S: Family History
FC: Gladys Hazel Pedwell-Read | "To my girls, with love."
2: The unpublished works of Gladys Hazel Read reveal a woman filled with a spiritual awareness and personal faith. These works include religious poetry, devotional material, religious plays and Bible teachings. While this type of work does not occupy an “academic” position, it does reach a large audience. Regardless of personal beliefs or varying religious doctrines, human beings tend to need some sort of religious or spiritual comfort in times of unease, depression or crisis; Gladys’ work fulfills this need. In the following poem Gladys Read describes the reasons why she writes her poetry. My Prayer Father, what I write is just my prayer Not in magnificent or mighty words But the simple breathings of my heart Upwards towards my Lord. I do not pray these mighty words I trust that’s not a sin But in the quietness kneeling here These thoughts pour out from deep within. I trust you Lord with all I am And those you gave me with your love Sufficient may my simple way Be pleasing to you there above. I need your cleansing as I walk Your spirit fill my soul That silent prodding cleansing voice Which alone can make me whole. I need your forgiveness, need to know Thy will, thy plan to see And now as I lay me down to sleep Sweet comforter, comfort me.
3: Born in Toronto, Ontario on February 17, 1916 to Hazel and Frederick Pedwell, Gladys grew up as an only child. Her family was structured as a strong matriarchy and her father worshipped her mother. She attended high school at Oakwood Collegiate and was accepted into the University of Toronto’s Pre-medicine programme. After completing her first year of studies she spent a summer living with, and working for, the Read family in Bobcaygeon, Ontario. This family was a very “old” family, UEL descendants of Captain John Read, an officer in Cromwell’s army who fled England and arrived in North America in the 1660s. Gladys fell in love with Kenneth Sheffield Read, 15 years her senior, and they married on November 17, 1934, “A Tuesday, we couldn’t marry on the weekend because Ken was needed at the store,” Gladys always says when she talks of her marriage. Their wedding was a well publicized event. As a treat during my own childhood I was allowed to look at the various clippings from Canada and abroad, mostly from specialized trade journals, that trumpeted this marriage that united two “lumber families”. Most of the articles show a photograph of the bride and groom cutting a rather untraditional wedding cake; a silver and glass horse team pulling a cake shaped as a sled of logs, and the newlyweds who used a special cross-saw to cut the log cake. As a young wife and mother, Gladys didn’t have time for her writing. Her husband and brother-in-law were co-owners of Crystal Lake Hardwoods, which included a prosperous lumber company, mining and mineral rights and the local general store. The one constant in Gladys’ life has been her involvement in the community and her deep commitment to her church. In 1988 she won an Air Canada Heart of Gold certificate and pin for her volunteer work for Meals-on-Wheels. Yet she is humble; her own family did not find out about the award until we read about it in the local paper. A charity she deeply believes in results from her own unfinished medical education; through the Mustard Seed Mission she has provided the financial support for many Tiawanese girls to complete their nursing degrees. Gladys has always enjoyed working with her hands. She is a very talented quilter. Her quilts grace many family homes and are considered a family heirloom when received (usually as a wedding gift). Long before she started writing, Gladys expressed her creativity in needle work. She is a great knitter and is a regular contributor of hand-knit layettes for the newborns of teen mothers who are living in a Peterborough Crisis Centre. She has needlepointed chairs and made wall draperies, knit sweaters and smocked girls’ dresses. In Margaret Lawrence’s memoir, Dance on the Earth, Margaret describes her grandmother in a description that can also be applied to my grandmother, Gladys Read: “I did not realize until long after I was grown up that my grandmother was an artist. The works of her art were all around us in the Simpson house. My grandmother made quilts too. Some of them were patchwork, with intricate designs put together from the scraps of the dresses she sewed. Quilts were viewed in those days not as works of art but as practical and affordable necessities. I am quite sure that my grandmother never thought of herself as an artist or even a craftswoman but artist she was.” (Dance On The Earth, p 12)
4: Gladys’ writing career started with her involvement in the Knox Presbyterian Women’s Group. On a rotating basis the women were responsible for writing a theme and then providing biblical references and prayer developed on that theme. Years ago Gladys offered her large home for a Wednesday morning Bible study and eventually she was writing the lessons and leading the women. Her poetry comes from this rich immersion in Biblical traditions. Many of her poems stem from her own feelings. After a busy day at a Bible conference, at 11 pm, she wrote the following untitled poem: I asked to be busy, Lord And you filled my days, For which I am grateful But I miss time to praise. You gave me a work to do Which I do with a will But in all the working, I miss time to be still. I thank you for hands That can do things for you But while I am doing, Do you miss me too? What I am saying Lord Is simply just this, I, too, need my moments Of Heavenly bliss. This poem is an expression of a woman who, at times, tends to over-extend herself. It can apply to all of us who get caught up in the demands of every day life, especially for women who must struggle to balance family and career and tend to lose themselves in the process. For many years I have pestered my grandmother to submit her poetry for publication, but to no avail. She repeatedly told me that she couldn’t conceive of other people appreciating or wanting to read her poetry. This past Christmas she gave me a blank-book in which she had written down some of her poems. This gift was handed to me with instructions, “do what you want with it”. It wasn’t until I started to read some of her poems that I fully appreciated how lucky I and my descendants are to have this material in one place. Some of her poems are prefaced with the following:
5: “When I wrote this,I can’t remember, I found it written on the back of an envelope” I needed the quiet so He drew me aside Into the shadow where we could confide Away from the bustle where all the day long I hurried and worried when active and strong. I needed the quiet tho’ at first I rebelled But gently, so gently, my cross he upheld And whispered so sweetly of Spiritual things Tho’ weakened in body, my spirit took wings To heights never dreamed of when active and gay He loved me so greatly He drew me away. I needed the quiet, no prison my bed But a beautiful valley of blessing instead A place to grow richer, in Jesus to hide I needed the quiet, so He drew me aside. I have no idea when this was written as I have no conscious memories of my grandmother ever being bed-ridden. The preface to this poem actually startled me and made me wonder how many other pieces of her art have inadvertently been thrown away. Inspiration has a tendency to come upon an artist at the most awkward times. On September 28, 1979 Gladys was driving to Peterborough, Ontario for her weekly music lesson. Bobcaygeon is approximately 40 minutes from Peterborough and the drive south-east meanders through the foothills of the Canadian shield. There are few homes along the route, however there are overhanging rocks and rolling fields of trees. The preface to the following poem reads “Late for music lesson as I stopped to write this.” I can picture my grandmother stopped at the side of the road scribbling madly trying to describe the beauty of that fall day.
