Archive for the ‘Treasures’ Category

Muscular Dystrophy

In Treasures on October 1, 2010 at 5:54 PM

Today I’m going to take a step forward from the past and write about my nephew, a wonderful little almost-8-year old boy.  I smile just thinking about him.  Which is how it should be.

My nephew was diagnosed in 2006 with Duchene’s Muscular Dystrophy.  The light of our lives, and the only grandchild in this branch of the family, was hung with a death sentence.  Not an immediate one, but a slow one.  Of course he doesn’t know any different and it certainly doesn’t seem to affect him, except sometimes when he’d like to run with the other kids but just can’t.  Muscular Dystrophy means that his body, instead of creating muscle tissue in his muscles, is creating scar tissue.  So while he can still walk, it is more and more difficult for him.  One day he will be unable.   Slowly his muscles will all stop working.  The heart is a muscle. Generally this happens before age 20.  (This is a brief very non-scientific description.  For more detailed info see wikipedia and Muscular Dystrophy Canada )

But enough of the depressing stuff.  There are wonderful people and charities out there.  Children’s Wish Foundation and Make a Wish Foundation are just two.  But they are two that have helped my nephew and his family have some “time off” from his diagnosis.  And while my nephew undoubtably loved his trips to Legoland (he’s a huge Lego fanatic), I am happy for the break it gave my sister and her husband.  Much of my sister’s time these days is spent finding funding to help them adapt their lives to my nephew’s special needs.  Currently they are selling their home–it has 2 stories and my nephew can not do stairs.  He also recently outgrew his stroller chair, an important mobility device.  A new one runs in the 1000s of dollars.  Soon he will require a motorized device, and that will mean they will need a vehicle that can carry such a device.   Medications and appointments are 100s of dollars each month.

As often accompanies such a diagnosis, my nephew’s learning ability is also affected.  So my sister is home schooling him.  Between school, medications and medical appointments (both western and non-traditional), my sister hardly has time to breath, as the saying goes.  One of the things, besides Lego, that my nephew loves is his horseriding.  Yup, horse riding therapy.  Now if you’re like I was before all this, you may have heard of this but really have no idea how riding a horse can be theraputic.  Basically the kids learn to ride the horse, and then do stretches, such as leaning to one side then the other, while seated on the horse.  It’s a fun way to get them to do exercises that benefit their muscles.  This is largely volunteer run as well.

So, to all you folks out there who donate money, time and other means of support to these wonderful programs, THANK YOU.  There is so little I can do, as an aunt in a distant city, to help my nephew, sister and brother-in-law and it relieves my mind to know they are being helped by kind strangers.

And as I re-read this posting, I see I seemed to have written more about my sister than my nephew.  They both amaze me so much, so often….I love them so dearly.  I think I’ll leave it at that.


Little Blue Letters home, WWII

In My Genealogy, Treasures on June 24, 2010 at 8:06 AM

I’ve had the honour lately of reading many of the letters my biological grandfather wrote to my grandma while he was overseas during WWII.  He and grandma married about two months before he was shipped overseas.  They both turned 21 while he was over there.  The letters talk of his different postings and “joe jobs”, getting and giving the latest “gen”, the shows put on in the local town for the boys and the friends he’d made both in training and while over there.  But mostly they talk about his love for grandma, his contentedness at being a husband, his loneliness for her and frustration with the distance between them.  They read almost as a diaryand as the letter dates move onward, I can read how he is changing, become more mature and changing from a lovestruck boy into a husband.

Perhaps most striking to me is, however, how much he  is a part of me.  The way he writes, the things he chooses to write about, his outlook on life, and even the “blues” he suffers from time to time, all ring true in me.  I feel I know a man I never met almost as well as I know myself.  But perhaps that’s the romantic in me too.

Of course, I’m also armed with the knowledge of how long he ends up staying over there, how long it will be until he can hold his “little wife” in his arms again, and how short his life would be after he arrived home.  His dreams of a couple of children and a home of their own….well, they were not to be.  They did conceive one child before he fell so very ill and died when that child was just 13 months old.

