Saturday, March 29, 2008

Subsiding ... Slowly

I had determined not to mention snow again this year, but Ginger had to ask if our snow had gone away. Of course I must answer; it would be impolite not to. As of yesterday, you can see that it had pretty much gone away.

Just kidding. Obviously.

Digging OutAlthough the snow has disappeared by the end of March in the past two years (compare to March 09 on the left), this winter has left a much bigger heap than normal, so it lingers. However, it really has subsided quite a bit in the past week because although the temperatures haven't soared, most days are reaching above the freezing point. A day or two or rain and several days of bright sun have also contributed to the decline of white cover. We have yet to experience those one or two really balmy days that sometimes grace us at this time of year, but when we do, I trust that the pile will be reduced even more significantly.

I'm sure that this photo will help y'all to appreciate your local environment this weekend. You're welcome. :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Foto Friday

As I posted yesterday, it was indeed a busy weekend. Not only was it Easter, but there was wedding planning and shopping, the computer incident, and very importantly Cuppa's birthday. I'm going to show a number of birthday/family shots especially for the newercomers.

We began the day with a family breakfast. Nearest to the camera are Thesha and Theboy. They're the ones who live in our town and the parents of Nikki Dee. The ladies at the back are Puff (near me) and Althegal (by Cuppa). They live in Vancouver and both are or will be going to UBC in the fall. Puff will be working on her PhD and Althegal on her MA. These two will be saying their vows in August. (Yes, I know that is a difficult concept for some.)

Her Dad was sitting across the table from her and decided to play with The Bonnie Wee One by blowing into her face. What joy for life! I love how children are so authentic at this age. They haven't yet been alterred by peer pressure and socialization but are their wonderful, undissembling selves.

Here's a photo of Mom and Althegal at the restaurant. There was a much better shot of the two of them, but it was nothing but an empty file behind the thumbnail. It was very strange. These two have certainly dipped in the same genetic pool. It's odd that while Althegal favours her mother, Thesha looks much more like me, but we have some pictures from the earlier years where they definitely look like sisters.

In the evening, the girls cooked birthday supper for Cuppa and the clan, after which we took another family photo sans Little One who was slumbering by then.

But she looked ever so cute after her bath and before bed.

The next photo was shot sometime during gift opening. Now you know where Nikki Dee gets her joy for life.

Cuppa quite enjoyed her gifts, such as these watercolor pencils. If you haven't noticed it before, Cuppa wore her tiara for both the breakfast and supper. Both Thesha and Cuppa have tiaras that they wear when they watch the Oscars, and they sometimes come out for other occasions as well.

So endeth Foto Friday for another week. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


What a weekend that was! The girls flew home last night, and things were sure flying around here before that. It was a busy enough weekend anyway what with their visit, Cuppa's birthday, taxes to prepare, essays to write, meals to cook, and wedding details to attend to, but computer problems just about drove us crazy before it was all over.

Without getting into a blow by blow description, let's say that we discovered that liquids and laptops are not compatible, and student Althegal lost the use of her Macbook on Monday evening with essays due soon. Theboy took it into repair shops on Tuesday and was willing to pay an extra emergency service fee, but they gave us the runaround until he snatched it back on Wednesday without them even having looked at it. He and I ended up driving into town to purchase a new computer late yesterday afternoon, and then he and Althegal worked at transferring her old files to the new computer. That's easier said than done when the old computer wouldn't even turn on, but Theboy is very good at removing hard drives etc etc and he eventually worked it all out. In fact, they finished one minute before they had to leave for the airport.

Needless to say, Cuppa and I were rather stunned and exhausted when we were finally left alone, and we vegged and caught up with American Idol before going to bed. But sleep was a problem for me last night, so I got up around five o'clock to putter and puter. I'm still hold some hope for another hour or two but that hope is fading fast.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Warm Kind of Cold

Easter Morning and Cuppa is making muffins when she runs out of Canola Oil. She goes to the cupboard to get the reserve bottle (which we always keep on hand), and it isn't there. I have a clear memory of buying it not long, and she seems to have a memory of unpacking it, but it is not to be found. She attempts to dissuade me from going out on a cold morning because it's ten o'clock on Easter Sunday and no stores will be open. Right? Wrong! It turns out that Shopper's Drug Mart, just around the corner is open and doing a brisk business. Strange. I don't know if I agree with it on general principle, but it works for me today.

