TBT – The House

The House

My mom’s friend Anne painted this picture.  It’s the house I grew up in.  The house is now over 100 years old.  Although my parents sold it over two years ago I still consider it my home.

I grew up in this house.  It has creaky floors, drafty bathrooms and a huge rock in the basement.  It also has so many memories that it’s hard to remember them all.

Like the cow bell.  When my mom and dad were in Austria for their honeymoon they bought a cow bell.  A big ass metal cow bell.  That cow bell lived on the cabinet by the front door of this house.  It had one purpose.  When it was time for us to come home, my mom would stand on the front doorstep and ring that cow bell.  Everybody knew when they heard the cow bell that the Hamilton kids had to go home.  The cow bell had done its job.

Or the living room.  The room where my dad would have his scotch every night after work while he read the paper.  The room where the fire place would  warm us all up after being outside.  The room where we hung our Christmas stocking each Christmas.  The room where I told my parents that I was going to Europe instead of college.  The room that my son learnt how to crawl in.  The room that I used to rock out to Sonny and Cher to.  Ya, that’s right.  Sonny and Cher.

stockings 2

Then there’s the kitchen.  The tiny kitchen that somehow produced enough food for many, many parties, Thanksgivings and birthdays. I can’t remember how old I was when we finally got a dishwasher.  After dinner there were three jobs to do in the kitchen.  Wash, dry or feed the cat.  Accidents happened in that kitchen.  Typically after too much wine.  I learnt how to cook with my mom in that kitchen.  Typically after too much wine.  Wait,did I say that already?

My dad’s study.  The tiny room at the top of the stairs.  Boiling hot in the summer but holy crap what a view he had.  If you climbed out the window you were at the top of fire escape.  When the door was closed we knew to be quiet.  The dreams that were hatched from that tiny room have helped my family be who they are today.  The black rotary phone on the mahogany desk that my dad used to make endless calls getting his business up and running.  Funny how the smallest room in the house may have had the biggest impact.

Perhaps the best part of the house wasn’t even in the house.

The yard.  The tree in the back that my sister fell out of and broke her arm.  The metal pallets that we would put the wading pool on so the water would warm up faster.  The thousands of rocky holes and nooks and crannies where my parents hid foil covered Easter eggs every year for us and then for our kids.  The steep driveway that you had to take a run at to get out of if it snowed.  The cherry tree that we could reach from my sisters bedroom window on a warm summer day.

yard

I wonder sometimes as I write these posts if anybody is even interested in my old house? But then I think that one day I will be old (er) and maybe I won’t be able to remember all the great things about the house.

The Best Thing in Life is going to be reading this years from now and smiling the same way I am smiling today.

Advertisements

TBT – The Godmother

This is my godmother.  Her name was Faith Mahwinney and she was a lovely sweet woman. I remember her being like a little bird and smelling like roses.  She loved a good giggle and always wore heels.

When my parents first came to Canada in the mid-fifties they were introduce to the Mahwinneys and the older couple basically adopted them.  I can only imagine how hard it must have been to be newly married and living in a new country with no family of your own.  It must have been reassuring to have a nice couple to help them out and act as surrogate parents.

baptism

When I was born my parents chose Faith as one of my godparents.  Traditionally three godparents were chosen but I think that with a lack of close family they decide two was enough.  That is her holding me on the day I was baptized.  I still have the little gown I wore packed away in tissue…..somewhere.

Do people still have godparents?  I feel like it is a bit of a dying tradition.  Traditionally godparents are appointed by parents to provide spiritual guidance for their godchildren.  They are present when the child is baptized and make a promise of renunciation, faith and obedience in the child’s name.  In the past it was required that godparents be baptized themselves but the Anglican Church has waived that requirement in recent years.  Frankly I’m not even sure my godparents went to church at all.

Since we only went to church on the big days. You know.  Christmas , Easter and Thanksgiving.  It was a bit more about tradition than wanting us to have somebody teach us about God, but really, it’s a lovely tradition.

