Emma (Bowe) Kirkpatrick. In her beautiful face I see my grandfather's, along with some of my aunties' faces.
My great grandmother Emma’s marriage to James Douglas Kirkpatrick was the point where the Kirkpatrick line first merged with the Bowe line, back in the day. Great grandma was quite the extraordinary woman.
Born 8 March 1872, Emma was the daughter of Herman Otto Bowe, a German, and Quilinick “Caroline” Pasho, a Shushwap girl and the daughter of Chief Pasho. She had three brothers – Henry, Fritzee and John – and one sister, Charlotte.
From what I’ve read about Emma, she was legendary – a woman full of energy and fire. Here are a couple of quotes I found about her:
“She was a promising child and her parents expected great things of her. She completed all of her schooling in New Westminster and then went to Chicago with her father to see the World’s Fair and to complete her music studies. She was a gifted musician and artist. She was also a keen horsewoman and could shoot a rifle with great accuracy. She had only been home a year or so when a group of musical Kirkpatricks came to surprise the Bowes with a visit… They danced until day light and breakfast was announced by the voluntary cooks.
“The second night Emma Bowe went to the Indian Village which was less than a mile from the ranch house. She invited the young folks to come down and take in the dance. They were all good dancers, as they had been dancing for years in their own hall, so they came eagerly and had an enjoyable time. There was no discrimination, they mixed and danced and had more fun than the previous night.”
~ Kirkpatrick Gold, June 15, 1992 edition
Somehow I came to possess a medal that Emma got at the Chicago World Fair when she was there. It is on a worn little ribbon and is one of my most cherished possessions.
“[Emma was a] remarkable ranch girl of a bygone period… she was more than a remarkable woman, she was a rare specimen of humanity. She was a planner, a manager.”
Source: A Short History of James Douglas Kirkpatrick, by S. D. Kirkpatrick, 1963
Jim and Emma had 11 children, some of whom I have written about in this blog: Anna Christine “Nana,” Alice Isobel (“Aunt Alice” in this post), James Douglas II, Francis Ludwig “Lud,” Charlotte May, John Gillham, Elsabe Violet, Jean Caroline, George Theodore (my grandfather), Olivine Emma “Ollie,” and Samuel Thomas.
All went on to have children, except Jimmy, who “died for freedom and honour” at Vimy Ridge, France, in World War I. Great grandma Emma saw his death in a waking dream as she was dozing one day. She was not surprised when she received official word, but she was deeply grieved.
Great Uncle Sam’s writings are a great blessing for we researchers. He was gifted with being able to paint wonderful pictures with his words and the following tale illustrates Emma’s pluck, determination, and horsemanship.
“The following year, I came to town and Jim was there. He said that he had taken a job at the livery stable and was, at present, breaking horses to the harness, to be used on the stage lines to the Cariboo. He said the family was with him and Emma was running a restaurant in town, so I paid them a visit and stayed with them a few days.
“That evening Jim said to Emma, ‘I have a job for you.’ Some society group in Victoria wanted 6 saddle horses for ladies’ use, gentle and well broken to the side saddle with a lady rider. Jim said the manager had left it up to him, now he said I am leaving it up to you.
“Apparently, this appealed to Emma. She smiled and said, ‘I’ll be there at 8 tomorrow morning.’
“Now, it may be as well to mention that it had been said those that knew the facts, that Emma had broken many wild horses with a stock saddle, and had ridden bucking horses on a side saddle.
“Anyway, I was loafing around the barn at 8 a.m. when Emma came along wearing a long riding skirt that she had to hold up off the ground. Jim had saddled a well broken horse that they had on hand for hire. Jim led him to the middle of the street and boosted Emma up on the saddle. The horse paid no attention to her till Jim let go of the halter and walked away. Then he noticed something strange; his ears pointed back and the whites of his eyes showed. She let him stand while she patted his neck and gave him horse talk. Then she shortened up on the left bridle rein and pulled his head around towards the skirt. He glared at it but made no move. Emma took her time. She allowed him to straighten out, then the performance was repeated.