6: Our Lord just took his paintbrush Scattered colour all abroad The trees reflect His glory; And speak to us of love. Gone now is all the drabness Of dusty summer morn And in its place with beauty The trees he has adorned. And as our souls drink in the sight We revel in beauty with pure delight. Now is the time to pause and think Of all that he has done. Remember Spring’s sweet promise That blossomed in Summer’s sun. And now this feast of beauty Set before our eyes Prepares our hearts for winter’s Blasting cold surprise. Each season that we pass through Reminds us of our God, And in the changing seasons too A reminder of his love. Spring was when we met Him Just bursting forth with joy Summer’s calm sweet spirit Let nothing in us destroy. And now comes all this beauty To fill our very souls; Before we enter winter And face that bitter cold. Now isn’t this just like our God Our hearts to so prepare? When wintry blasts of trouble come, We know that he is there.
7: At the side of her home in Bobcaygeon is a beautiful garden, a mixture of annuals and perennials. She tends this garden with care and its health reflects the time and effort she puts into her garden showpiece. Yet even in her garden she finds a way to reflect on the beauty of nature and its personal meaning to her. The following was written on August 26, 1981. I walk beside the roses And smell their perfume sweet I see each shining petal Perfectly complete. I only tend the roses I cannot make them grow ‘Twas only the creator’s hand That made them blossom so. Then if such beauty does appear Within my garden fair Just think what He can do in me Surrendered to His care. Amen. On the whole, Gladys’ poetry is that of a seeker. She appears to be on a search for meaning and has found that meaning through her religious beliefs. Her poetry exposes the vulnerable side of humanity. Some of it is written from a humble, despondent voice which is turning to a spiritual belief in order to find comfort. Some of her poetry reveals an inner strength which is expressed through a talent which she refuses to acknowledge as such, preferring to credit the Holy Spirit which inspired her. The common thread which weaves its way throughout her poems is the way she is able to bare her soul, expose herself in a vulnerable position and express her faith in a divinity. These poems can be uplifting and comforting. They provide a spiritual place to start from when and if we as readers are also experiencing similar feelings and emotions. Gladys doesn’t particularly care if her work is ever published, all she hopes is that it provides the same comfort to others as it gave her to write.
9: Opposite page - our grandmother as an infant being held by her grandfather. In the middle, our grandmother as a toddler with her friends (far left). Hazel, our Great-Grandmother. Bottom is our grandmother as an infant held by one of her aunts. | Cousins
10: Day at the beach as a youngster. Our grandmother is the little girl on the left. The others are her cousins.
12: When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses. ~Joyce Brothers | Childhood filled with fun and adventure
13: Beautiful Teenage Girl
14: And so childhood is left behind.
15: Just the 3 of us!
18: What a lovely bride!
20: Our most treasured family heirlooms are our sweet family memories.
21: Mary Jane & Fred
24: Sugar and spice and every thing nice!
25: Oh little boy how we love you so!
28: Sharing a good meal with great people!
33: A Grandmother's Journal | For my girls
34: To Kris and all the girls, For some time I have felt led to put down some of the events of your childhood, the times you live in for some day you may have problems with children of your own and in understanding yourself and those with whom you live it may give you a greater insight in handling your own problems. I write with love for truly I love you. You are my special one. Oh I love Kari too and I know if there are others they shall all share in the same love, that’s what grandparents are for. Not to spoil, Kris, but to offer the gift of love. I will never forget the feeling I had when I first saw you through the nursery window in Lindsay Hospital. Such a fierce feeling of possession overwhelmed me. Why I don’t remember this feeling with your mother or with Fred, I don’t know. And when Kari was born someone standing close by said “why that baby has no chin” but she soon changed that and became a happy, pretty baby. You both have or had happy dispositions, but as you grow you are so full of boundless energy that we just can’t seem to cope and with your Mother and Father resort to constant yelling but you are a handful. This is the summer of 1967. The year of Canada’s Expo in Montreal and so business (tourist business) is slow and no doubt everyone is worried. Marilyn Higgins looked after you this year and at times she was extremely tired too. But there are so many cute things to remember. Nan “Peddo” had you for supper and was coaxing a very slow appetite along telling you that you needed your food to grow big and strong, “Oh Nana Peddo, you sound just like Nana Read!” I have started this before your third birthday and your vocabulary is terrific although a little neighbor boy, Craig, is doing his best to make you saucy and bold. One day recently you were with me at the cottage (we run Sunset Cottages & Marina) and having gone to the bathroom you said, “I have a bum Nana, have you a bum? Mom has a big bum Nana with hair on it” Maybe these are silly things to put in your book but we did get a laugh out of it all. It was like the time your mother was a little girl standing at the den window watching it rain, “Has God a tap in Heaven, Mother?” “Why do you ask?” I said. “Well who turns the water off and on?” Cute sayings by children. This has been a wet summer for the cottages and the grass has stayed green all summer – usually by the end of July it’s brown. This is the year that Egypt and all the Arab countries were going to drive Israel into the sea and in 7 short days Israel had routed all the armies and taken a great spoil. This is in the bible (83 psalm in part is terrific) and so many passages pointing to the end of the age. The world is in terrible turmoil. This morning there were race riots in Buffalo, Detroit and New Jersey. There is no peace anyplace. Vietnam is a mess and to be a leader, King or President of any country is a terrible problem. So you see Kris, it’s a turbulent world you are in and we shall do our best to protect and help you and yours in any way we can. Teenagers today have no moral standards. Skirts are worn at the thighs and called Mini-skirts. Bikini bathing suits are all the go. I wish I had kept a diary of all the things your Pappa was into in one lifetime, it would be so interesting for you to read as you grow older but I’ll try to do my best with this epistle and from time to time will take up my pen and write. I have to add this bit. You, Kris, had come down to spend the night with us which you loved to do and we were subjected to an invasion of field mice. So Dad had placed a mouse trap behind the stove. I saw you eying it and before I could say or do anything you picked it up and of course tripped it. What a yell! “It bited me Nana, it bited me!” But you were more frightened than anything. That was quite a visit for you discovered a frog which you wanted to pet, saw your first mouse and the McIlmoyles had tamed some rabbits which loved the clover on the lawn so we watched the dogs take over and chase them. Kandy Kisses, Jed II and Rocket. Your mother says we are spoiling you so haven’t seen much of you of late so guess my loving from now on will have to be from a distance. Your mother has a bracelet that is to be Kari’s and I have one that belonged to Mother Read (your great-grandmother on your mother’s side of the family). This is to be yours and so by putting this on record now, if anything should happen to me, my charm bracelet belong to Kristy Ann Gordon.