Generally speaking godparents are chosen for their interest and ability to nurture the Christian life and faith of the child/adult whom they sponsor.  I can’t say that I ever discussed God with either do  so in that respect she may have not lived up to the bargain.  But in other ways she knocked it out of the park.

Every Christmas we would all get dressed up and go to the Mahwinneys house on Marine Drive for tea.  The grown ups would sit in the living room and have tea and we kids would hang out in the dining room with our own tray of goodies and lemonade.  She made the most amazing cookies and treats and we each had our favorite.  My favorite was the coconut strawberries.  I have no idea what was in them other than coconut and sugar but they were shaped into little red strawberries and holy crap they were good.  My brothers favorite was very thinly sliced home-made brown bread slathered in butter and my sister loved the butter tarts.

After her husband passed away Faith moved into an apartment.  I would go and visit her on my own then as I was older.  She was getting old and frail and didn’t hear well but she still wore heals and smelt like roses.  She would putter around that apartment overlooking Ambleside making me tea and chatting about the people she had met in her new building.  She would always walk me down to the elevator when I left and remind everyone that we saw that I was her goddaughter.

faith

I was twenty-seven when she passed away.  I helped to spread her ashes over the rose garden outside her church.  She may not have guided me spiritually but she taught me a lot by always being polite and ladylike.  Traditions can take many forms and that makes them one of the Best Things in Life.

TBT – Where It All Started

As I sorted through my box of photos and tried to decide which would be my choice for Throw Back Thursday, it struck me that I have had a good life. Not extraordinary, but solid and well-rounded. I’ve travelled, I’ve had (and still have) many good friends, I’ve had some adventures and I’ve grown up in a stable environment. While my early years probably may not be interesting to anybody but me, its my blog and I can write whatever I want. That’s just the kind of girl I am.

So here’s how my life got started…..

pregnant granny

When my mom got pregnant with me she already had two kids. Three year old twins. A boy and a girl. She herself is a twin so the odds were pretty good that it would happen. Why she tested fate by getting pregnant again with me, we will never know. The picture below was taken when my mom was about seven months. I’m not sure where it was taken. They lived in West Vancouver at the time so I’m guessing it was somewhere in that vicinity. How cute are they?

hospital

I was born at Lions Gate Hospital, as were both of my children. Why mess with something that works? I’m pretty sure that the flooring is still the same as it is in this picture though so they may want to think about some updates. According to my mom I was the perfect baby. Quiet and smiley. I liked to sleep. Some things don’t change.

first brithdaybirthday group
Looking at these pictures of me on my first birthday are bitter-sweet. They were taken in the dining room of the house I grew up in. My parents sold the house a couple of years ago and I kind of miss it. The view through the trees out to the water. The old style windows that opened up to a fifty foot drop. Looks like my mom made my cake that day as she always did. The flower floating in the brandy snifter is something my mom always did for special occasions.

The group birthday shot includes my aunt and my godmother. My godmother passed away about twenty-five years ago but she was a lovely woman. She was kind, made awesome cookies and loved a good giggle. My aunt, unfortunately, I don’t see any more. She and my mom and dad had a falling out about fifteen years ago and she refuses to speak to them or anybody in our family other than my sister. LOL. My sister looks totally bored. My mom’s hair? Nice.

bum on beachbum with hat

It didn’t surprise me when my daughter exhibited a strong love of being naked. She had come by it honestly. I, apparently, did not enjoy being clothed either when I was little. The first picture was taken at Boundary Bay Beach in Tsawwassen. There are more. Many more. In particular there is one of me lounging by the side of somebody’s pool wearing nothing but a white flowery swim cap. I’m saving that for its own post.

england
When I was eighteen months old we all went to England. The pictures was taken at my grandparents house. The house was called Hook Cottage and it had a huge English garden full of fruit trees. I love that my dad is wearing a tie even though it was probably just lunch with my grandparents. Very English.

Well that’s my trip down memory lane. The first couple of years of my life on a page. I’m grateful to have had such a nice start. Not everybody gets that. The Best Thing in Life is happy beginnings.