Darn, but it's cold out there: -12°C, 10°F and windy to boot. I recall some warm and verdant Easters in my life, but with more than six feet of snow on our front lawn, this is not one of them. But it's sunny enough, and the A-Team is in town, and we are all together for a few more days of family warmth.

Meanwhile though, I implore ye of the warmer climes to keep posting those wonderful photos of blossoms, flowers and birds.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Foto Friday

I forget how I originally found this photo on the University of Arizona site. I suppose there are even better ones available, but I find it amazing to see both the earth and moon from Mars in the same picture. In case you wondered, that is why can call ourselves the Blue Planet.

It's Easter weekend and to our delight the A-Team is coming home from the Left Coast. That's Althegal and moi, last June in BC. She's a sweetie.

Day 1

Here's another butterfly photo, the third that I've posted from our trip to the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory several years ago. At least I recognize this one: a Monarch. This is one photo that benefits from a larger view.

Orange on Orange

The Bonnie Wee One turned eleven months old this week. This is Nikki Dee on her birthday, wearing the dress that we took Mom's pictures in thirty-five years ago (second photo below, a black and white that I tinted last year. I should go back and redo the skin tones, but I'm pleased enough with the rest of the job.)

Eleven Months Old

Wk2 Coloring a Photo

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Racket in the Basement

What with both the A Team coming for a visit on the weekend and spring coming sometime in the near future (he said with many things crossed), I made a move to the basement yesterday. And I ended up spending much of the day down there.

What I mean, for starters at least, is that I moved the fiddle down there. I prefer to practise in the basement because I feel that I inflict less painful din on the other inhabitants of the household: i.e. Cuppa and the cat. Another major plus it that it's also cooler down there come the hot weather. It's too cool in winter, and that's why I move the instrument upstairs for that season. So, when spring comes, I like to head to the depths as it were.

Since proper springlike weather isn't exactly bursting through yet, the weather wasn't hurrying me to move down there just yet, but the fact that the girls are coming, prompted me to make the move now. So I took my fiddle and stuff down there yesterday morning, and set up shop, so to speak.

And so the racket began. It's not just my playing, but the speakers that I can attach my iPod to. I have some of my repertoire on the iPod, and sometimes I play along with the music rather than just play on my own. So, I added that noise to my own, and I do have to have it up fairly loud to hear it over my own noise, don't you see? And when I wasn't blaring my iPod, I may have been experimenting with my metronome. It's not really loud enough for me on its own, not with the fiddle almost in my ear. But yesterday, I realized that I could plug the metronome into the speakers and produce a wonderfully loud click. Good for me, but maybe not for the neighbours on the other side of our shared wall. Oh well.

Then, with Cuppa still out, I decided to blare even more music and review some line dances. It's been weeks since we were there, and we haven't been very much for many months, and some of the routines are becoming rather murky in my noggin, so some review seemed in order. But wait, there's more.

When I was done with my linedancing, I decided that I should really lift some weights. I had neglected them for a long time after my operation late last summer and had just begun to get back to them a few weeks ago when my back decided to play up. So, yesterday seemed like a good time to get return to it. Of course, that requires even more loud music. When I was done with that, I decided that another short session on the fiddle was in order. In all, I ended up spending hours down there making one racket after another.

The Barra McNeils once produced an album called Racket in the Attic. Yesterday, I ended up producing quite a Racket in the Basement.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

After All

Since I live in Ontario, the content of the following email is one of the few chain emails that is relevant to me and that I appreciate receiving.

It came all of the way across province from old friends in Sarnia. But it originated locally because Highway 417 is nearby, and we drive it from time to time. When I mentioned the content to Theboy, he had already read it. In fact, he read this email before it, somehow, got into widespread circulation. It was a friend of his partner at work who got the ticket and wrote the email to some friends. Since then, it has grown legs as they say.

Let's see: sent to me from friends in Sarnia but written by a local friend of Theboy. Cue up the soundtrack: It's a Small World After All.

Ontario drivers - attention (please pass on to everyone you know)...

I just had an experience which I hope you will not share.

I was driving on the 417 West at Panmure at broad daylight at 2 p.m.,
when I came upon two police cruisers who had pulled over a third vehicle. I slowed down to be cautious, and was surprised when the second cruiser pulled out and pulled me over.

Approaching on the passenger side, the officer asked if I knew why I had been pulled over. I honestly expressed that I had no idea.