35: October 6, 1967 Well we had a 3rd birthday and you had a marvelous time. Your great aunt Mamie came, I believe she is 84. She’s a terrific person. You wore a white smocked organdy dress that Nana Pedwell gave you one time and looked a real doll. It was a grown up party. Oh how you sparkle. Now thanksgiving is over, we’ve had 2 this year. One for Aunt Grace with everyone present, and again with Aunt Allie (Nana P’s sister). You were too excited to eat so it was rather disastrous. This is the year of the house building so expect I will be adding more about that in this year. You are quite excited about your “properly” (property), and we go down quite often to view it. I came up looking for buttons for a sweater for Kari and picked up this instead. November 18, 1967 Today was the Santa Parade. I went over to watch the colour TV but you were mostly mad that you couldn’t be right there. I think you noticed all the children on TV. The parade was much too long but when Santa came into view it was wonderful. You now go to Sunday School with me and we pick up Lorna and Lynn and take them with us. Then either Mom or Dad pick you up. January 14, 1968 I can’t believe so much time has passed. I’m getting ready today to leave for Florida in the morning. Came in here to pick up some books I want to take with me and saw the book so I guess I’d better add to this. The house is lovely, this is your first winter and it’s cold but there are still many things to do in it. You are now 4, Kari is 2 and we have added Jennifer to our girls. Kari is a beautiful child, affectionate and timid around strangers and she calls herself “shaggy dog”. You both have a lot of colds so your mother took you to Doctor Davis in Lindsay. He picked Kari up. “What’s your name little girl.” “Shaggy dog.” He couldn’t believe it! But you wouldn’t let anyone cut your hair. I hope you grow up as you are now Kari. It’s a joy to have you around even if you did pick all the paint off underneath my living room window. Kris you go to nursery school but are still terribly active. We all have a hard time keeping up with you. Jennifer who was born in August is a darling and looks like Mary Jane and Fred did at that age. I had her for a week when she was 1 week old so Jennifer became terribly important. You ALL are. I had better write this. Your mother today is addressing the town council on the need of a policeman for the town. She has been out canvasing all morning and has over 200 names (on a petition). I expect she will have problems but our police protection is very inadequate the way it is so we will just have to wait and see. Nan says she should be home doing her housework but MJ likes anything but housework. This past year there have been terrible assassinations. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. There is a new President in the USA and Canada has Pierre Elliot Trudeau who has been in power for 9 months and done nothing; he appeals to women. Back to you, Kris & Kari. Mom and Dad drove Nana Gordon to Florida and Dad and I moved in to look after you girls. You, Kris, gave me an awful scare. I had you out to Sunday School and when we came home you said you were cold. Papa had gone to church. I heard a funny noise, like a whimpering dog, you were just shaking and stiffened right out on me. I finally got the Doctor but it gave me a terrible scare. You had a temperature of 103. Kari was a darling, she just wandered around getting in the way.
36: I remember one time you came to visit. Your mother came to pick you up. Kris went outside but Kari backed up and sat on the steps and wouldn’t go home. “Stay Nana.” She kept saying. I think Kari suddenly decided that Kris had too many treats and it was her turn. We just love having you Kari, you eat your lunch but right after that it is time to go home. You are a great little girl and want to share everything with Kris. Kari at 2 and a half talks a lot but not nearly as much as Kris did at that age. Your poor Dad loves peace and quiet but with 3 women he just doesn’t stand a chance. You are all great music lovers and the girls are TV fans, which is not good. Oh I nearly signed off but forgot to tell you about Sam (the cat). 2 days after Christmas Sam disappeared and about 1 week later Mrs. Simpson (your old apartment neighbor) kept hearing a cat meow. So Fred and Bill started looking but couldn’t find anything. She still heard a cat; again the boys looked but saw nothing. Then Dad and Mary looked and Mary saw the cat but he was terribly frightened. They left fish and the next day your Mother went back and sat and talked to him for an hour and she finally got him. Sam now stays very close to home and sits under Mary’s chair. It’s her cat, which really figures for we were looking at some children’s pictures at Nan’s the other night and in nearly every picture Mary had a kitten. Must close this now. We hope to be home April 1st. Love all you people! Nan R May 5, 1969 What a winter, just a nightmare. This is written nearly a month after our dear Pappa left us to be with His Lord and has left us with a heart full of memories and a heart empty of his presence. Some how we will muddle on but Pappa was the love –life that kept us all going. How do you go on without that presence? But somehow the Lord gives us strength for the day but I dread the years that stretch ahead of me. I am so thankful now for three little girls that will help to fill my days because now you are still dependent on us for so many things but the day will come when those wings will have to be tried and you will flit away into a wonderful world of challenge and experience and then I will be alone again with memories but of a different kind. I will have to pick the thread of this up again but it’s been a winter of hospitals. Just my operation which brought us home from Florida, then Dad who seemed so well had his heart attack after I had been home only a little over a week. The first one not so bad but on Mary’s birthday he had a bad one. God spared him to us for 2 weeks. You won’t remember these girls but the last 2 weeks he called you nearly every morning. I think in his way he was saying good-bye and “I love you girls”. Then he would call Aunt Sheila and Uncle Fred and Jennifer to talk to them. This was a man whose nature embraced all those he loved. Kari has the same affectionate nature. She gives of her love easily and joyfully. It’s a great gift. Some of us can’t show the face of love so easily but it’s buried deeply in our nature and we show that love in other ways. May 24, 1969 Dear Kari came running to me last night with this in her hand. “Pappa’s hair!” She said. “Pappa’s hair, Nana!” “No” I said, “It’s a feather.” “Oh.” She said and away she went. She remembered him. I feel sad this a.m. I love you all girls, Kris, Kari and Jennifer.
