Mothers’ Day Tribute

First of all, I’d like to wish all the Mothers a very Happy Mothers’ Day weekend.   I think that it’s nice to honour our Mothers and to remind us of how valuable they are all year long.

Baby Nellie 1929

My Mother was the best Mom in the world.  She was born at home in 1929 in New Carlisle, Quebec, number 5 in a family of 10 children.  My Mom was honoured to share the same name as HER Mother, Ellen ANNIE, but everyone knew her as Nellie.  She grew up during the Great Depression and would often tell me stories of ‘the olden days’ :  during hard times, they often took sandwiches made from lard, salt, and pepper, to school…..just a sandwich and were glad to have that.   And the year the cow ‘dried up’ was tragic until she was giving milk again, many months later.  I heard stories of when her younger brother was born prematurely and they put him in a little shoe box on the open wood cookstove oven door to keep him warm (he survived and is still alive).  My Mom also regaled us with stories of life during the Second World War:  once, a German spy was captured in their small town and they often saw submarines out in the bay.  When those at home wrote letters to older siblings working in factories in Montreal, the ‘government’ blacked out much of the written words…..

1953 Mom and Me

My Mom and Dad were married in 1947 and moved to Ontario in 1951.  My Mother always loved the farm where she was raised but admitted she never liked the animal killing times.  It must have been immensely painful for her to move 1,000 miles away from everyone and everything she always knew, to an unfamiliar city where she knew nobody.  She was a REAL pioneer in the every sense.  They moved to a small little apartment downtown with my oldest sister Faye, and my middle Sister, Betty, joined the family soon afterwards.  My Mother always had positive memories of that challenging time with two young children and NO family nearby.  But she was resourceful and friendly, meeting others, young and old to spend her days with.  Just after I was born in 1953, our family moved to post WWII housing in a ‘survey’ (subdivision) along side of other young families.  I believe that those were some of the happiest days of my Mom’s life.  She forged lifelong friendships with the neighbours:  Flo, Lois, Gert.  During the summer, all the parents would congregate on OUR front steps to chat and ‘gossip’ while us kids would be playing outside until dark.  I can remember many nights, after I had gone to bed, drifting off to sleep, hearing their voices and laughter……it’s a sweet memory.   I remember various relatives from the east coast visiting us for weeks and months at a time – Mom welcomed them with open arms, cooking and cleaning and looking after them.

Early ’60s Neighbourhood

During the winter, my parents made an ice rink and ‘sliding hill’  for all the neighbourhood kids to use.  I recall times when my Mom would be outside in the dark late at night, after all the kids had gone home, watering the rink/hill wearing just a skirt, coat, flimsy scarf tied on her head, and gloves with finger tips cut out.  During this time, I also remember that she had a washboard for doing all our laundry by hand in the laundry sink and hung it outdoors to dry even in the winter.  She upgraded to a wringer washer until the late 1960s when she got her first automatic washer and dryer (but still hung the clothes outside).   But my favourite overall memory is watching Hockey Night in Canada laying on my Mother’s lap until I fell asleep,  from the time  I was 2 years old.

Mom 1972

My Mom was the perfect Mother.  She taught us that ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover’, so don’t be prejudiced.  She taught us to love mankind and the whole world around us.  She loved and respected nature and God.  She was a terrific gardener, both vegetables and flowers,  and once even won the city of Hamilton’s prestigious Trillium Award for one of the best front gardens. She was a Mother you could talk to – most of our friends preferred to be at our house rather than at their own homes and they often came to her with their problems or concerns.  Everyone knew she wouldn’t be judgemental.   Mom was hard working too – when we were young, she worked evenings cleaning offices with ‘Ernie’s girls’;   then babysat other Mothers’ children;  and finally near the end of her young life, she worked in a ‘Prep High School’ cafeteria – she rode her bicycle the 5 miles to work each day both ways…….all while raising a family.

Last Picture of Mom 1975

I remember my Mother as a young woman, many years younger than I am now.  I was just 22 years old when my Mom died suddenly in 1975 leaving us stunned and broken hearted.   She was only 45 years old.  She had two grandchildren (1 year old Brodie (Betty’s) and 4 week old Robin -my oldest) who were the love of her life.  I know that she would be proud of us girls and all those grandchildren she never met.   But a little bit of HER lives in all of US.

Mom, I dedicate this to you.

3 Generations – early ’70s


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Iona
    May 11, 2012 @ 08:58:54

    Wow…. that brought tears to my eyes and a big lump in my throat… Our mother truly was the sweetest, kindest and most gentle loving human being I have ever known. How lucky we are to have had her for our mother… and after all these years – I still miss her and my heart still aches…

    I do however, feel incredibly blessed that my beautiful children – daughter Brodie and son Curtis – are truly sooo… much like my beloved mother in many, many ways…their caring demeanour, their kindness toward others and their gentle spirits make me such a proud mom…

    Thank you mom….


  2. Maureen Sinclair
    May 11, 2012 @ 12:42:11

    Wow, forsure. She was a great lady. I remember her so well & loved her. She was a great lady, ,So kind to all. When Murray & I stayed with your Mum & Dad, they were so good to us, I will never forget her, So sweet & kind to everyone. Happy Mother’s Day to all here & those who are not. They will never be forgotten. I miss & loved my Mum as well.A. Nell loved her family so much. She had a heart of gold. Love you & still miss her. She is God’s Angel now , & proud of you girls & your families. xo


  3. grammomsblog
    May 11, 2012 @ 15:04:38

    Thanks Maureen – you said it SO well…..


  4. Carolyn Renouf
    May 25, 2012 @ 06:42:55

    yes linda we could always talk to her thats for sure i just loved her


  5. grammomsblog
    May 12, 2013 @ 12:30:31

    Reblogged this on Grammomsblog and commented:

    Happy Mothers Day to all those readers who are Moms. So far today, I’ve enjoy a beautiful sunny, but windy day. It started off pretty cool so I did what I love to do (after all it IS Mothers Day!) – make a fire in the cookstove. Unfortunately, Nellie started getting sick last evening so today I’m doing what I love and do best: taking care of my children, even when they’re all grown up. Melvin came home on Thursday from his new abode in the city so he could work his weekend shifts. First thing this morning we shared Mothers Day while I drove him to work. Later on this afternoon, we will spend a few hours together before he has to go back to work his split shift today………… We’ve decided that we’ll have our Mothers Day supper (that Nellie is going to cook – pork chops with mushroom soup gravy, mashed potatoes, and corn) tomorrow when she’s feeling better. I guess, a ‘do-over’ you could say.
    I want to celebrate this very special day on my blog by reposting the “Mothers Day Tribute” that I wrote last year. It’s about my own dear, sweet Mother …………. so Mom, this is in honour of you:


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