“This time, he was not afraid of the skirt. When she got him back to normal position, his ears were pointing to the front. It was then she tightened up on the bridle reins and chirped to the horse to move ahead, which he did, with a spring to his step, as if he was prepared to go into action, but he soon quieted down to a natural walk. Two blocks down and back, a rest period, another trip… this time she came back at a trot. The third trip she walked him to the turning point, then suddenly she let out a ‘Yippee!’ and hauled him roughly to the left, then slapped his right shoulder with her riding whip and used the English spur on her left foot.
“The horse whirled and broke into a gallop. She increased it to a dead run. When they came to the starting point, she hollered ‘Whoa!’ and hauled roughly on the bridle, stopping him in two jumps. She slid down without help, went to his head and made herself acquainted by rubbing his face. Scratching his ears, she talked to him. She lifted his upper lip and looked at his teeth. Then she drew a laugh from the spectators when she pulled the horse’s head down and whispered in his ear, then winked at the crowd. She stroked his neck, his front leg to the hoof, she picked up his foot, tapped his shoe with a rock. She didn’t only put on a show – she put the horse entirely at ease.
“Then she said, ‘Come on, Buster. That will be all for now.’ She headed for the stable. Buster followed her on a slack rope.”
Source: A Short History of James Douglas Kirkpatrick, by S. D. Kirkpatrick, 1963 (I have tidied up the spelling and punctuation a little to make the reading of the tale flow more smoothly.)
James and Emma and their family. My Grandpa George is sitting on Jim's lap. (Click to view a larger image.)
My friend Debra is an accomplished speaker and healthy-lifestyle coach. She is well known and loved by all the fans she gained while instructing at Weight Watchers, here in Calgary, and is now making a name for herself in the greater community.
I love talking to Debra and count myself lucky to have her as a friend. She is very vibrant and motivational. Dynamic, even!
And now, you can have access to Debra’s delightful way of presenting serious topics, while enhancing your own life at the same time. Starting Wednesday, January 9, she will be giving talks at the Avenida Chiropractic Clinic. For more information, visit their site.
Dusting my bookshelves this morning I came across a book I have been packing around with me since I was 8 years old. Untold decades, in other words.
It was given to me by my grandmother, but that’s not the reason I’ve been keeping it. Grandma gave me a lot of things I have managed to let go over the years.
For some reason, though, this book has always carried an aura of importance. I had a vague recollection of her impressing this upon me, but I could not recall what its import was, aside from the fact that the author herself had autographed it.
Handwritten text, including the author's autograph, inside my First Edition book, "Upside Down in the Magnolia Tree." (Click to see larger image.)
Today, I decided to find out. If it was nothing special I was going to recycle it and haul it around no more. Gramma, I love you dearly but sometimes you just have to guard against hoarding!
I carefully read the inside cover. The author, Mary Bancroft, had signed it, “To Mrs. Helen Biggar [not sure of this name], with kindest regards, Mary Bancroft. Zurich, December 1952.”
Under that was noted, “To dear Milly from Auntie Alice, Xmas 1961.”
Under that was noted, “To Dawn from Grandma Milly, July 1966.” (If you are paying attention, you now can calculate my age, but that’s beside the point.)
So, who was this Mary Bancroft? Who was Helen Biggar? Who was Aunt Alice? I had no record in my genealogical database of an Aunt Alice in Grandma’s family.
The first thing I did was Google Mary Bancroft and I clicked on the very first link that came up. The words I read at the top of the page were, “Author and intelligence analyst Mary Bancroft (1903–1997) had a colorful career as a journalist and spy for the United States in Switzerland during World War II.”
Now I was REALLY interested! The signature in the book did say Zurich – could this be the same Mary? I scrolled through the article and found that yes, she did indeed write an autobiographical novel called Upside Down in the Magnolia Tree, which is the title of my book. Now I was really intrigued. I cracked it open and started reading immediately.
Unfortunately, the book was quaint but boring. It was the life of the little girl growing up but there were no real “grabbers” in there to keep you hooked. I got halfway through, then skimmed to the back and cheated my way across the finish line. I think it would have been more interesting if she had used real names and written it as non-fiction. But I’m keeping the book for interest’s sake, anyway. You just never know what will become valuable someday.
I did find out who Aunt Alice is, though. She was my Great Grand-Aunt by marriage. Here is where she fits into my tree:
Edward D. “Irish” Mellon married Elizabeth M. Flitten McGraff (he was born in Co. Antrim, Ireland, and she was born in Hong Kong!).