37: August 15, 1969 Jennifer’s first birthday yesterday and away she went walking alone for the first time, arms up over her head, a real cute wee blonde doll in a darling white sheer dress that her great-grandma Rogers had made for her. It was a grown-up party but she had 2 little girls to play with her, Kris and Kari. Kris you play real well with Jennifer as a baby. Kari you are just not interested. John and Elsie Easton came up later on and had coffee. Such a lovely lot of gifts, but the best toy of all was a cement mixer. I guess because wee hands could get around it. Nana Pedwell and I got balls and suckers for Kris and Kari. Kari can’t understand why she can’t have all the parcels so there is usually a crying time and there was here again. Kari’s favourite topic of conversation “Stay at your place tomorrow night Nana, not Kristy, just me.” She even has it figured out how Kris could stay with Nana Pedwell and she can stay with me. Summer is nearly over; it’s been hot and wet at times. I’ve been golfing a lot, helped put in the summer. Its 4 months on August 7 since Dad passed away. I dread the winter. Kris, you go to school and I’ve some jumpers to make for you. What a tall girl you are getting to be. Both girls have been sick with tonsillitis and passed your colds on to Jennifer, but all are fine again. More later. Next birthday is Kris. Rally Day, September 27, 1969 The Sunday School went up to the church and the little girls and boys in Mrs. Coumbs class and Joyce Foulton’s class went up to the platform and sang the first verse of “Jesus Loves Me”. Downstairs at first Kari was going to stay with me but when she saw the classes lining up, away she went with Kris so when they stood up to sing she was so much shorter all we could see was a dear wee face singing as hard as she could. Then she came back and sat with Mary and me. Fred had to take Jennifer out as she was giving the minister, Mr. Reeves, too much competition. Jennifer was all in blue, Kris had a lovely red and grey outfit Nana Gordon gave her and Kari was in a pale blue voile. All my girls looked lovely and all my family at church except Bill. October 23, 1969 Kris, Kari, Mom and Nan went shopping at Yorkdale. Kris got a lovely gold tweed coat and pant set for winter ($37.00). I wonder what it will cost 20 years from now. What a day. We took Kari’s go-cart and good thing for Mary. I could hardly walk by 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Our feet were just killing us. This was your first experience in an elevator and we told you it was magic, you just push a button and up you go. You girls just loved it and Kari kept calling the escalator “the alligator” and she wanted to go up and down every one she saw. Kris you are 5 years old now and in about 2 weeks Kari will be 3. This was our first experience with both of you on a trip. Kris is very outgoing and nothing fazes you. Kari is more timid and follows where you lead but all in all it was a good trip, but oh our aching feet! March 3, 1970 I picked this book up and realized a lot had passed since last I wrote in it. Christmas for one thing, our first Christmas without Pappa and somehow we got through this day just fine with a lot of goodies for the girls – dolls, purses, your houses, games and things to wear. We went to your place for breakfast and the tree. Uncle Fred and family came up then you all came back to my place for dinner. I had the fireplace on so we sat around and visited.
38: This has been a long, cold winter, especially January, it was very cold but days were nice and bright. February warmed up and then very cold and the cold seemed hard to take. Now we are into March and will be glad to see Spring. Our winter carnival was February 19, 20, 21. Amy and Doug were here for Brian’s wedding on Feb 25th. Doug won the door prize (a lovely Gruen watch) so was quite pleased. Mary and Fred worked in the beef BBQ booth and I was upstairs in the curlers’ booth selling hot dogs mostly. Saturday night was Kris’ first time in the skating carnival. You wore a pretty green skirt and white and green sweater. Mother had curled your hair and what a class of little ones! Out you came on the ice and skated and did a little bunny hop, up would come your skirt and you scratched your behind, on you would go up would come the skirt and you would scratch again. My, it looked funny but you had new white leotards on which hadn’t yet been washed and I guess they were itchy. Betty Lou, Len, Cindy, Michael and Glen were down all weekend and so it was very busy for your Mother. Mary was bridesmaid at Brian’s wedding. She wore long blue velvet skirt and light blue blouse, carried white mums and blue cornflowers. It was a very happy wedding. Kris, at 6 you are all legs, a 6X pant suit is short on you, so you are difficult to dress. Kari seems more normal in size. At 3 years she is a darling. She’s hard to understand as she does not talk plainly. Kris, to you school is an adventure and you seem to have lots of fun wherever you go. Jennifer is a pet at 1 years. She calls me on the phone and we have great talks although it doesn’t always make sense but it’s fun anyway. She is a busy child like you were, Kris, at the same age. Kari is the quieter one and need a great deal of affection. Kris at 6 you are beginning to look like your mother. On March 14 & 15 we are celebrating our 110 anniversary at the church. It will be a potluck supper with Mr. Bill and Wallace Whyte taking the Sunday Services. Mr. Reeves is our minister at this time. Mrs. Mark at 92 will be the oldest member although Mrs. Oliver is living and she is about 102. Perhaps the girls will have her out to it. Your Dad is here now, he is tiling my bathrooms blue and white downstairs and pink and white up. Now I must close. Grandma Gordon is in Florida. Daddy drove her down in November. She will be home in May. Aunt Ruth is expecting. Your Dad says “Oh sure, this will be another girl.” We will see. March 14, 1970 You all left for Florida, what excitement. Kari was ready; she had her pajamas, doll and blanket. But you missed our 110th anniversary on Saturday and Sunday with a big supper serving about 180 and two lovely services on Sunday a full church. In the Sunday evening the CGIT girls assisted (12-16 years old) and it was lovely to have their help. Nana has a black cat. At first we thought it was Sam, but now I don’t think so and I have Tiny the dog. He is a dear little pet but I miss my own. You should be home April 2 and I’ll be glad to see you. I’m really lost without you all.
39: Christmas 1970 The summer passed busily. Golf. And you girls have all changed in so many ways. Kris has tonsils out September 5 or close to it and so of course has missed a lot of school. You are very irritating (not in the sense that you may think I mean) but you just go go go all the time and by the end of the day everyone is yelling, but you are a lovely child in so many ways. You have lots of friends; you wrestle and fight the boys real well. This was the year of the FLQ uprising in Quebec. Pierre Laparte was killed by revolutionists but LaCrose was freed and his captors went to Cuba. Kidnapping important people seems to be the means to get attention for your cause. Canada has had a recession this year and there is a great deal of unemployment. Christmas Day was a cold, white Christmassy day across Canada. Nana Pedwell and I went to your place for breakfast and opening of your gifts. Kristy you are 6, Kari 4 and Jennifer 2. You got a doll magnetic board and usual colouring things. Kari got a doll and crib but wanted yours. I’m afraid Kari’s disposition is changing. She is quite saucy and very self-centered and judging now I’m afraid that this characteristic may take a hold but we all sincerely hope not as she has a lot going for her but people don’t’ like a child like that. Kari is quite a pretty child and so is made a great deal of by outsiders. Jennifer is just a little doll. This year she has a cute little habit of putting her hand over her mouth when she gets excited. Today she had a dear little voile dress in pale green that her grandmother had made for her and also got a pretty red one from her Grandmother Rogers (81 or 83) for this Christmas. The day before Christmas, Nana Pedwell had you all for lunch but it was nearly a disaster. You ran all over her apartment. Kari pushed Jennifer into the wall and hurt her and I also found out today that Kari had ripped the braid off her red velvet chair, so Kari is in the dog house as far as Nana P is concerned. Well you all came here for dinner. I had 3 doll carriages for the girls. Jennifer’s was red, Kari’s blue and Kristy’s white with blue top. I’ll never forget the expression on Kris’ face – such a look of delight and you just turned to me before looking at it and hugged me and said “I just love it Nana”. You were so delighted with it. I’m afraid your mother and I nearly cried at the expression of pleasure you showed. Your mother and I gave each other the same gift so we decided we were both good pickers. You mother is sick with Flu but she has been busy. The CGIT girls put on the Sunday night program at the church then this week she had a party for the girls so there has just been too much doing. She is having a New Year’s party and you girls are coming here for the night. I’m sitting up in bed writing this and so Christmas 1970 comes to a close. I spent suppertime with Shelia and Fred as they had all the McKagues and we had a good time there. I must tell you of your dog, Tiny. Mr. Wager the dog catcher brought him home yesterday. Tiny goes up to his place to play with his gods and so he brought him home. Well Mary Jane decided she couldn’t put up with this so she called Mr. Wager to pick him up at 4 o’clock the day before Christmas, but Kris cried so hard at Tiny going to Mr. Wager that he said, “Mary, I can’t take that little dog from her.” So Fred said that he’d take him. Well Christmas day when we arrived he cried to get out so we let him out and you never saw anyone running as fast as he did and we know just where he was going – down the road to Wager’s so as I write this I don’t know if he ever came back or not but really he is not much of a pet for your family. He doesn’t seem to enjoy living with you. I have a golden retriever named Jed, a beautiful dog who loves people, not much of a watch dog but great company.