He informed me that Ontario law now states that when approaching any emergency vehicle, on the roadside, with lights flashing, you must enter the left lane. He then proceeded to ticket me, taking three demerits and issuing a fine of , wait for it, . . . $490! (Yes, I'm choking as I type that.)

I realize I did not change lanes, but I do believe I was cautious. My message is, be careful. He said that they are cracking down hard on this because of three injured officers in the last ten days. I did not realize this was the law. Neither did any of my recently-licensed children. Or, evidently, not the 47 drivers (I counted) who broke the same law as I sat waiting to receive my ticket!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Musicians in Hot Water

Four of us members of the orchestra prep group gathered together on Saturday to rehearse some old tunes and begin to learn some new ones. All of us being of an age, we ended up comparing the state of our hands. Actually, the discussion began with the other guy in the group as soon as he and I exited our separate vehicles at the same time. He began by explaining how he had purchased new strings for his mandolin. He had to press so hard to play the old, heavy strings that his hands were beginning to suffer. He told me how it took him about a half hour to be able to straighten his hands in the morning. When I informed him that mine were the same way, he began to think that it might not completely be the fault of the strings.

The subject came up again a bit later when I asked the leader a question about the fingering in a certain section. I wondered if I could try playing the open E string instead of using the fourth finger on the A string. She had no problem with this suggestion because she does the very same thing in that piece; due to much fiddling, her fourth finger no longer works well, so she often has to improvise. She then went on to describe how some of her other fingers were also beginning to curve about oddly.

I first encountered my problems almost a year and a half ago shortly after I started playing. Although it was and continues to be somewhat discouraging, I am somewhat heartened to know that I am not alone in my infirmities. It's not so much that misery loves company but that I might not be as weak or weird as I once thought when I discovered that something as apparently innocuous as playing the violin was hard on my body.

Now, one of the first things I do in the morning is run some hot water into the sink and soak my hands in it for a while in order to help them loosen up. I think it helps a bit, and I mentioned it to the others. I have a feeling that come this morning, at least four musicians will be dipping their hands into hot water.

(Note: just because I make a feeble attempt to play the fiddle, I do not delude myself into thinking that I am a musician, but the word serves my purposes in this short narrative.)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Foto Friday

Let's begin with Unohoo. Cuppa posted a version of this photo yesterday, but here's the same photo of HerRoyalCuteness cropped more closely and converted to black and white.

New Dress

Here's an old family photo. That's Cuppa and I ... Seriously, it's my grandfather and grandmother with my father, circa 1920 I'd say. It's not a good photo; for that reason and the fact that there are so many scratches etc, I haven't tried to repair it aside from lightening it to make it more visible. Why this picture then? well, it may be the only one of the three of them together. There are precious few anyway.

Grandparents and Dad

This is hockey-mad country, partly because we're in Canada, partly because we have a major team, and partly because it's a very good team. Down on the highway through town, there is a rink, with Canadian flags, a Senators (our team) banner, a chair in which to watch the supposed game, and a snow sculpture of the Stanley Cup (awarded to the playoff champions). I'm surprised there's no case of Molson lying there.

I posted a butterfly picture last week and decided to add this one, also taken at the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory in 2004. I cannot begin to name these wonderful creatures, but that's okay. I had just gotten my DSLR at the time and was enjoying playing with it; it's now obsolete. :(


Thinking of spring: back in Sarnia, I had a fairly nice garden. This is what it looked like (in spring 2004), I think. I managed to get a decent photo wit both the daffodils and tulips in bloom at the same time. The ground Phlox made a splendid covering. I don't garden in our present location. Perhaps I will return to the hobby someday, but I have no concrete plans — just concrete soil. :)

Backyard Garden

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What About Grandma?

After posting a number of blogs about Grampa recently, I spent some time editing and printing a lot of information for a family booklet of sorts. From a one-off post last November, it has all suddenly become involved and time-consuming. In addition to scanning photos and writing the material, I have found myself searching through records on While I've certainly uncovered some information there, it has taken quite a bit of time because I don't know what I'm doing and how to properly record information. But I'd like to persist; I wish to do what I can while I have access to all of the records for a free, two-week trial period. After that, it begins to cost, at least for information beyond the basics. Another time-consuming task that I've appointed for myself is entering the data into the LDS program called Personal Ancestry File. It's not as though I didn't already have enough to do, you know. Oh well.