Irish and Elizabeth had 9 children, one of whom was my great-grandmother, Sarah Elizabeth Mellon and one of whom was the man who married “Aunt Alice,” Edward Mellon. I know nothing more about Edward and Alice, except for Edward’s birth and death dates.
Great-grandma Sarah married Anthony George Charlton and they had six children, one of whom was my grandma, Mildred Bertha “Milly” Charlton.
Grandma Milly married Jozef Reichert (aka Joe Richards) and they had two daughters, one of whom was my recently-departed mama, Sheila Rose Richards.
Mom married my daddy and they had four girls – me and my sisters!
This is a bit of a departure but I was deeply moved by my sister’s story about her struggle for her daughter. Being a grandmother of a wee boy who is also on the spectrum, this subject is near and dear to my heart.
This is long, but may help others who are struggling, particularly in Alberta.
Our family’s journey began in 1999 when our spectrum baby was born.
She was born with jaundice, which was new for us as our first babe did not have that. She had to spend a week under lights, but overall everything seemed normal.
It wasn’t until I started babysitting that I noticed baby B (as I’ll call her – she was about 6 mos old at the time) wasn’t progressing and something didn’t seem quite right. I never wanted to compare her to her older sister, as she was walking and talking to adults at an early age (9 months walking and talking). Things came very easy for her, we could tell. But things for baby B didn’t come that easily.
Anyway, there are things that I can clearly remember such as an instance in which another mom had a baby born around the same time as B. The mom was commenting her babe was already saying “mama.” Well, my baby wasn’t and it wasn’t for lack of trying (these babes were around 7-8 months old). My babe just wasn’t talking at all, let alone really even looking at anyone.
I was frustrated, scared and wasn’t sure where to turn. I talked to my hubby about it but he kept telling me that he didn’t see a problem (keep in mind he’d have to go to work so wasn’t with the kids 24/7 like I was). I’d try to talk to others but I never got a definitive answer. Yet everything inside me was screaming *****SOMETHINGS WRONG!!!**** I even remember my dad commenting one day, “She seems so happy, maybe she’s in her own happy world. Leave her alone.” I never felt more alone yet more determined than at that moment.
It was then that I vowed come hell or high water I’ll do everything and anything for my kids – not that I didn’t before but when you are seriously put up against the wall, you just know what you will do. Never ever put a mom there.
And so our journey began. I knew that we needed to start with her speech so I phoned our local speech pathologist and set up a time (B was now 1 year old). It became apparent from the first visit that this was the start of many visits to come. We ended up seeing the speech path twice a week for 6 months and we had to do intense training at home. We had charts that had pictures and velcro on the back (pictures of food, juice, toys, cat, dog – that kind of thing) and when B would want something we had to make her look at us. Her eyes would never look at you and even still to this day if you watch her closely when she talks to you she has a hard time keeping eye contact. Anyway, she would have to take a picture and move it from the bottom line to the top line and we would try and practice saying that word.
Our speech path was a godsend for us. She became B’s advocate as I started learning how our system works for special needs kids. She advised me that we needed to get her into the developmental clinic at the childrens hospital. I first needed a pediatrician to help get me there and so I saw our local doctor, who referred us to our first pediatrician. I took our girl to her first appointment with her and the pediatrician agreed she needed the developmental clinic and that the paperwork would be started, but because of the high demand it could take up to 6 months to get in.
The intense training continued and the wait was overwhelming. Six months was forever away, and my speech path kept asking, “When are we going in?” So after approximately 6 months I phoned the hospital to see when they would see B. Well, lo and behold, there was no referral for her. I calmly explained who I saw and what the deal was but I was told B was nowhere in the system.
So I phoned the pediatrician and she told me that she decided afterwards that B wasn’t too bad and without my knowledge never sent a referral in.
I cannot tell you how gut/heart wrenching, mixed with fear, I felt in that moment and from that point on no one was gonna mess with this mama bear!! I also realized in this moment that no one will love my child or go to bat for my child like I would, so if you weren’t on our team for her betterment you were dropped rather quickly.