40: Well this is the closing week of 1970. The world is in a great deal of pain. The east is unsettled. Nassar of Egypt died, the Arabs and Jews are spitting at each other. Vietnam war is still in progress and the USA has a lot of internal as well as external unrest and we must not get too smug here as it can happen here in Canada. As I write, Christmas carols are still being played on the radio but I am reminded “He came unto His own and His own received him not” This is still our problem, people not accepting Christ as Son of God and Saviour of Mankind. “To as many as received Him to them gave He power to become the Sons of God.” This is why we are so powerless today. March 1, 1971 Came in like a lamb but what a cold snowy winter. This past week everyone has been chopping ice off the roofs. There has just been too big a pile up, haven’t had a winter like this since the 1950s, hope we don’t have another for some time. Kari ran away on me last week and I was scared but Mary Jane was getting her hair done and I had company for supper and when we went looking for her she had gone. Kristy has lot a lot of her girl friends because she has Collin Hore for a boyfriend and all the girls like Collin – he’s cute but has no manners. At 6 years of age. Oh Boy! I have a quilt in the frame for Jennifer. It’s pretty. March 8, 1971 This morning, Bill and Kris walked up to pick up the car so much snow overnight with high winds. They couldn’t get the car out and Kris had lovely pink cheeks and pink tipped nose. This has been the worst winter in years for snow; just put this in for a weather memo. A historical note, Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau married Margaret Sinclair Friday March 5, the best comment came from Tommy Douglas, leader of the NDP party when told he didn’t cabinet said, “It’s a good thing for the Cabinet would have to take it under advisement, then call for a white paper on it and by the time they discussed the white paper the poor man would be too old to marry.” He is 51, she is 22. I believe he is older than her mother. Mid August 1971 (the 22nd) I came up to study but decided to add to your book. Today you asked “How many weeks to school?” and just 2 weeks from Tuesday you go back. September 7, 1971 and Kari’s eyes popped with her “me too!” She starts Kindergarten and you go into grade 11 after doing very well in grade 1. Jennifer has just had her 3rd birthday with 4 grandmothers present and 2 great-grandmothers. This has been quite a summer. Your dad had a slipped disc in his back and so was in hospital in Lindsay for three weeks. Mary was quite busy. She did well but her one regret: she didn’t sell a big boat although she tried real hard. Grand McCardle was her right hand man and for a lad of 19 did real well. The Thorne property was purchased while Bill was in hospital and this is to be the new club house for the Yacht Harbour. This was also the start of Mary’s Boatique. I wonder how it will make out and what happened to it when you read this. Kris got a swimmer’s badge this summer but Kari didn’t make it. Aunt Kit and Uncle George came from California with Aunt Amy who has had quite a stomach operation and has had back trouble like your Dad but is looking so much better. Caroline Reinke is still going with Ken Ingram. Did they make it to the alter? Toni Flynn looked after you this summer. You all like Toni and a couple of days she worked in
41: the boutique. Toni is one of the nicest girls in Bobcaygeon. Your mother interviewed “Professor Lawrence” and got it on tape. She has an idea for a book. I thought like that once but it petered out. Professor Lawrence came to Bobcaygeon in 1903 so he remembers a lot of history of this place. The Anglican church celebrated their 100th anniversary. It was quite an occasion. I have the picture and write up in my “grey” scrap book. The traffic is very heavy here on weekends so I walk instead of taking my car and can get around faster, especially if the bridge is open for the boats to go through. This morning I got a call that Fred’s cattle were out so I had to go back to Bass Lake to Fred’s cottage. I couldn’t open the gate so had to walk the shore line crossing two creeks on very narrow boards but I made it. It’s quite a hike across the creeks on cedar poles put across for a bridge, quite a trick to do and they were just at breakfast. Shelia and Jennifer love it back there but it’s not for me, I’d get too lonesome. However, I bet when you read this the road is paved all the way back and they have electricity (which isn’t there as yet). Your Grand-dad built the first road back in there as they had a mill and that is where it was when I came to Bobcaygeon in 1937. During the 2nd World War we moved out to Nogies Creek and they had both a planing and lumber mill there. After the war the planing mill was moved to town (Bob Thompson bought the property from us where the air strip is) and our lumber operation was moved to Clear Lake in Cavendish township – it was also sold and there is nothing there now. It’s been quite a summer for we’ve all been busy and we hate the thought of winter. Your Nana Gordon had her 70th birthday at Aunt Ruth’s and Uncle Jim’s this summer with quite a party of her friends from Peterborough. Nana Pedwell is just so-so, not golfing this year, maybe a couple of games. She was 75 in April and her strength is not what it should be. Oh yes, you still have Sam the black cat and a white rabbit, I don’t know what you will do with it this winter. Kari assures me that it will “hibernate” this winter. We’ll just have to see, wont’ we? This has been a historical epistle. I’ve made you a pretty green pant suit for school Kris and I had to let the legs down as far as they would go. I must do one for Kari for school too. Your Mother is thinking of teaching a bit this winter (I wonder). Anyway girls, you are all darlings, still my pride and joy each of you, but I must close this now. Nana is coming for supper and its getting on to that time. So the studying didn’t get done but the book did, which I guess to you would be more important. September 5, 1971 Birthday time. I don’t know any little girl that celebrates 2 birthdays but your girlfriend party was on Saturday and your Nana Gordon and Nana Pedwell came on Sunday. I had a party for my Sunday School class so couldn’t make it. Let me seeI think there were 9 girls – Marilyn Taylor, Margaret Anne McLean, Jane Austin, Sandra Bowlen, Nancy Coumbs, Linda Latto, Kari Gordon, Kimmie Gordon. The birthday cake was beautiful. It was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with the dwarf’s house on one end and all the little elves and snow white on the top with little deer and candy toadstools here and there, and along the side in red “Happy Birthday Chris”. You got so many gifts you couldn’t remember – a white sweater, a yellow one, a corduroy pant suit with brown sweater a lovely pink housecoat from Jennifer who was back at Bass Lake, Some games, a half slip and panties, a lovely watch from Nana Gordon, a ring from me and money from Nana Pedwell. Guess what Mother served? Spaghetti and meat balls and hot dogs for those who wouldn’t eat the spaghetti. Linda spilled her sauce all down the front of her and had to have her dress washed. Marilyn Taylor came in her flower girl dress and turned her cake upside down on hers and had to be washed. Nancy Coumbs kept burping and Margaret Anne said “When you do that you’re supposed to say ‘excuse me.’ That’s rude!”
