Thursday, 14 February 2013
Happy Valentine's Day, Mom
My maternal grandparents were born in England. My grandfather was a British soldier who was one of the “Old Contemptibles” during World War I, and my grandmother worked as a housekeeper. My grandmother's sisters had settled in Canada and were encouraging my grandparents to follow. They decided to immigrate to Canada with their three children shortly after the war.
My grandparents had two more children once they moved to Canada. My mother, Janet Irene Brook (also affectionately known as Rene), was born in Peterborough, Ontario, in 1932. She was the youngest of the five children. Being the only daughter, she was always very close to her mother and learned the skills of housekeeping and baking from her. Mom loved to tell us stories about her mother and all the things they used to do together: walking; gathering flowers and berries; cooking and cleaning. My grandmother's early death from cancer had a profound and lingering effect on my mom, who misses her to this day.
My mom and dad were great parents who helped foster my curiosity and love of books. They taught me, by example, the importance of family, and on top of that, they were fun to be with!
I have an old photo album. You know the kind. It has black construction paper pages and is two-hole punched with a cord keeping the album together. The pictures are held in place with beveled corners that were licked and stuck on the page. One of my favorite pictures in this album is of me and my mom on Christmas morning more than fifty years ago. It was the Christmas I got my new hockey equipment (most of which I slept in that night). In this old black and white photo, my mom is wearing her housecoat and slippers, and a toque I also got from Santa. She's concentrating intently on her stickhandling skills as we played a quick game of hockey in our dining room.
Who knows where the time goes?
I love you, Mom.
Happy Valentine's Day.