I phoned the hospital back and explained what the pediatrician told me. I also gave my speech path’s phone number and told them to contact her or start giving me numbers so she could contact them. I also phoned to the medical association and filed a formal complaint against the doctor. My speech path also filed as the doctor had sent a letter to her originally saying she agreed with her diagnosis; and so she was caught and was reprimanded.
By this time I should note that an occupational therapist/physio therapist (OT/PT) was brought onto B’s team, as B couldn’t run and her fine motor skills were horrible.
The hospital sped up B’s paperwork and saw her within a month of my phone call to them. I was armed with my speech path and our OT/PT that had been working with B.
We took B into a room with 6 adults. They were a pediatrician, speech path, one OT, one PT, neurologist and geneticist. I and my team are then taken out of the room to an adjoining room with a two-way mirror so we could watch without B seeing us. She sat playing with a doll and babbling to it (I forgot to mention she was at this point an 18 month old with the vocab of a 6-9 month old). A moment that still sticks so clearly in my head and still breaks my heart a little is B happily talking away to the doll and the speech path and the pediatrician looking at each other and they both said unanimously “What?? Can you understand her??” I felt hopeless and wanted to whisk her out of there but knew she was in the best place for her and I was going to build her the best team.
And so the ball started rolling. First on the agenda was the geneticist who we saw two weeks after this. B was tested for 15 different syndromes, one of which was Williams Syndrome. During the wait for these results to come in I researched all of the syndromes and in my head eliminated them one by one; but I kept going back to Williams syndrome. She had the puffy eyes, her eyes were an icy blue in color, her fingers and toes were bulbous at the tips… There were so many things she had that I mentally prepared myself for her having that. I contacted the Canadian Association for Williams Syndrome and talked with a super lady who sent me soo much info on this virtually unknown syndrome.
Meanwhile B was still seeing speech twice a week and our OT/PT once a week. We also had more trips to the hospital as her team in Calgary needs to keep doing followups and ramping up her therapies. B had to have an MRI done to make sure she didn’t have brain damage or any type of blockages in her brain.
Then the call came and all her genetic tests came back negative! I was absolutely floored as I was 100% sure and prepared for an answer. When it didn’t come I felt so lost and alone again.
B’s speech had slowly improved but you soon learn that when they start to learn something they *lose* something. For instance, B would start learning words and talking, but for awhile she forgot how to walk. It does come back once they master something but then they forget how to do something else for awhile.
In the meantime, I just kept researching. Try and research autism and you get a bazillion sites and then to try and sift through it all is overwhelming. I belonged to an online support group and also started going to one in my area, but it was the online support group that told me about the inverted Williams Syndrome. With any syndrome there’s a glitch in that person’s chromosome. In Williams Syndrome its in their #7 chromosome which can be seen through special microscopes; with inverted Williams Syndrome you cannot see the glitch on the outside – you see it from the inside. I immediately called our geneticist and requested this test to be done, and again with our luck, she had never heard of it. So I sent her the link and decided I have really had enough and I contacted the researcher out of Toronto myself.
I sent him an e-mail along with a copy of B’s geneticists report, which also stated she falls into many of this syndrome’s categories. Within two days he sent me forms that my husband and I filled out. Then we went to the hospital and had blood taken from C, S, B and myself. It was a constant sending of e-mails back and forth to his aide and waiting. We were told right from the start that this was research so it could take a long time but that if something happened down the road and something came up we would always be notified.
We also started funding on getting B an aide who would come to our house three times a week to help us out (after all, kids don’t really wanna hear their parents all the time!). She also had another aide at playgroups as B would be very agitated with me in these settings but was ok with her aide).
At age 3 we decided we needed to get her around peers her age to try and bring her up to age equivalent. We enrolled her for the next year’s kindergarten, knowing she would have to repeat it the following year. When she started school, B’s team at this point was a speech pathologist, pediatrician, OT/PT, two aides – our own little entourage!
When B started school she would go for half days with her aide and the pressure was really turned on her. She had to look in the eyes when talking, she couldn’t be more demanding then the other kids (she would literally push them out of the way and be aggressive with them), she’d have to raise her hand if she had questions – that kind of thing. She also had goals she had to meet, such as holding a pencil a certain way 4 times out of 10.