Once I learned what I could, for now, about Grampa, I turned my attention to his wife, my paternal grandmother. There's less photo album information about her and her family, but there is some, and I've also learned a little more from

Let's start with a map from Google. Using information from the album and the internet (mostly the internet), I have plotted all the places that I think my grandmother or her folks lived in Kent County at various times. The blue area on the map below is it, the whole stomping grounds of the family for three at least generations and goodness knows how many before that until my grandmother emigrated to Canada.

While the area might look large enough on that map, it's only about 40mi/65k in length and 25mi/40k at its widest. While we all know that mobility was much more limited in times past, it still surprises me a little bit to realize just how tiny their range actually was — for generations. The six pins within the shaded area represent where different people lived at different times, but to keep it simple for now, my grandmother was born and lived near Bexley and North Cray, which is near the aqua pin at the top to the east of London.

That's probably enough information for one post. No doubt, I'll post more with some photos in the near future.


Dear Ryan and Simon

It's not about you, and we're not impressed, so stop the childish bickering. NOW! Don't make me come over there. Do you hear?

Sincerely, AC

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Enlightened Feline

Oprah's A New Earth class went much better last night — for me and Rocky anyway. The cat and I endured a only few minor hitches on our computer, but, strangely enough, Cuppa didn't share such good fortune with her hookup in the next room over. Who can say why, but perhaps Oprah had her on a different and less reliable server. Regardless, the end result was that she joined Rocky and me in our quest for Enlightenment and that led to her taking this picture, which gave me something to post today.

I enjoyed both the chapter and the webcast. Its focus was the ego and how to begin to shunt it aside (my words) and live in Consciousness (Eckhart's word). I know it's a bit ethereal for most of us with a solid Western background and mental constructs, but I didn't actually find the material too mystical or outlandish: not so much that I can't grind some grist from it anyway. With mentors such Oprah, Tolle, Cuppa and especially His Enlightened Rockiness to help me on my path, how can I not make spiritual progress, I ask you.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Baby Whisperer

First her mother caught it, and then poor, little Nikki-Dee caught it. A cold. Mom says that the little munchkin is really feeling and acting woebegone. But this clip is from a day or two before the viral attack when she was being her perky self. She was in my lap, and I decided to whisper in her ear. The sensation seemed to interest her, and she kept putting her head back to my ear for more of the same. Now if that isn't the cutest ...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Throwing Up

It is my plan for this to be my last post about winter and snow, but come on, this storm on top of everything else was something else. Despite appreciated family concerns about my wonky back, I felt that I had to go out and at least do something to attend to my own house's needs. So, I shovelled the short walkway from the driveway to the front door. Can you see how high I had to lift the shovel to throw the snow on top of the pile? Maybe I will call this post Throwing Up. (There, I just did it.)

Digging Out

Although the walkway isn't long, the snow, as you can see here was rather deep. Before I totally finished with it, I left some right in front of the door and asked Cuppa to come out and take a picture.

Digging Out

I think the next photo gives an idea about the height of the snow. Even still, with the camera angle and the depth perception problem, the mountain still doesn't look quite as it really is, which is probably about eight feet.

Digging Out

I didn't shovel the driveway though, or not most of it at least. Thankfully, our neighbour did both his side and ours.

Digging Out

But we both left the snow-plough-filled-mound by the edge of the street for Nice Neighbour with the snowblower. She had been out since about six o'clock in the morning helping out one person after another.

Digging Out

She said she even helped the guy up the street, the one with the little plough who never helps anyone. Guess what? He actually began do do his bit for some of his neighbours too. It makes me glad for him.

Storm Day

We lived in Sarnia, Southwestern Ontario, a region we laughably called the Banana Belt, for almost 35 years. Everything being relative, it was almost as close as you can come in Canada to having a Banana Belt. Southwestern Ontario's summers are the hottest in Canada, and its winters, although not of West Coast mildness, were often fairly benign. There, we experienced many winters of low snowfall, and even when we it did snow a lot, it tended to melt down quite a bit before the next one struck.

When we moved to the Ottawa area, we were prepared for a more genuine Canadian climate, but our first two winters here were not all that wintry. Although they were colder than Sarnia and the ground tended to be snow-covered for a much longer period, it was less than we expected. In fact, as I've mentioned previously, winter almost didn't arrive until mid-January last year.

This year, as have I been pointing out ad nauseam lately, the weather more than made up for two somewhat soft winters. We had our first snowfall in November and have pretty well had continuous snow cover ever since. It's almost a record-breaker; the Ottawa area hasn't seen the likes for more than three decades.

