Tag Archive | Children

Grandma Wood through the years

Grandma was 17 when she gave birth to her first daughter, 21 when she bore her first son. Ten years later she gave birth to the twins, one of whom was my mother, and another ten years later to her youngest child. The earliest picture we have of her is a formal family portrait taken when the twins were 3 years old. (Both George and Gladys are wearing dresses; my mother is the one with the bow in her hair.)

Wood Family Photo 1923. Back L to R: Cecil, Mary (Grandma), Johnny, Arnold, Thomas (Granddad), Arthur. Front L to R: Gladys (Mum) Muriel, George.

I don’t know if no pictures were taken earlier, or if earlier pictures are held by my aunts and uncles, but all the pictures we have of Grandma on the farm with her children only include the four youngest: Gladys, George, Muriel and Lucille.

When Grandma left Ontario in 1910, she did not get back for a visit until 1933. Only the 3-year-old twins went with her. Perhaps that visit sparked some return trips. Her older sisters Lena and Gertie visited her in 1942 and Gertie came again in 1944. Here is a rare snapshot of the three sisters together.

The Howell sisters: L to R Mary Wood, Lena Ferris, Gertie Bowen

The Howell sisters: L to R Mary Wood, Lena Ferris, Gertie Bowen

Most of the pictures we have of Grandma Wood include some of her grandchildren.

Of course, we can’t omit the next generation.  Here is Grandma with some of her great-grandchildren.

Here is one of my favorite pictures, and a rare one:  Grandma relaxing all by herself.

Mary Isabella (Howell) Wood 1952

Mary Isabella (Howell) Wood 1952

Memories and Memory

A few years ago, my son Sean, then living in Victoria, asked for a list of all the places I had lived. As I wrote it out, it brought back many memories. Both Sean and his sister, Sara, suggested I write my “memoirs” for them, recounting the family history of stories I remembered.

I did manage a bit about my early years. Then, again at their request, began to write about my parents and their families. But the project languished.

This year, I decided to have a go at it again, and to make it a blog. I had barely made the decision when Sean, suddenly and inexplicably died. He had just celebrated his 30th birthday a few weeks earlier. He had applied for grad school and received an acceptance. He had received his first credit card in his own name. And he had signed up for driving lessons (he had always preferred biking.) And one morning as a friend called to pick him up for work, he was gone from us.

An autopsy revealed no discernible cause of death. So we are left bereft and puzzled and regretting the disappearance of a remarkable young man from our lives. More about that in a future post

These memoirs then, are now in memory of Sean. They are what I would have told him if he were still here with us. Perhaps, somewhere, somehow, he is listening.