We received an e-mail one day saying B’s results from Toronto were in but they wouldn’t release them to me. So I had them send it to our local doctor and have the results read. It was negative for the inverted W.S. However it was noted it was still in research and the prognosis could change if they found something more.
For some reason I just had a feeling that would happen (again our luck).
During this whole process I felt it my mission to be the best advocate for my child in the best way possible. I started writing letters to our local MLA about much needed changes in the way funding is for special needs kids. After all, parents are going through the most difficult days of their lives; why should we also have to fight to get help for our babies?
I started writing letters to our minister of children and during that time. I also wrote one to the minister of health to complain again about how poor the first pediatrician was and how I had hoped more would be looked into the matter because maybe she did that to others and those moms didn’t know how or were too scared to speak up.
I received letters back from these ministers as is their protocol but there was something different about Iris E. Her letter was extremely heartfelt and she asked for a picture of B, so I sent her one. She also asked if I would please keep her updated as to what was happening with B, and I did.
Everything seemed to be going relatively well, except for the fact that I was going to be losing our speech path due to a pending move. I was scared again as it can be very difficult to find special needs aides that really do care for your child and their progress. So for a few months we did our stuff at home with B’s aides. It was a long time before we were to see our team in Calgary again so we just did what we were told to do.
Then came the first year of kindergarten and it was surreal to have both my babies in school. This was a hard time and most afternoons I would cry.
We did gain a new speech path but I knew from the moment I met him this would be trouble. First, he had a very strong English accent, which is hard for any child in speech therapy. Second, he had a holier-than-thou attitude, which I knocked off a few times but I’ll get into that later. Third you could tell he really didn’t care for kids.
At this point, I had written a letter to our then premier, Ralph K., explaining the difficulties in raising a child with special needs and how it shouldn’t be this hard etc. How there should be more done for parents looking for help; how more awareness needs to be made for everyone. B wasn’t the only one in the world having these type of problems, yet we all felt so lonely. The premier sent replies, also wanting me to keep him updated on her progress (I wondered if Iris had said something to him and I later learned she had).
In the contract between the school and our mental health board, B was to receive one-on-one speech therapy each day in school for one hour. The speech path was paid for by the government. I had B’s teacher pull me aside one day saying the speech path was not fulfilling his end of the bargain. Because I’ve been doing this for a few years now, I had a copy of the contract. I stormed into his office, bypassing everyone sitting in the waiting room and slammed his door so hard things fell off his wall. I threw the contract at him and told him to explain himself immediately. He sputtered that he didn’t realize she was to get one-on-one etc. He just sat there babbling away. I told him he had 30 minutes to get to the school and get her one-on-one done, otherwise, what he just witnessed was the start of a very long hell for him to live and I meant every single work I said.
I then went back to the school to tell the teacher that if he didn’t show up to let me know, but before I could leave he was already there. I reported the incident to Iris, Ralph, the school board as well as the speech path’s superior. They wanted to be updated on her so I was updating them! It wasn’t long – maybe 2 weeks – before he was transferred away, and not long after that he lost his job.
I was part of a support group in our area and I asked Iris if she would ever be able to attend one of our meetings. We had on our support team a psychologist whose son had fragile X, we had teachers, stay at home moms and dads… We had a very diverse group made up of about 17 people. I went to a meeting one night and this gorgeous lady came in just before it started and a man was behind her with a beautiful tray of food and goodies. We never had food or goodies! This lady asked for me and I walked over and introduced myself. Her name was Ruth C. Iris had sent her and Ralph wanted our meeting to have some food, so he sent that.
That was a huge pivotal moment, as I felt that finally someone was listening. We had a great meeting and Ruth wrote down a million things. I absolutely love this woman. She is so down to earth, yet at first she seemed like someone I couldn’t ever really sit with. She just seemed so out of my league, yet she totally wasn’t. She took her notes and gave me her card telling me to call anytime. She also told me that Iris has B’s picture in her office and talks of her often looking forward to the good updates =)
Approximately six months after this, I received a formal letter from the government asking me to go to a symposium in Red Deer. The topic, of course, was special needs kids and advocacy. I took the psychologist from our support group and one other member. We walked into a regular board room with tables everywhere and took our seats as more people from all walks of life came in. My back was to the door but I laughed when the psychologist’s eyes lit up – in fact everyone lit up and looked at the door. I turned around and saw this gorgeous lady, eyes scanning the room then lighting up when she saw me. I jumped up and gave Ruth the biggest hug I could. I think most people were envious, as they knew she was someone important and here she was hugging a me – a regular mom in jeans!