So, while yet another storm raged yesterday, we kept ourselves snug as bugs. It's a good thing we have an old cat to show the way when it comes to knowing how to relax in decadent comfort.

Come late afternoon, however, I thought of y'all and decided to go out long enough to take some pics. I told you the pile was high.

Nice Neighbour did clear our driveway twice during the day, but the snow kept falling, so we cleared the walk a bit just before supper time. However, we left the driveway in hopes that she would show up for a return engagement today. How many things can I cross when I say that?

I know I've been harping on about the weather rather a lot lately, but I've been pretty impressed and can't seem to help myself. I will make an effort to lay the topic down. Really. But I might get out for some more pics later today. Meanwhile, here is one that Cuppa took from inside the porch this morning before AC had deigned to arise from slumber. See her blog for more.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Where To Put It?

This morning we are in the midst of a lull in our most recent snow storm. This is a two-part storm, the first beginning around mid-afternoon yesterday, the second part due anytime. Come to think of it, my peek out the window right now indicates that it seems to be beginning already.

In this crazy-near-record-snowfall winter, we are running out of places to put it. At least part of the pile on the front lawn is now as taller or taller than I, and I'm not short, so I'm not sure where to put yesterday's four or five inches, never mind the 8 or more inches that are projected to fall today. Yesterday, I trimmed back some of the bank at the edge of the drive as I as having to swerve to get in and out of the driveway. It's crazy I tell you. Elsewhere, the guy who is contracted to plough out Thesha's neighbour called to inform her that he wouldn't be by ... because there is nowhere left to plough it to. Incredible.

We had planned to take in The Other Boelyn Girl when we drove into the city yesterday to take care of a few errands, but the snow was already falling by mid-afternoon, so we did the wise thing and returned to our town. We stopped at the grocery store on the way in to pick up a few neccssities for what promised to be a lock-down weekend but were forced to endure a very long checkout line because everyone else in town was doing the same. Once home, we didn't stay nestled, however, because SIL was called out on an emergency, and Thesha is so sick with a miserable cold that we dropped over there to spend the evening to help out with Nikki-Dee. When SIL returned and we finally departed their place at 11:00, the streets were already clogged with inches of snow. Not many vehicles were out, but there was some slipping and sliding of the few that I did see. Nevertheless, we arrived home quite safely and plan to spend a cozy day indoors.

Despite our eagerness to see the back of this long and very Canadian winter, there is something cozy about being forced to stay snug inside while the beastly lion roars on ... and on ...

Friday, March 07, 2008

Foto Friday

Ain't it Grand?
Grampa and the Girl

As yet more snow arrives, my thoughts turn to spring. The following photos were taken in the Niagara area five years ago.

Thinking of Spring

Thinking of Spring

Thinking of Spring

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Similar Truths

For better or for worse, Cuppa and I enrolled ourselves in Oprah's course with Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth. We bought the book, did the chapter one exercise, and watched the webcast. True, due to glitches, we weren't able to watch the webcast live, but we got there eventually. One has to make allowances for putting on an event such as this for 750 000 people; there were hitches, and that's okay. One thing Tolle says that at their core, all religions preach the same basic message. Of course, each uses it's own terminology, but the concept of spiritual awareness is essentially the same in each, and I for one certainly saw the parallels between Tolle's perceptions and the Christian ones with which I am familiar.

Ekhard talks about how humans are dysfunctional to the point of madness (his terminology) because of we are driven by our Ego natures. In biblical terms, it's our sinful nature, or Paul's old man or the carnal mind. To my perception, Eckhart and Christianity here seem to speak of the same thing with different language. The way to overcome the Ego in A New Earth is to find a place of stillness in order to discover the goodness that is at our core being. The Christian teaching exhorts us to "be still still and know ... God." Finally (for now at least) Tolle claims that the Ego, by its nature, cannot be changed or fixed but that we can awaken our consciousness by finding the goodness that is at our core. Likewise, in Christian terms, our sinful natures can't be fixed, but if we allow the spirit of Christ to dwell within us, we become new creatures.