42: Well of course you were excited and the next morning when I went in to pick you up for Sunday School your Mother was yelling so loud I was a nervous wreck and couldn’t stay for church. I had to leave just before the sermon, I had looked at you in Sunday School and you seemed awfully confused still. I hope by the time you read this Mary Jane has stopped her yelling. I know Kris you are disturbing at times you’re so excitable but if you have a little girl of your own please don’t yell. You know Kris the bible tells us that among the fruits of the spirit which Christians show in their lives are these – patience and long-suffering. To be truly Christian we have to show these in our lives. (See Galatians 5-22) It has been a hot, muggy weekend. I think we are in for some rain which we could use. You’re a dear little girl Kris and I love you. I was knitting at 5:30 am in the morning when Dr. Moran called and said “It’s a girl” and I’m glad. God bless you – 7 years old, and many more years of joy ahead for you. Going to Sunday School this morning we got talking of school and Kari perked up, “I can take an apple and a cheese sandwich” so she has her menu all planned. She will go 3 full days 1 week and 2 full days the next, quite a system, I hope it works. August 9, 1972 I couldn’t believe a whole year has gone by nearly so I’d better write before your 8th birthday rolls around. I came in to read the bible and here I am writing to you girls instead. Well you both passed at school and had lovely reports. I must mention the music Kris you have been taking all year and you take lessons and Kari plays your pieces from hearing you play. I wonder as you read this how you stand musically now. The other day Kris you and I were in the kitchen. Kari was at the piano and she played your recital piece from your second book. We were going down to Aunt Amy’s in the car and you were singing “Happiness Is”. Kris you had a lovely high voice and Kari’s was low and my you sounded good together. We really had fun that day. You came for supper (spaghetti). Your mom and dad were entertaining Signe, they had a boy they wanted her to meet. I think your Mother is trying to give “cupid” some help. Kris this was an important year for you. You accepted the Lord as your Saviour and as I write this I pray you have made Him Lord of your life and following in the way He would lead you.
43: I wrote this on July 27, 1972 A little child shall lead them So the Bible says And we pray his blessed Spirit Will lead you all your days When trouble, trials, misfortunes Come upon your path Stand firm in Christ your Saviour And this will truly pass. For you are still His child No matter what age you be For He has held them in His arms And placed them on His knee So let your child-like faith, Kris, Keep you very near to Him And then in Heaven’s glory We’ll all be gathered in. Amen. Oh Kris, how we love you and what a sweet girl you are. You know, I wonder how much of your growing up I’ll see. While I write this to you I hope you share it with Kari and with Jennifer. While it was started for you and is your book, the things in it are for Kari and Jennifer too. I love you all. You are all special in a different way. Kari needs to feel love. She needs someone’s arms around her but as you grow older dear, grow choosy. You will find love right in your own home. I’m excited about you dear. I think you will have a musical talent. I think music could be a great comfort to you. Do you know that your Grandma Gordon at 70 is learning a Beethoven Symphony? You see she is finding consolation in music and I enjoy music too but not like that. Then Jennifer whom I love in a special way. At 4 she is such a joyful little girl, short and stocky. She loves Cowboys and Indians. This past year we went to Florida together and had a week at the ocean, what a wonderful time it was. I had to go swimming with you and picking shells and then you were also the world’s best shopper. You would go every day. I think there was so much for you to see. So you see girls you are all so important. I can’t write a book for each of you but there are bits and pieces of each of you in this. This has been a cold, wet summer. It’s like the end of October today. Your mother and I were in Toronto. Picked up some things for Bill and shopped a bit. Went to “Willies” but it was closed. Maybe we’ll go again next week. You both passed your swimming. Toni took you every day. What a lovely girl she is and how lucky you are to have her. Friday night is badge night. I went last year and it looks as if I’ll go again this year as Mary Jane may have to work. Well, I must close. I know there is so much that should be added and I miss putting down some precious things. I just looked back to March 1971 and saw where I had a quilt in for Jennifer. Well, hopefully I’ll take it out this week. It has been an effort of love.
44: September 5, 1972 First day of school and Kris your birthday. For a week now you’ve really been riding high. I guess the excitement of a party was too much. Anyway you had 8 little girls. Do you remember what your Mother said? “That the last party” I think you really must have ruined her. Poor Kari. I don’t know now if she will have a birthday party or not. Grade 3 for you Kris. Mrs. Burgess class, the kids were in the other grade 3, so that breaks up the gang. Kari is in grade 1. I stayed all night as Mom and Dad were on a trip (Mary Jane sick all the time they were away with Joyce and Frank. She kept Frank busy looking for bathrooms). Anyway I took you to school the next day. You were such good girls I couldn’t believe it. Kari’s bed made beautiful with 4 little dolls. Kristy also lined up with dolls & teddy bears. I must tell you about the red kitten “Tiger”. He came in and slept for a couple of hours, then decided he wanted to play. So he scratched at Kari’s door and I let him in to her room. He climbed up on the bed and settled down but the next thing I heard was Kari crying. The cat must have bit her or something, anyway he hid under the twin bed and I couldn’t get him out. Finally had to chase him with the broom. He was a pretty cat. Do you remember him? And the big black one named Sam? I am writing this on a Saturday morning when I should be cleaning house for the weekend. The second full day of school your Mother and Dad were home and Kari decided she didn’t want to go to school but go visit Jennifer. I asked Kari who were her friends at school but I’m afraid it’s Kristy. She didn’t know anyone in her room but Melanie and we think at recess the girls look for each other. I sure hope you are always that close to each other. Prediction: Kari will have 1 girl friend and only need one. Kristy will have friends all over October 16, 1972 Very little to write but Jennifer was to spend Saturday night with me. However she was unhappy so I took her home. Today I wrote “A Story for Jennifer” for her. Some years later you might look back and laugh but I want you all to know I love you. A Story for Jennifer My name is Lucy. Lucy red shoes; for that is all I own in this whole wide world besides a red wool bow on my blonde pony tail. I think I must have had a dress at one time but that is so long ago I have forgotten. All day long I sit on a bed in a lovely room but this is in a Nana’s house and children don’t live here, they just come for special visits. My special visitor is Jennifer and when she comes I go to bed with her and she hugs me and oh I love that. For I never get hugs and it is so lonesome here without hugs. I was so happy the other night for the Nana person came in to my room and turned the bed down and I knew that my very own special friend, Jennifer, was coming for a visit and I could hardly wait. But when she did come she wasn’t happy and she cried and I didn’t get hugged, in fact I fell down behind the bed. Did you ever fall behind a bed? It hurts, and I was so afraid. I thought I would have to stay there and it’s dark and lonesome under a bed. But Nana picked me up and put me in Jennifer’s arm but she didn’t want me and soon she left and now I am all alone. The Nana-lady fixed the bed and placed me back on top and I heard her say “You poor dolly, I wonder how long you will have to wait for a little girl to come and love you, but you still have your sweet smile.” Now I sit all day wondering when Jennifer will come again and will she hug me?