It was a great meeting. We talked about the inconsistencies between government agencies and how parents are past frustrated with everything. How they needed to change the medical regions (it’s really hard living in rural Alberta), etc. I left feeling like I actually made a difference to not only our B but many other B’s in Alberta. That was a good day. =)
Within a year of our meeting, many but not all of our suggestions were implemented, along with someone else’s idea about tearing down the health regions and making it be more under one umbrella instead of many.
The following school year B had turned 4, at which time some major funding for her ended. She lost her aide for home, we had no speech path in our town, she was at high risk of losing her aide for school, which we all knew (her pediatrician, OT/PT, me and her Calgary team) could not happen.
In Alberta, the government gives the schools so much money per year for special needs funding. It doesn’t matter if 100 more special needs kids move into that town, the funding won’t be there until the following year, if then. It can be hard to get mad at school boards sometimes, as when they talk about funding or lack thereof it’s because the government only gives an aide (at this time 8 years ago) $20,000 to go to the aide’s wages. The rest must come out of the funding they give the schools. The funding they give the schools is no where near enough to be able to give the kids the adequate care they need or deserve. This was an eye opener for us. Nonetheless, I wasn’t about to stop my fight for my baby.
I had heard from B’s teacher the year before that B probably wouldn’t get funding and this was coming down from the superintendent. They deem her not being special needs enough and she has no real diagnosis (it’s extremely hard to get funding with no diagnosis). Not to be deterred, I got out my pen and paper and wrote to Ralph, who personally wrote me back. Not even a week later, the superintendent called to tell me someone from the government had called their office and wanted to know why B wasn’t receiving an aide next year. Then, miraculously, our school board had $$ to get her an aide!
I don’t care if people get mad at me, I did what I set out to do – be the best advocate for my child, who was and is very much coming out of her shell. B is now almost 13 and she still has difficulties. For instance, you cannot tell her to go put the milk away then feed the dog. She is only able to process one thing at a time. She is absolutely brilliant on math, but struggles very very hard in reading. She has difficulty in processing things at times and will ask many questions. It can seem like she’s gullible, as she believes everything people tell her. She has a true heart of gold and would do anything to help anyone out.
She has not had an aide since grade 4, we had to make an extremely difficult decision to put her on Adderall for ADD (it helps to keep her focused and I have been told by her teacher it’s night and day when she doesn’t take it). It was not a decision made lightly, and in fact it took a year of research and debate with us. She only takes her meds for school; she does not take them on weekends or summer holidays.
However, she still has goals she must meet every year in school. Every report card period we are to meet with her teacher to make sure her goals are being met. Still in those goals are eye contact when speaking to someone and holding scissors and pencils a special way (if she had her way she’d do it her way). Her biggest goal for this year is comprehension. She’s to read and try to comprehend what it was she just read. This is always a battle of wills as she HATES reading with a passion.
I do not regret, nor would trade any of our experiences. I met some really great, interesting people whom I will never forget. I also acknowledge how hard it is to raise a child with special needs; my child in comparison to many children I have met is extremely mild. I was asked by the government to join in on an advocacy board but I had already started my job by then. I don’t regret my decision; I think that one day I may go and pursue that avenue, but it just doesn’t feel right for me right now.
I’m training myself to ask questions that buck the norm. To see the world from a different perspective. To challenge my current ways of viewing things.
For instance, What if there really is no God and we are actually part of someone’s dream? A bad dream, at that.
What if the government is really a force for good and has only our best interests at heart?
Today, when I stopped into a hair salon I had never visited before, I had already decided to take whatever I got with grace and good humor and learn from the experience.
That isn’t to say I wasn’t a little nervous when I first saw my stylist.
He was a young fellow who looked like he’d be better off skateboarding in Millennium Park. He had a black T-shirt on over jeans. He washed and conditioned my hair in record time and I thought, There is no way he could possibly have rinsed all the soap out.
But he did.