It was interesting for me to begin to see these connections. I found it helpful to put the concepts into the framework that I understand best. I think very early on The Church became somewhat sidetracked and got more that a little hung up with a lot of doctrinal issues and, therefore, often lost sight of the essential message. However, even as I say that, I hasten to add that I must not paint with too broad a brush because the fact that these concepts of our dual nature (sinful vs spiritual) are familiar ground to me reveals that these ideas are certainly understood and taught within Christendom. It just makes it easier for me to understand what Eckhart is saying if I can frame them in old and familiar terminology.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

More Roaring

Unfortunately, the lion continues to roar. Come on cat. It's March 05, time to return to the savanna to rest, lap up some rays, and let us do the same.

Above, out back.
Below, out front

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Heritage Photos

Quite some time ago I posted when I thought was our oldest photo of my Great Great Grandmother Drew on my mother's side. In poring over the photo album while doing the grampa series recently, I noticed the photos below, also of Great Great Grandparents, and I think these take the prize.

Both of the gentlemen below are Henry Brooks; the seated one is my Great Great Grandfather, born in 1815. He was father to Elizabeth whose photo I showed you recently, and I post again to the left. That photo was taken when Elizabeth was 75 years old in 1923, so it would seem that the two photos below were taken in the nineteenth century. Son Henry was born ~1835.

The Brooks Family

The next photo shows Henry's wife, Ann (nee Ann Gifford in ~1818) and his daughter, Caroline (~1847).

The Brooks Family

Monday, March 03, 2008

No Lyin, A Lion

I'm not lyin when I tell you that March has come in like a Lion. We began the month with a somewhat significant snowfall that Nice Neighbour blew out for us. Today, we are expecting freezing rain, and predictions call for more snow later this week. There is a mountain of white on our tiny, shared front lawn; it bears an accumulation from two driveways after all. If we hadn't enjoyed quite a bit of melting early in January, I don't know where we'd be putting it now. Surely the spring melt will begin soon. The good thing about the Lion is that according to common tradition s/he shall transform into a Lamb by the month's end, and I'd rather enjoy that at month's end than endure the opposite.

I did get out of the house for a bit of a drive and a wee visit with Nikki-Dee yesterday, but back twinges prevented me from driving too far and or visiting for too long. However, it seems to be slowly mending itself, but I thought that last week too before regressing late in the week. It seems that the combination of weather and the back will keep me somewhat quiet and somewhat housebound for another few days at least.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Grampa: Final Facts

When I first decided to post a blog about my grandfather back in November, that's all it was meant to be, but it has taken on a life of its own. I've now bored you four times, and this is the fifth (and final as far as I can tell). This exercise has caused me to get quite busy: clarifying facts, digitizing old photos, and locating and digitizing some old documents such a Certificate of Birth and a Marriage License. I plan to print it all into one booklet of record for the family. I imagine that I'll go on from there to do the same for the other grandparents, so I have created a job for myself — as if I needed another one. But there's no hurry.

While I will refrain from posting much of the material (amen said the choir), I will post a few more items and tidbits below.

Grampa was born on April 11, 1878 in Waterbeach, England; married to Ellenor Phillis Croft (those are the recorded spellings) on May 26, 1909 in Chambly, Quebec; and died in Montreal on June 21, 1958 at 80 years of age.

His whole family came from Cambridgeshire or nearby Norfolk (see map above). His mother was born and buried in Waterbeach but seemed to live in Strethem for a while as Grampa's three older siblings were born there, but he and the other six were born in Waterbeach. (Note: some of this information was obtained from the 1881 census from which a friend once found a few tidbits, such as her husband's, my great grandfather's name being James.) I have a single photo (below) of his mother, my great grandmother, Elizabeth. It was taken in 1923 when she was 75 years old.

Grampa's Mother

As I mentioned, Grampa had nine siblings: four sisters, two older and two younger, and four brothers, one older and three younger. There are some notes in the photo album about marriages and children, and I calculate that these ten children only had about fourteen children of their own, one of whom died a few days after birth. That's quite a change in fertility in one generation. It appears that three of the children never married, one being his older brother, Henry, who was born crippled. An album note mentions that the villagers raised money to buy Henry a wheelchair.

The second oldest sister, Alice, immigrated to Montreal after Grampa, and it appears that they remained quite close until she died months before I was born in 1947 when she would have been 77 years old, I believe. Alice was a cook who at some point in time worked in Vienna, Austria. She married a Montrealer, and it seems that they either owned or rented a summer place in Maine for several summer as there are a number of album pictures over several years of my Dad visiting her in Maine, including this one.

My Dad and Aunt Alice

I guess that's about all that I have to say about Grampa unless some fragment of memory surfaces at some future point.