Archive | December 2011

Talents

Each of our three sons have their own talents. All three are very artistic. Ra and Gary with music, and Danny with his Dad’s talent for drawing, and building things.

About a week before Christmas each year we would take the boys to do their Christmas shopping for each other and for their mom and dad. When Danny was about 8 or 9, he saw this present that he wanted to get for me. It was a recipe card holder, and it cost a dollar. He decided he could make one… and he did. I still use it fifty years later!

One time he did a drawing for one of his classes at school, and he was accused of getting his dad to draw it for him!

He has been a cabinet maker with his own business for many years. Now and again he gets to do what he really wants so do, and that’s painting. When he retires he hopes to devote more time to painting.

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Bonfires, Potatoes and Marshmallows

With three little kids it was difficult to get a place to rent where they would accept a family. Because my husband was a Veteran of the Second World War, we were able to get a brand new home in the Fraserview area of Vancouver. It was on a crescent on Muirfield drive, with no homes across the street from us, and we moved there when Ra was 3 ½, Danny was 2 and Gary 10 months old.

In the beginning we could only rent, but they were eventually put on sale, with the present renter getting first chance to buy “their” home. We bought ours right away, along with the mortgage payments. And we stayed there for 35 years. We had already paid the mortgage off, so the place was ours, free and clear.

Behind us, across the lane was open space for quite a distance, over to 54th.  Some evenings we would decide to have a potato roast. My husband would get the fire going, and all the neighbourhood kids would come running with their potato. We supplied the butter, salt and pepper. Sometimes we would have marshmallows to roast as well.

This was a good time to have a sing-a-long while we waited for the potatoes to get ready. Ra loved to sing, even at that age. Some of the neighbours would ask him to sing, and he would. One of his favourite songs was QUE SERA, SERA, by Doris Day. And all these years later he is still singing, as a composer and the lead vocalist in the band, Trooper.

February 21, 2010 - Trooper performs in BC Place for the 2010 Olympics Medal Ceremonies | Photo contributed by: S. Brule

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Puppet Shows

One idea I had that kept the boys busy was to make papier-mâché. It took most of a day to tear up newspaper in strips and then we soaked them over night. The next day we squeezed out as much of the moisture as we could, then mixed in home made paste, and we were ready to make “things.”

This was in the day when soda pop came in bottles with the long neck on them. We put a square of material over the neck of the bottle, then used the papier-mâché to mold puppet heads. That took a few more days, and of course, we had to let them dry.

We had lots of watercolour paint around, so the boys each got to paint their puppets’ heads… even three-year-old Gary, who sat in his highchair for this kind of activity! He painted one all green!  What fun they had!

Ra loved to make up “plays.”   He would record all the different voices on our tape recorder (we only had one tape and it got used over and over). This gave him the freedom to operate all of the characters himself! My husband made a stage setting, and painted different backgrounds for the different shows, and Ra would be in behind the curtain. It had to be late evening so the light on stage would show.

Generic Marionette

We had a kind of patio at the back of the house. A trellis-like fence on two sides, up against the back of the house. That’s where the puppet shows were performed after supper for neighbourhood kids. If the show was still “on” when parents started calling their kids for bedtime, they just called, “Puppet Show” and got permission to stay a little longer.

I just realized something I had forgotten. We had two marionettes. These were the kind that were manipulated with wires and strings… made by my husband and clothed by me. The boys loved watching us operating those two… and we called them Johnny and the giant. I think that’s where JOHNNY AND MR. FREDERICKS, the bedtime stories, originated. Gary still has those two marionettes.

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The Treasure Hunt

My husband worked in the display department of a sign shop, and was good at making “things”. Like toys… or a treasure chest!

He decided that the boys should have a treasure hunt… so he made this great treasure chest, and we began collecting ”treasure” to put in it. All the old “junk” jewelry from my collection, and that of many of the neighbours. That didn’t seem to be enough, so we got a lot of pennies to throw in as well.

Well, if there was to be a treasure hunt, there had to be a treasure map!  My husband drew the map, soaked it in tea, and then dried it out in the oven.  He rolled it up and put it in a bottle!  Next thing, he had to hide it so they could find it!

Down behind our place was a golf course, and there was an area with trees and a creek… a perfect place to find a treasure.  My brother, Clendon, was staying with us at the time. He and Mickey took the boys on a hike down into the bush, and Mickey was able to hide the bottle. Ra was digging around and just happened to find a bottle with a treasure map in it! He was so excited, as were his younger brothers.

It was too late to do any searching around, so they had to go home and wait until the next weekend when their dad was not at work.

They thought the next Saturday would never come, but it did!  Off they went to find the treasure. They even took bamboo poles along so they could set up a teepee, and they could have a fire and everything… and with a little guidance as to where he should dig, Ra found the treasure chest!

That night at bedtime, Ra came down stairs and insisted that the treasure be put outside. He was afraid that the pirates would come back to get it… really afraid! It backfired on us! We had to tell him what we had done, and he was very hard to convince. The minister was visiting, and we told him to tell Ra the truth. Even then, he was a bit skeptical!  We finally got him calmed down, and back to bed.

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Panning for Gold

One summer when we were visiting my sister and her husband in Beaver Valley, the boys wanted to go panning for gold. The perfect place for that was what we called Old Jack Teasdale’s place, about five miles away from Lena and Al’s main ranch. Old Jack left his place to my sister when he died.

The distance wasn’t the real problem. The weather would just not cooperate. Sunny, then it would cloud over, rain, then back to sunshine again. No one wanted to get soaked, so we stayed close to home.

The boys were disappointed, but not much we could do about it. Or was there?

My husband was a sign painter at the time, and whenever we went on a holiday he would take his kit along. Small towns along the way didn’t always have a sign painter, so he could easily find a café window, or a truck that needed lettering, and it helped pay for our trip. The boys and I would wander around while he did the job.

That sign painter’s kit was used on all kinds of jobs, including gold leaf lettering on banks. Yes, he had little packets of leaf gold. They were very thin sheets of actual gold.

So … my husband took the boys to the little creek near the house to pan for gold. When the boys weren’t looking, he crumbled up a sheet or two of the gold leaf, and they “found gold!”  They were just as excited as they would have been if they had gone that five miles and got soaked!

Harry and Ramon panning for gold

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A New Tenant

Around here, we have a lot of people that move in after others have moved on.

A few months ago a new woman arrived. A rather large woman that makes herself known. She likes things to be HER way.

We have a beautiful old cactus plant that sits just inside the door of the craft room, on the counter, where it gets light from the fluorescent light above it. It has bloomed almost constantly all year, a very happy plant. There is a designated person that waters it and feeds it when needed.

New woman … let’s call her Wanda as that is NOT her name. I don’t want any trouble! Wanda went in when no one was around and removed our plant from its home and put it up, way up, on top of a cupboard that houses the jigsaw puzzles. Later, she pointed it out to one of the jigsaw people.

Well, that plant is now back in it’s rightful place … but Wanda seems to have a penchant for trouble!

Her next move?

There was a large, sealed brown envelope on the front desk in the lobby. It was addressed to our owner. Wanda spotted it, and curiosity got the better of her … she wanted to know what was inside!

She took the envelope home and opened it!

She found a lot of pictures inside it, so thought it might be mine. She came looking for me, leaving the envelope upstairs in her suite. No, it wasn’t mine, but I told her she had no business opening it! The pictures were then given to the Manager.

If Wanda continues with her escapades, she might find that she gets herself into a lot of trouble!

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas dear friends.

May His blessings be with you today as we celebrate His Birthday. And may  your New year to be full of joy, love  and His peace.