As he worked, he was at first very quiet and his snip-snip-snips seemed tentative. I observed calmly, noting to myself that he was perhaps new in the trade and a little unsure.
Oh well, I thought. If I get a crappy cut I just won’t come back again.
But as he progressed his movements became more sure and the scissors began to glide.
“I haven’t heard that song in ages,” I mentioned as Boney M’s Rasputin came on the radio.
“No kidding,” he replied, and the conversation took off from there.
New haircut and new silky nighty.
As my young stylist performed his magic I learned that he had worked out really hard yesterday and was a little stiff, which is why his first snips were so labored. I loved his pleasant, respectful tone with me and I detected a sweet, gentle soul beneath that black T-shirt.
I was out of there in record time but the cut really didn’t turn out half bad. I took his card when I left and he bid me a cheery goodbye.
I walked away amazed at how far off my first notions were. You really can’t tell a book by its cover.
Oh! And the bonus of the day was stumbling upon a quaint little boutique with silky oriental nighties on sale for $20. I bought three, all in bright colors. I am a happy camper today! :)
Every day I am so grateful for my family. The Kirkpatricks are known for their solid support of family and friends, through thick and thin, and here in our little Calgary branch we are rallying the troops again.
My beautiful niece Krista is working hard to raise some funds for a marvelous, life-changing trip she plans to take to Ghana. It is an educational trip – an opportunity for field study extraordinaire - but the learning will be much more than academic. I know from experience how travel not only broadens the mind but educates the heart.
That is why I am one of Krista’s biggest supporters in this venture and, to that end, I am helping her ramp up her fundraising effort. We have designed a page with her story on it and I would be ever so pleased if you would drop by and have a look. Even a $5 contribution could make all the difference if enough people do it.
Nana lived to be just one month shy of her 103rd birthday. My dad (her nephew) tells me she was already over 100 when he saw her at a family reunion, eating and laughing and yakking it up with kin, happy as a clam.
Her great age, which she attributed to taking a spoonful of kerosene every day(!), was impressive by itself, but her start in life is even more interesting. Born in a time when incubators and neonatal ICUs were still far in the future, she was a preemie twin who miraculously beat the odds.
When I was at the Ashcroft Museum recently, I was amazed to find this undated article, possibly from the Ashcroft Journal:
A kitchen oven was turned into a makeshift incubator when Annie Salter was born more than a century ago, several months premature and weighing a little over one pound.
Neonatal technology was still decades away when her grandmother wrapped tiny Annie in cotton cloth, laid her in a cigar box and popped her in the warm oven with the door open.
“It was quite the miracle,” said Salter’s daughter Kae Larson of the remarkable survival in a rural home in 19th-century Dog Creek, BC.
Incredibly, Salter’s mother had miscarried a twin about three months earlier.
Nana as a young woman
The oldest of 11 children, Salter, now 102, was born March 23, 1896 and spent much of her life caring for and feeding others.
First it was her siblings. After she married Frank Salter Dec. 25, 1917, there were her own two children and often several young members of her extended family all living under the same roof.
Sometimes Salter worked as camp cook in the southern Alberta oilfields where her husband toiled.
She couldn’t stand to see anyone go hungry. During the ’30s Depression, she would cook up a huge, hearty stew every Sunday and invite in a dozen or more unemployed oilfield workers, recalled Larson.
“She always said the reason she got married on Christmas Day was that was the one day of the year she knew there would be plenty of food on the table,” said Larson, sitting beside her mother’s wheelchair in the Capital Care Grandview nursing home, 6215 124… [page cut off].
What a gal. Over and over I read stories of the hearty, hard-working, humorous Kirkpatrick women and it makes me so proud.
Nana’s obituary was also included on the photocopied sheet I found:
March 23, 1896 – February 21, 1999
On February 21, 1999 Annie Salter of Edmonton passed away.
