What’s In A Name?

 

We’re a family of pseudonyms.   It seems that everyone at sometime or another has created another name for something already named, especially around our neighbourhood.  I think most of my readers who know us will be able to relate to this post and enjoy reminiscing …… Let me give you a few examples:

Private Prop – Probably the most familiar name amongst my kids and their friends.  Private Prop is the name my children gave to the vacant acreage down the road from us.  A “Private Property” sign was nailed to the gate at the entrance 30 years ago  so it just became Private Prop, for short.  And it still is ……  It has a popular swamp that my kids still like to fish in which is also home to a colony of beavers.   Many neighbourhood kids have spent hours at Private Prop (with the owner’s permission).

Private Prop New Gate

Red Cods – Right beside our property, there used to be a little red cottage. Hence it was re-named the Red Cod and it’s owners (an elderly couple from the city) were the Red Cods.  They were very peculiar or maybe they were just a quiet old couple who were somewhat intimidated by my large family……..  I won’t even begin to tell you some of the stories about how my kids made life miserable for those poor people ( ie. mailbox, Rob and Darin??).   Maybe another post.

Red Cod

The Haunted House – Well this place wasn’t actually haunted, but to growing young boys it became a symbol of terrifying spookiness.  This dilapidated old cottage reminded me of the Wizard of Oz house that fell on the wicked witch – sorely neglected and forgotten by its owners….. but memorialized by my children and their neighbourhood friends.  This small, square cottage sat along the river just at the edge of our neighbourhood.  According to my younger kids, the interior had holes in the floor where the dead bodies went.  lol  I’d like my grown kids to comment on some of their ‘activities’ at that place, only some of which I’ve been privy to.  Sadly, the Haunted House burned to the ground mysteriously one October a few years ago – long after my young boys had grown up and moved away from home, BTW.

Haunted House
Last known picture

Scorpions, Warriors, and the Road to Hell –  I’m not exactly sure what the ‘Road to Hell’ is but Scorpions and Warriors were/are forts in the forests that my children established many moons ago.   Scorpions was Robin and Geoff’s fort made of scrap wood and corrugated steel – I’m pretty sure remnants of it can still be found in that untouched forest.  Warriors is a ‘family fort’ only for members of our family.  It’s within hiking distance from home, around the swamp on the other side of Private Prop……  apparently nobody else knows where Warriors is and never goes there…..  I understand that there used to be some kind of ‘initiation’……….  but now my grandchildren have gone their with their Dad, Darin, who started Warriors a long, long, time ago.

Scorpions Fort

Stomach Ache Hill – We named this road going out of town because it rose up over the train tracks and if you went at a certain speed and  then took your foot off the gas to just coast over the crest, you’d feel a stomach twinge like a fast roller coaster.   I think Kristi named it the Stomach Ache Hill.

Puddle Alley – This neighbourhood road is actually the one you turn off of the main road to get to our house.  I learned this from an old-timer who was hired by the township to collect dog tag fees about 30 years ago – he must have been 90 because it took him about 8 minutes to get out of his car and shuffle to the front door…… He told me that this road was nick-named as such because every spring it used to flood and hence became a great big puddle alley of a road.

The Mulls – our neighbours of 25+ years ……. and my best friends.  We have alot of history together:  My kids secretly raided their ‘magic garden’ one summer and completely cleaned them out;  their dog chased and bit Taylor while he was biking and they were mortified;  I saved their dog once when she became entangled in her tied-out rope, in the hot sun…… you know, neighbourly stuff.

The Rugrats – These children (Zech, Garrett, and Patrick) used to live in our neighbourhood and are friends of Melvin and Nellie’s.  My husband, Chris, named them the Rugrats many years ago when they used to play  at our house……….. alot.

Musky Joe – This New Yorker has been coming to our neighbourhood to fish the great Musky of the Rideau River, for as long as I’ve lived here.  He is a ‘guide’ of sorts and brings other fishermen for a day of fishing.  One time almost 30 years ago, he and his buddies decided to try to catch frogs in our ditches to use as bait…… but my kids had other ideas.  And Musky Joe never combed our ditches for frogs again.  We know for a fact that his name is really Musky Joe because his New York license plate says “Musky Joe”…….. and it turns out that Musky Joe even has a website too (www.muskyjoe.com) !

Musky Joe

The Ronster – Most people in the surrounding 25 kms know the Ronster.  That’s not his real name and I won’t divulge it …….but it’s what we always affectionately called him.  He’s a redneck, of sorts:  he is known to be a real party-animal, a defender of his land (when he chased a lawyer with an axe during a disagreement or when the kids tried to cut through his land), and a genuinely nice person.

