Friday, February 29, 2008

Grampa: Greenhouses and Horses

Previously, I told you how Grampa had become a grower on the Warlingham Estate (presumably), and he was never far separated from greenhouses and/or gardening thereafter. Even in his late seventies he worked for a Lady Gordon on the grounds of an estate in Montreal. On the day that he died in his eightieth year, he worked by cutting the grass for the man who lived across the street. That afternoon he suffered a heart attack and died at home several hours later with a doctor in attendance. (Note: so many scratches in the photo that I gave up trying to fix them and left it as is.)

Grampa, Dad and Me

However, I'm sure it was a much happier day when we visited at Christmas in 1947 (above) when I was three months old. Since Dad also followed in the greenhouse grower trade, I find the setting of the photo most appropriate. While I didn't inherit the grower gene, there was a time about ten years ago when I became very interested in gardening and planted a fairly nice perennial garden for several years. In my case, it was about learning and doing something and moving on, but these two forebears of mine made it their life's work.

The next picture has a sign that shows the location of all of the greenhouse photos in this blog (I think). I believe Royalview Nurseries was located in Ste-Thérèse, Quebec, outside of Montreal. That appears to be my grandfather on the far right, and he would have been about fifty years old at the time. I'm pretty sure the middle guy is the owner, Carl Luck. I remember him visiting our place near Toronto in 1963, a year after we had moved there from Montreal., and offering my Dad a job in Ste-Thérèse. I was pleased at the notion of moving back to the Montreal area, but my parents thought that Ontario was a better location for an English family. Perhaps if the job would have been right in Montreal and not in a mostly French town outside of the city they might have thought differently, but I doubt it, and I am happy with their decision.

Grampa at Royalvale Nursery

The next two photos were also at Royalview Nurseries taken when I was two in 1949. I'm disappointed that I couldn't so something better with Grampa's face in the first picture, but it was incredibly dark in the original. I did my best to lighten it, but there was little to work with, and it looks pretty phony.

Grampa and Me

In Grampa's Wheelbarrow

I often heard my father talk about Grampa's horses, particularly Bob in the first photo, 1917, pulling Grampa in a sleigh along a very snowy Montreal road. Bob's claim to fame was his reaction to the noon hour and five o'clock whistles. When the whistle blew, he would turn directly for home wherever he was.

Grampa's Horse

I don't recall hearing any stories about Barney, shown in this very poor quality 1921 photo. It shows Grandad in the front middle and my father on the side.

Grampa's Horse

I think that's almost all that I have to post about Grampa himself, but I think that I'll share some photos of his birth family in the near future.

2 comments:

Gina said...

These photos are totally fascinating! I love them!

ChrisB said...

Your grandpa's story is just so interesting and I love seeing all the old photos.