Leaving to mourn her loss her daughter and son-in-law, Kae and Ken Larson of Edmonton; daughter-in-law, Pat Salter of Calgary; eight grandchildren, Alec (Anne) Deeves of Calgary, Ronald (Dede) Larson of Singapore, Melody (Dave) Livingston of Grande Cache, Mavis (Ray) Berard of St. Albert, Donna of Edmonton, Dawn Giles of Cobble Hill, B.C., Darlene Bell of Blackie, Alberta and Denise (Darcy) Anderson of Calgary, along with 21 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband, Frank in April 1983; grandson, Barry Deeves 1988; son, Jim 1994; parents, Jim and Emma Kirkpatrick; five sisters and five brothers.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 27, 1999 at 2:30 p.m. at Evergreen Funeral Chapel, 16204 Fort Road, Edmonton (1/2 mile east of Manning Drive on 167 Avenue – 1/4 mile south on the old Fort Road), with interment in Evergreen Memorial Gardens. Reverend Hart Cantelon officiating. Special thanks to the staff of Capital Care Grandview. If friends so desire, in lieu of floral tributes, memorials may be made to Capital Care Grandview in care of the Capital Care Foundation 500, 9925 – 109 Street, Edmonton, T5K 2J8. Evergreen Funeral Chapel (Telephone: 472-9019).
Nana was quite a character and I do have more things I plan to post about her in future.
David Trumble lived to be well over 100 years old and was at one time one of Canada’s oldest living pioneers. His story is told in a sweet little book called When I Was a Boy, edited by Glen Ellis and published in 1976 by J.M. Dent & Sons (Canada) Limited.
Born in 1867, he was still alive and 111 years old when his story was published. He fathered nineteen children (he kept outliving his wives) and his great physical strength was legendary. The last reference I could find on the Internet about Mr. Trumble stated that he was at that time 113 years old. I can find no record of his death or later age.
Following are a couple of quotes from When I Was a Boy.
I smoked and chewed and smoked and chewed
and drank and everything
until I was a hundred and one — a hundred and two –
and then I quit
and I haven’t hardly smoked ever since.
I said, “I’m going to be boss;
if I can’t be boss of myself once in awhile
then there’s no point in me living,”
so I just said, “no sir, no more.”
. . . but I’ll have one now.
I go out to my flowers and put my hands on them. You feel the power in my hands. I talk to my flowers. The flowers understand. And if anybody wants a slip of flowers they come to me. I'll show you a little flower in here, a beautiful thing. I put this in this summer. That's this summer's flower. Geranium. Isn't that wonderful? I talk to it just the same as I talk to you.
There’s a dark face to the moon and a bright one, and as the light reflects back to the earth, so does the shade. You’ve got to plant in the bright side, and the brighter the better it is. A dark moon is the worst time. I see people planting, and they don’t pay any attention to the moon. Half the time they end up with a crop of nothing. But I plant in the moon and I have as pretty flowers as you ever laid eyes on. In my garden this year I growed ‘taters, tomatoes, onions, cabbages, lettuce, radishes. I give it away. Give it to my neighbors. ‘Tain’t mine to keep. The Lord gave it to me and I give it to my own.
Sometimes we’d go to a corn-husking bee,
husk corn for about two or three hours
then get the fiddle out and start dancing,
danced till daylight.
Oh, we used to have quite a time,
but those days are all gone.
While I was on vacation last week I stopped in at the Ashcroft museum to have a look at some of the old Kirkpatrick archives held there. (Thanks so much for all your help, Kathy!)
One interesting item I found was quite amusing. Read on:
RCMP News (June 27, 1968 P)
- I think the source of this was the Ashcroft Journal
Clifford Kirkpatrick was moving back to this area from Burnaby yesterday, to Cache Creek with a car and rental trailer. A four-year-old boy, Darcy Harris, was reported missing to Burnaby RCMP by his parents, and enquiries and search around the parents home revealed that the boy had been playing near where Mr. Kirkpatrick was loading furniture and somehow got into the trailer. The boy was found in the trailer at Cache Creek, safe and sound, wearing summer clothes.
I just love the last phrase. Like what he was wearing was any concern? Hee hee…
While my blog is mostly about genealogy and Kirkpatrick family research, it seems I’ve been digressing a lot lately. Anyhoo, I just had to share this priceless little video about my grandbabies.
Now, I realize I’m probably just being a typical grandmother and most folks out there are bored with video of babies, but indulge me, please? I proud and I’m happy – that’s reason enough for posting. :)
So now, without further ado, my twin grandbabies (who, by the way, are Kirkpatrick descendants)!