My daughter Nellie’s name isn’t officially Nellie but I intended her to be called Nellie after my Mom.  And my son Marty is not really Marty…….officially.  He was named Benjamin Leigh at birth and I called him that .  BUT his siblings has other ideas:  they thought he was just an amazing little person so he should have their hero’s name – Marty McFly in the  Back to the Future movie.  They called him Marty from a few weeks old and I tried, I really tried, to call him Ben but I couldn’t win – there were more of them than me so I conceded after a few months and began calling him Marty too.  I can’t imagine him being anyone else but Marty now.

Marty camping in the Himylayas, Northern India

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mmellway/6023280450/in/set-72157629726520821

 

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Blog Stats

Blog Stats Update:

I’ve been happily blogging now for over 9 months.  It has been a very enjoyable experience for me and I hope YOU Readers have enjoyed reading my posts.    In my “About” Intro, I state that “I’m a Grandmother and a Mom.  I love my family and dear friends.  They are my Life.  I hope to share all the greatest things in my journey through this life….”   I strive to share these very things as I venture through life as well as memories and experiences I want to share.

Writing this blog has given me the opportunity to tweek my writing skills and dig into the recesses of my mind for experiences that have molded me as a person.  I’ve enjoyed combing through a lifetime worth of photographs for the perfect picture to accompany the specific blog post.  I’ve had the opportunity to ‘meet’ readers from around the world as they comment on my Posts.  Grammomsblog has had almost 2900 hits (reads) in just 9 months.  Most reads are from Canada (1600+), followed by the United States (300+).  Reads from other countries include United Kingdom, Germany, South Africa, Finland, Indonesia, Australia, Poland, and New Zealand!  Grammomsblog is Global!

I want to thank every one of you who read my blog and especially those people who automatically “Follow” Grammomsblog via email.  I vow to continue writing about my experiences and memories in future blogs providing YOU the reader with some armchair entertainment…..

GMom

 Canada 1600+

 

 

 United States 300+

 

 

 United Kingdom 14

 

 

 

 Germany 13

 

 

 South Africa 10

 

 

 

 Finland 6

 

 

 

 Indonesia 4

 

 

 

 Australia 3

 

 

 Poland 3

 

 

 

New Zealand 2

 

 

 

 

Hunting Season

Duck Hunting Season opened today…… at 5:45 a.m……. I was woken up in the dark by a barrage of seemingly nearby gunfire that made me almost take cover under my bed!   You think I’d be used to it by now, after 32 years!

Sunrise

My 2 granddaughters, Kalia and Olivia, were here for the weekend and came into my room WIDE AWAKE.   When we got into the living room we saw a boat with lights turned on,  out on the river about 50 feet out, likely the hunters.  No fisherman in his/her right mind goes out before dawn on the first day of duck hunting season because all the overly enthusiastic, newby duck hunters are out in full force in the pouring rain, shooting at anything that moves.  It’s actually illegal to hunt so close to our neighbourhood (1 mile away is the rule) but those hunters just can’t wait until they get down river before they start blasting away. 

I hate hunting season.  There, I’ve said it.  First the ducks – from now until the end of the year.  One year we had 6 ‘pet’ mallard ducks – well they weren’t really pets.  They were wild ducks that we started giving our scraps to during the summer and they hung around our place even waddling up to the house when we were tardy in bringing them their treat!   We just happened to mention this humourous tale at a local social gathering and the very next day those ducks suddenly disappeared – and I think I know which duck-hunting (former) friend took advantage of them a week before the season opened.

A few weeks from now, Wild Turkeys will be on the hunting block – actually wild turkeys are not native to our area.  They were ‘introduced’ into the area about 25 years ago and now are almost a nuisance in some areas, taking over natural habitat for natural species and even destroying farmers’ crops.  At the beginning of November, the deer hunters will be out in force.  In our immediate area, I’ve seen camouflage ‘blinds’ and bated areas (windfall apples)  weeks ahead of the actual kill time.  Some friends have reported that hunters regularly just walk onto their property as if it was their own, tracking a deer to kill.

Deer on my front lawn

Many years ago, old Mr. Graham used to trap Muskrats on the river – he was one of a few old timers who trapped these creatures in hand-made wooden traps.  One year, an Osprey accidentally snagged his foot in the trap and couldn’t fly away.  When Mr. Graham came to check on his traps like he did every dawn, he carefully set the huge bird free without incident (I’m sure he was talking to the osprey the whole time since the bird didn’t appear to be panicked).   One year during duck hunting season, while waiting for the schoolbus at the end of our laneway, we had to go back to the house ‘for cover’ since the gunshots sounded so close I felt unsafe.  After the schoolbus left, I walked down our road to the turnaround and saw a boat full of hunters shooting at ducks along the waterfront right beside a neighbour’s costly boat…….. towards the roadway that the bus just turned around in!  The gloves came off and I phoned the police.  An hour later, the officer who showed up said their wasn’t much hope in catching the hunters since their ‘marine unit’ had already been taken out of the water for the season and she wasn’t going to sit at the boat launch and wait for their return (without a Tim Horton’s coffee I think).   Another time many years ago when the kids had to walk up to the old mailboxes to catch the schoolbus, a deer hunter walked leisurely by with a shotgun resting on his shoulder, saying “hello” in a casual manner.  That should never happen today!  But it still alarms me how careless and irresponsible some hunters can be about by-laws and provincial rules.  I guess I’d better watch out today when I go down to the river to trim that tree…..