45: Kari’s birthday is in a couple of weeks. Do you remember Kari, your turkey was so good that the teacher kept it to show the class. This was your thanksgiving drawing. You have been invited to your first birthday party at Nicolette van Oudenaren’s but you were sick and couldn’t go. In fact, these last two weeks everyone is sick. It’s very cold today and we are promised snow tomorrow. Amy and Doug are leaving for Florida and tonight we are all going to your place for supper. It’s been a funny summer, not too warm, but September was nice. Now I’m going to sew. Nan October 31,1972 This is a picture that Jennifer drew and I thought it very good for a 4 year old. Halloween tonight. Bill brought you over. Kris you were the devil all in red with red trident. Kari you were a princess with a wand with silver star on the end. Jennifer was a scarecrow. Jennifer helped give out the “goodies” but if some of the false faces were too scary she would back up. “You do it Nana” but she did enjoy giving each person a chocolate bar. I gave out 49 bars. Not as many as other years but the costumes were real good. Two more days and it’s Kari’s birthday. Mary and Bill are going to Florida. Bill leaves on the 6th. Mary on the 12th. She is flying. How about that! May 5, 1973 Spring – but it’s still cold. Nana Pedwell and I left Florida a month today and it seems as if we have never been away. We enjoyed our holiday especially having Fred and Shelia and Jennifer with us and then a week later Mary Jane and the girls for 2 weeks. The girls enjoyed the pool and a day with Grandma Gordon but it was too windy for the beach but you all had fun. Do you remember the outside restaurant? Where they forgot to take your order? We went to Lion Safari but it was very hot. The pool you enjoyed and then it was time to fly home again. At the airport if Kari kissed me goodbye once she did six times! I guess we were both lonesome. Then home for Nan and I. It is a long drive. I wonder how long I can do it. I’m writing today because last night was variety night and I thought years later you might be interested in this program. The auditorium was packed. You girls sat in chairs in the aisles but Kris squirmed so much the people moved. Coming out I said to you, “Kristy would you like to be in the chorus?” “Oh yes Nan.” “Do you know why you weren’t’ chosen?” “Sure because I didn’t offer to sing soon enough.” “No Kris,” I said, “It’s because you don’t sit still and teachers can’t take all that squirming,.” “Oh no Na, I was too late offering” So I gave up. Boy Kris I wish sometimes I had your pep. I’d accomplish a lot more than I do so because you are on the go use that extra energy to accomplish some good in the world. You have lots and lots of ability. I saw your project on ‘Pluto’ – for a grade 2 it was terrific. I couldn’t do that in grade 8. So we expect great things for you if at times you think we are all mean, we are not really. We just love you and only want the best for you. I’m sure you’ll make us proud for inside Kristy Ann Gordon is a very fine sweet person.
46: Kari was supposed to have her tonsils out today but Dr. McLean is going to Bea Moran’s wedding in the states and wouldn’t be here if needed so the tonsil operation was cancelled. Kari is not too fond of school this year. She finds it harder than Kristy. Next year Jennifer goes to school. So my girls are growing up. Danny is the only baby in the family now. I must mention the Yacht Harbour. The sheds were taken down this year and such a change. It’s looking very prosperous so we hope this change will pay off. Now I must go to work. I always pick this up on the spur of the moment and yet there are many important moments that I miss. It’s hard to believe that Dad has gone 4 years this spring. I know you don’t remember him but keep in mind he loved you all as we all do . Love for now, Nan As I finished writing this, news came over radio that Leslie Frost had died (who is that you ask). Leslie Frost was Premier of Ontario for 11 years. I believe he retired in 1959. Anyway he was from Lindsay and very important in this area. Since then Robarts and Davies have been Premiers for Ontario, both Conservatives but Federally it’s Pierre Elliot Trudeau, he just weathered an election and so is governing much better. Your grandfather and Uncle Buck were Reeves for Bobcaygeon for many years, in fact Poppa, as you called him, was the Reeve when the community center was built and they played an important part in getting that started for Bobcaygeon although you would never know it now for people soon forget the contributions that people make to a community. I think jealousy plays a part in this. There have been some changes to the main street. At the corner where Poole’s garage used to be, the Bank of Commerce opens May 5, 1973 for business May 7, 1973. This corner had a garage started by CH Poole many years ago even before I came to Bobcaygeon. The children were young then. When CH retired Ross Poole took over from his dad, sold General Motors cars & trucks. (Ross is a brother of Franks who runs Buckeye). Then Ross sold to a man by the name of Dickson (you go to school with his daughter Diana Lynn). Anyway, Dickson went broke and for a couple of years the corner looked terrible, but now with the bank it looks much better. Then Crest Hardware changed hands this spring. Bill Kennedy bought it and is doing some major repair. The doll house store on the canal corner is a wool shop but has little stock. They are working on the bridge to make it automatic. Still haven’t started the by-pass as yet. Nana Pedwell just came in. She had been into Devitt’s and fell down two steps. She is very unsure on her feet but is off to a party. She is quite popular in town. Monday, 7 of May 1973 A couple of days ago Mary Jane, the girls and I were sitting in the little room I use for a study. Mary was reading this book, the girls were playing hide and seek. Kris would go anyplace but Kari stayed close to us. We would say “look for Kris in the front bed-room.” (The room the girls sleep in when here). “Oh no Nan! It’s too ghostly!” My how like her mother. Mary Jane wouldn’t go upstairs unless the light was on. If she woke up at night she would crawl into bed with Fred because she was timid. Like Mother, like daughter.