So I wonder what he would have been like as a grandfather, what type of person he would have become as he aged and how our lives may’ve been different had he lived.

Grandma did not like to talk about those times or about him, which, frustrating as it was to me as family historian,  I’m beginning to understand a little better now.  They must have been wonderful & yet painful and frustrating times.  From being a new bride being left alone for several years, to finally having him home, to his falling ill and being in hospital for months before he died.  And those last ones happening while she was raising a toddler.  Memories left lying quietly, not relived simply because a granddaughter keeps asking questions.

Luckily grandma did find love again, and married the man I know as “grandpa”, and he too was a wonderful man who took us grandkids to the local corner store, pointed to the candy aisle and said “pick out what you want”.  So while I will never really know my biological grandfather, the grandpa I had was a kind and marvellous man in himself.  Even if I don’t have his genes to give me some extra height.  😉

Treasure is an Unknown postcard, Plymouth

In Deacon, My Genealogy, Treasures on June 3, 2010 at 8:22 AM

This postcard was found in my grandmother’s things.  It has a carefully placed pin or tack holes at the centre top and bottom, leading me to believe it was pinned up at some time.  Grandma never went to England.  And some quick research on phone numbers in Plymouth leads me to believe this postcard predates her birth.  Some more admittedly hopeful elimination and I believe this postcard belonged to my mysterious great-grandmother.  Is this yet another clue to her secretive past?

Are there any postcard afficiandos out there who can perhaps tell me any more about this postcard?  I wonder how common it was in the early 1900s to have postcards made up of restaurants/businesses.  Can the interior of the restaurant tell me anything about what sort of restaurant it was, what clientelle it may’ve attracted?  What ever happened to Jones’ Restaurant at 3 Union Street, Plymouth?  Would the “85” (or “B5”?) in the corner itself be simply a photographers mark on the negative, or does it have other meanings?  Perhaps it’s just me being optimistic, but is that a man sitting in the back booth at the far right side?  Other than the telephone number, are there any other things that might point to this postcard dating to the 1905-1908 time period, or any other time period?

A simple postcard, so many questions.

Happiness is…

In My Genealogy, Treasures on April 10, 2010 at 6:53 AM

Oooooooooooooo!!  Look at ALL that stuff!!!  Pictures, documents, letters, cards and who knows what else!    Yup, that is three boxes of grandma’s things sitting on my table, kindly lent to me by relatives, waiting to be scanned and documentented.  A genealogical treasure chest to be sure.  If you don’t see or hear from me in the next while, you know what I’m up to.  Too bad there aren’t daily ScanFests.

Oh, and don’t panic, the can of air in the background is for an iPod Nano repair I’m attempting.

Treasure Chest Thursday–Nana’s Vase

In Treasures on February 18, 2010 at 11:18 AM

This vase, below, belonged to my Nana (great-grandmother).  It stood on a tiny corner wall shelf in their living room for years and years.  I’ve always liked the look of it, the colouring, the shape and the flowers.  I love the symmetry!  So when she offered it to me, and I was too shy to accept, thankfully mom accepted it.  Today I proudly display it in my home.

The story goes that Nana had helped a friend out, and as a thank you was told to pick something out in the house.  Nana chose the vase.  “You needn’t be worried about it’s value, Jennie” the woman said to Nana.  I’m not sure if that means it has value, or has none…LOL.  If I had to guess, I’d say that must’ve been 60 or maybe 70 years ago now, but it really would be a guess (I’ll have to remember to ask mom if she remembers which friend it was!).

and the bottom:

(yes, the marks are all blurry.  “W12” and “871” or “877” are impressed.

If anyone out there knows anything about my vase, I’d love to hear about it.  Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I prounounce that vase, rhymes with face, not vase, rhymes with Oz.  😉

Thanks again to Geneabloggers for the theme subjects.  Without you, I’d be having a hard time finding things to write about!