One consolation to duck hunting  season is that in another month, the novelty will have worn off and few, if any, hunters will be out on the water in the cold of October’s end.

I suppose that in a post-apocalyptic world, I might consider eating wild game since it’s free of growth hormones and antibiotics. lol  But for now, I will still dislike hunting season.

Strolling in the woods

 

 

 

Remembering September 11, 2001

World Trade Center Attack

September 11, 2001 was a day in my life that was one of the most profound and memorable.  I don’t know a single person who doesn’t remember exactly what they were doing on that fateful day.  First of all, though,  I’d like to remember all those families who lost a loved one in the terrorist attacks on 9/11. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2001 started out as an ordinary day – the sun was shining brightly and the sky was the most beautiful blue without any clouds.  While waiting for the school bus with the kids at the end of our driveway, we watched a kinda crazy small plane that was doing some ‘loop de loops’ in the sky – that had happened a few times before as it appeared like someone was practicing his stunt-flying skills.  We watched and chuckled until the school bus came.  Chris and I decided to get an early start to pick up some off-cut wood from the roof truss company that was available for free (it made good kindling in our woodstove).  As we were driving along the road, the radio music program was interrupted by an important news bulletin :  a plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre in New York City about 8:45 a.m. …… and further details would follow.  I said to Chris that it was probably another small plane that had lost its bearings in the fog or something – dumb pilot – and hit the world’s tallest building by accident…….  Over the years, other planes had hit tall buildings accidentally.

We arrived at the Roof Truss place and began to load the 2×4 pieces into the back of the truck for the next half an hour or so.  One other large delivery truck was waiting in the company’s laneway and the driver was sitting inside listening intently……….. to the music I thought.  When we finished loading the wood, we hopped into the truck and headed for home.  Of course, the radio came on right away but there was no music.  A live report from New York City was being broadcast frantically stating over and over again that a commercial aircraft had just flew into the World Trade Center again!  What was going on, I thought.  I was really confused at first but then I understood what was going on.  We just listened and talked and prayed that all those tens of thousands of people inside could get out.  It was a slow shock that I could feel taking over my body.  I knew it was terrorists attacking and I said to Chris that I bet it was that Bin Laden fellow – I had read an article in Readers Digest about him and his links to a terrorist group called Al-Qaeda.  The World Trade Center had already been a target of a terrorist attack in 1993 when a bomb exploded in the underground parking garage, killing 6 people.

Pentagon Attack
Washington DC

As we were driving through a nearby small town towards home, the radio announcer screamed that an airplane had crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C..  I just couldn’t take it anymore and I buried my face in my hands and just started crying.  About 30 seconds later, I abruptly felt alarmed since we lived near Canada’s capital, Ottawa, and maybe WE could be in danger too.  Many high target sites throughout the world were closed immediately and evacuated including Parliament Hill in Ottawa. 

I told Chris to turn around because we were going to the school and pick up our two youngest children right now! and bring them home where they would be safe.  After he dropped us off at home, he drove to Marty’s high school and picked him up too.  Marty said later that the buzz went around the school that his brother had died in the twin towers – not true.  During the most tragic, scary, and threatening day in history, I just wanted my kids safely home.  I didn’t know what was happening or why, or what was going to happen next – I was very afraid.

When I got home, I immediately turned on the TV and put in a VHS tape to record this news – I wanted a record of these unprecedented tragic events for historical significance (some day).  I knew that I (and perhaps generations to follow) might need to see and hear for themselves how this terrible day unfolded, minute by minute.  It was actually less than an hour after the first plane hit that the media mentioned that Bin Laden could be responsible.

World Trade Center 2 Attack
New York City

Soon after, I heard that every airplane in North America was instructed to land at the nearest airport and ‘air space’ was now closed to all commercial air traffic – it remained that way for 4 days.  There was one scary moment when an unidentified aircraft was ‘headed’ for Vancouver, where my son Taylor lived.  I fretted for over an hour, worried sick, until the media reported that it was simply a language misunderstanding problem with a foreign airline and they landed safely.  Hundreds of airplanes heading to the United States, landed at Canadian airports – the people on these aircraft spent days in our cities and many of them were welcomed into local homes.

