, Ralph had become a bookworm. His Grandpa Taylor had a huge library, and Ralph would spend much time in there lying on his stomach on the carpet pouring over the beautiful books. Some of these books were the great big family bible, and copies of Shakespeare’s plays, printed in large books with lovely illustrations. And there were the noble stories of the round table, and the knights of King Arthur.

These books planted many new ideas in Ralph’s mind. By this time also, Ralph knew a lot about halloween and it is about this particular halloween that this story is told – from his grandfather he knew how little boys and sometimes older boys too, played many naughty tricks on their neighbors. Some of these tricks cause trouble for the persons on whom they were played.

As the time drew closer, Ralph came up with a Halloween idea all his own. He gathered together a group of 4 or 5 other small friends around him and suggested a different kind of trick for them to play. It happened that a few days before Halloween, Mr Scott had received four chords of firewood dumped behind his house for burning on his stoves. At this time, wood cut from trees on the nearby farms was the cheapest means of heating a house during the colder months of the year. Mr. Scott had arranged with a farmer to bring in a wagonload of wood. A chord of wood usually measures 128 cubic feet. And while this doesn’t mean much to you, it might mean something to your mother and father. And for stove firewood the sticks would be about 14 inches long and a chord of wood when piled would be about 4 feet high and 8 feet long. The wood was neatly split and ready for the stoves but was thrown in a heap on the ground and had to be first piled to keep it dry and protected from the rain and the snow.

Ralph knew how difficult it was going to be for Mr. Scott to pile all that wood with all his aches and pains. The weather was turning colder and there was more rain. Ralph could tell from Mr Scott’s face at times how much he was hurting. Ralph’s suggestion to his friends on that halloween was that they sneak over behind Mr Scott’s house after dark and pile all his wood for him in neat piles. That way it would be much easier for him to get to it when winter snow came, and it would be all piled and ready.

His friends agreed to his plan. After it was dark, and they were sure Mr Scott had gone to bed, Ralph and his followers made their way as quietly as they could around to the back of Mr Scott’s house. They worked and worked in the night until they had piles of wood all ready to surprise Mr Scott when he woke up the next morning. Naturally all the boys were curious to know what Mr Scott might say the next time he came over to work in Grandpa Taylor’s garden. And of course Ralph was more interested than anyone else. When Mr Scott did come over to Grandpa Taylor’s to work he looked curiously at Ralph as if he suspected that Ralph might have had a hand in what had happened. But he didn’t say anything, nor did he ever mention his woodpile to Ralph. Yet Ralph noticed that from time to time there was a difference in Mr Scott’s attitude towards him. He ceased to be so cross, and was much friendlier than ever before.

Ralph would often look up to catch Mr Scott looking at him as if to say ‘did you have a part in piling my wood for me?’ Ralph would look him right in the eyes and smile. He experienced a very nice feeling about doing something for someone else, without being asked and without expecting anything in return. His reward was a warm feeling inside himself, and the hope that God might have approved of what he had done. This was the beginning and the first time perhaps, that Ralph and his friends consciously gave away something of themselves – a gift of their work to someone else. For Ralph this was the beginning of a practice which later on became a habit. He called it “Investing in People” and it brought him a lot of happiness.

The end

So you can see who it is I’m writing about, I’ve included a photo of Grandpa that was sent earlier this year though our “cousin chat”.

Grandpa in New Liskeard or Twin Lakes circa 1925
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Teenage Weirdness (FGK-28)

When I first read this letter I debated whether or not to share it just because it’s so weird. But then I thought, mom was 14 at the time this letter was mailed and teenagers are weird. Probably much as she loved getting letters from family and neighbours about the goings on at home and in the community, she would have appreciated the normal day-to-day weirdness that only teens bring. In fact, I could see my daughter and her teen cousin writing each other a letter like this. While the name may make you think otherwise, this wasn’t mom’s sister (handwriting is totally different, aside from the fact I can’t see my aunt having sent this letter – it must be a friend of mom’s).

Because this seems to be a silly kind of day, I am including a silly kind of photo that I found. It has nothing to do with this letter, but was mixed in with the box of cards and letters.

Calgary, Alberta

Can’t Remember the Date

(envelope says Jan 31 1954 – and is sent to mom at the Jr. Red Cross Hospital)

Dear Moron,

I sat down before the typewriter to write you this letter. Pardon the ball point pen.

I don’t live where I used to live because I moved to where I am now. When you come to see us ask anybody where I live because nobody knows.

I am sorry we are so far together. I wish were closer apart.

My aunt Hazel died and is doing nicely. I hope you are the same.

Shirley has the mumps and is having a swell time. She is at death’s door and the doctor is trying to pull her through.

We are having more weather this year than we had last.

I have sent your coat by express. I cut the buttons off to make it lighter. If you want them they are in the pockets.

I started to Neverville to see Lloyd’s and I saw a sign that said “This will take you to Neverville” I got on as it said and I sat there for two hours. It never moved an inch.

If you don’t get this letter let me know and I’ll send it to you.

_____’s baby swallowed some pins but they fed it a pincushion so it’s ok now.

In this letter is a picture but for fear of losing it I’ll take it out. I sure hope you like it.

I forgot to send you the money I owed you but I sealed the envelope before I remembered.

When you answer this letter please write slow as I can’t read fast. Also don’t send a night letter for I go to a day school.

Yours sincerely

Another Moron

(Sheila)

I didn’t know competitive flagpole sitting was a thing. But here you have it!!
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