I remember that I couldn’t sleep for about two weeks – the pain of the loss of life was so profound for me.  The scope of the damage to the psyche was unreal.  I was on high alert.

Seeing those World Trade Center twin tower buildings (that were just a few hours before, the tallest buildings in the world) …. collapsed in a heap of rubble with smoke rising from them for weeks….unfathomable.   That smoke could be seen from the International Space Station.  It became known as Ground Zero.

People buried in the rubble…….. and emergency workers from all over (including Canada) digging through the massive rubble (which became known as ‘The Pile’), one 5 gallon bucket at a time, all in line passing the full buckets back.  Only 20 people were ever rescued alive from the rubble at the World Trade Centres.

World Trade Center 2 Collapse

Most striking that day, were the tens of thousands of people walking away from Ground Zero, down streets, over bridges……… like the walking wounded – they were definitely emotionally wounded.   Public transportation in New York city came to a halt and everyone just had to walk home.  Everything came to a standstill and buildings evacuated like the United Nations, the New York Stock Exchange, the Empire State Building,  and the White House to name a few.

Throughout the day, many more images of the tragedy, from different angles,  were broadcast for the world to see the horror.  I believe that I talked on the telephone to most of my grown children and my two Sisters during the day – I needed to hear their voices and talk it out.

I also remember the missing – relatives plastered every surface in Manhattan with photos of their missing loved ones …….. thousands of them…….they were just gone…….vanished.   A CNN reporter, Elizabeth Cohen, was reporting from one site and just broke down on camera crying that they were “gone, just all gone”.  I was very moved.  Only about half of the people missing were ever officially identified.

First Responders: Firefighters and Police

It was a shocking day that became a shocking week that became a shocking month that became a shocking year…..  and nothing has been the same since.  Airport security has increased to new levels as has U.S. border crossing security.  As a society, I think we are somewhat more paranoid, too.  It was a ‘wake-up’ call to the developed world especially the United States – an enemy with no country brought them to their knees.   I find it ironic, in a way, that the terrorists chose September 11th or  9/11  as the day for their horrific attacks – 911 being the signature call for Emergencies – a fact that I’m sure did not escape them.

3,497 people died in New York City, Washington, and Pennsylvania, including 27 Canadians, on September 11th, 2001.  I will NEVER forget.

 

I’m sure you remember what you were doing on September 11, 2001…….

 

*All the pictures in this post were taken from my Video Recording of the actual events as they happened on 9/11.

 

 

Instant Messaging

I have to admit, I love ‘instant messaging’ with my family whether it be by Windows Live Messenger (MSN), Facebook, or texting.  I think that’s it’s quite amazing that I can ‘talk’ to my family who are across the country in British Columbia, across the planet in Bali, or in their own bedrooms inside the house.

British Columbia ‘Sistas’ -Linda, Sylvia, Betty, & Faye

For instance, my son Marty and his partner Jeanette  just moved to Bali, Indonesia and are travelling around.  It’s great to be able to talk to him and hear about his adventures via Messenger or Facebook.  Most of the guest houses that they stay in have internet so they can update family about their travels.   Last time he was in China teaching English, the telephone connection was unreliable and unclear, but we were able to Skype live between our home in Eastern Ontario Canada and Eastern China or talk/write in ‘real time’ via MSN!  We got a tour of their apartment via webcam and a view of the city from their apartment.   Just this morning, Marty posted his latest story in his Travel Journal “Returning to Nomadism” @ http://nomadicjournals.blogspot.ca/   and I received it instantly – from across the world!  Am I ‘old school’ or what – I am still amazed by the internet? ! lol

It’s convenient too.  I can always get ahold of my son Darin who is working in Ottawa.  And my daughter Kristi can be reached via text to her phone no matter where she happens to be at work.  I can let my kids at home know when I’m leaving to pick them up or text them when I get there.  I often talk to my sister Betty from Vancouver Island, BC on MSN……. in fact, we hardly use our home ‘land line’ at all anymore, except when we long to hear each other’s voice!  But Skype or MSN can take care of that with their live video feed.

I don’t feel that it’s an invasion of my privacy since I can control whether I choose to talk to anyone at any time.  I can adjust my ‘settings’ or who I wish to receive messages from……. I am quite comfortable with these options.

And as a Mom, I love it that I don’t have to yell at the top of my lungs anymore that “Supper’s Ready!!!” – I can just quietly text if I want to……lol.  I bet if my old neighbour, Ronny, was still living here, he’d love not hearing me yell, so that everyone with a mile would know that supper was ready at my house!

August Wedding – Family ties

So, ya, count me in – I love Instant Messaging!

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