47: May 8 Kari has chicken pox. On Thursday, May 4 she was to go into the hospital to have her tonsils out but Mary Jane felt uneasy about this and so cancelled it. Strange. I had a heavy burden about Kari going to the hospital and didn’t say anything about it. How very fortunate she didn’t go for she would have been a terribly sick girl. I do believe the Lord’s hand was in this and if we would listen to His voice we would save ourselves a lot of trouble. Now we wonder who will be next for we have all been exposed. On Daddy’s birthday, Mommy had a surprise party. Nana Gordon came up from Peterborough and stayed all night. The Mothers all received corsages which were lovely. Nana Gordon’s was pink. Nana Pedwell’s mauve and mine yellow. I saved mine and wore it Sunday to church as it was Mother’s Day. Kris you are developing a very contrary attitude. We don’t know if it’s the age or not but you are trying to express your own will more and more but you are very appreciative for everything done for you. Math’s a bug-bear but you read everything. Nov 9, 1973 Time flies. I came upstairs to work on a message for the coming week and picked up this and couldn’t believe I’ve written nothing since May. Well, it was a warm, beautiful summer. Your birthdays are over. Incidentally Kris your attitude is much better, one of those phases perhaps, like Kari’s chicken pox which comes and goes. Maybe it’s helped because David Prins is with you this winter. You girls are back together. I do believe it’s company for each of you. Anyway you and Dave tee off at each other as if you were real brother and sisters. It must be interesting for him when he never had any sisters around, just a brother. Of course you have turned another milestone, 9 and 7, and Jennifer is 5. I had her here this morning and we read poetry. She loved the funny poems so we had a good laugh over them. Both you girls are in the choir. I enjoy coming into church and seeing you there. Kari looks so shy and Kristy you so motherly looking after her, did you say “I’m still doing it”? I bet you are, but some people are given the gift of service for others, maybe that’s part of yours. “Dear Lord, let me do a bit each day for someone I meet along the way. Even if it’s just a smile If gladly given, ‘twill be worthwhile. Perhaps some child may shed a tear Which I can help by just being here Whatever task I find to do Bless it Lord, as if to You.” By Nana Read
48: Now a bit about David. He played football and your Dad enjoyed going to the games. Fenelon Falls won against Lakefield. The Poole boy got 3 touchdowns but David intercepted a couple of plays. I heard it mentioned over the news. You all seem to like him. Aunt Amy and Uncle Doug are with me. They go to Toronto tomorrow for the winter. Nana Pedwell has a sore neck but is looking forward to the South this year. We go after Christmas. I know there are things I’ve missed because I remember thinking I should put that in the book, but if you don’t do it when you think of it, then it’s too late. It’s an opportunity missed. Your dad was in for x-rays. He’s not feeling well. Hope it’s nothing serious. More later. Your mother had a lovely baby shower for Lois Clarke – November 13, 1973 April 18, 1974 Dear Girls, I should be working but I came across the letters in the envelop so here I am writing again. We came home three weeks ago today. Kristy is very sick with bronchitis which everyone caught except the new pup “Brutus”. I wonder how long you keep this one. Already he’s messed on the living room rug, twice, but he’s really Dave’s dog and it’s good for Dave to have him. I must tell you a couple of instances about Dave. I had gone down to your place one night. Dave was one the phone, mom out to CGIT. Kristy was roaming around with books and Kari in and out of her room, so Bill and I were having a dandy visit and this phone conversation went on for about 20 minutes (very dumb) then Dave hangs up, walks to the kitchen and you, Kristy, unfortunately happened to pass Dave’s line of vision. I think you were walking and reading. And he says “it’s time you girls were in bed.” “Oh yes,” says Bill, “It’s time for bed.” But it was Dave who started the ball rolling. Then a couple of days later you all came up for supper, Mary walks in, Bill & Kari, then Dave says (and you know how he drawls) “Come on, get in here-“ Oh, I thought, they’ve brought the dog. But it was Kristy he was yelling at. Easter Sunday I had the family and Dave lifted all the lids to see what we had to eat but as he said to your Mother later, the fellowship was just great but the food was not as good as usual. I think the problem was the yams. I thought they would be a treat even had a marshmallow topping on them but no one liked them and then Fred and Shelia had been here for lunch so I lost one of my pies at that meal but there was lots for everyone and it really was a good meal. I read in the paper that by 1984 what we call the good life will have gone and things will be very austere. Kristy will be 19 then and the other girls in their teens if that happens. I do hope we have the happy memories to remember. This is the time I’m bringing Nana Pedwell in to live with me, so I’m busy changing things around. I’ve still tried to keep a room where you all can have your own kind of fun, but Nan is getting very frail.
49: We also have a bible club which meets here every Wednesday morning. You should know some of the things we do as well as they things you do. A Mrs. Devitt of Fenelon Falls is our teacher and we have 15-20 out to our meetings. As you grow older you will grow away from the things of the Lord. I pray not but the bible itself tells us of apostasy in the last days but I want you to know I know I’m going to be with the Lord in Heaven. Paul the apostle says “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He will keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” I sometimes speak to our church Nana better. I have the same conviction that Paul has in the saving and keeping power of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our prayer is that all you will share this faith. You Kristy have already made a confession. Kari too but she doesn’t understand fully yet and her Sunday School teacher is not the best. Now I must close and get to work. Will write again when there is something to remember. April 21, 1974 Dear Kristy, Do you notice how soon I have written since the last entry? But what I say now may help you when you are in your teens and so get you through a rough spot. We are moving Nana Pedwell up here today but I was up early and as I passed the desk I thought I’d better write for last night we had supper at your place and you were in hot water continually. For one thing you sat next to your dad and of course your elbows were on the table. You know if I had long arms like yours, I suppose I would have trouble finding a spot to put them, so it was a continual battle. On your Dad’s side he was feeling miserable with a bad cold, you didn’t seem to sense his problem so you just kept agitating so that all at the table were uncomfortable. Then, after supper you were on the floor watching TV and when told to sit up you and Dave got in a real kicking match. Now I didn’t think you were to blame for that as Dave had the whole chesterfield and when you kicked him he sure let you have it. You know it reminded me of the times when you were about 2 1/2 , you would come to the cottage to stay overnight and I’d sleep with you and boy would I be aching in the morning from the kicks I’d get. At that time we didn’t know you were a hyper child but you realize your problem Kris and so on your part you must go that “extra mile” to make things work. I know in your teens there will be times that you will say “everyone is against me” remember I’m writing this when you are age 9. No dear girl, we are not against you. None of your family, we love you but we realize you need direction and inside you is something that makes you go off on a tangent. Good manners, which your dad was trying to instill in you are necessary. You may say these things are irrelevant but all things mold the kind of person we are and Kristy you are a dandy sweet girl. There is a depth to you not found in Kari or Jennifer (now they may not need it) but you are kind and thoughtful beyond the other two and while you drive us up the wall, I guess you drive yourself farther. So if you think we are impossible and don’t understand you. We do and we love you even if you can’t see it but someday you will. You know I wrote in your Mother’s baby book things about her and when I gave it to her she was disgusted with me and said, “Mother you didn’t say one nice thing about me.” You see I guess I was too close to the problem but isn’t she the greatest and she turned out alright so there is hope for all of us. Have patience with us Kris and what we say to you is to make you the lady and the fine person we see there and whatever happens, I am on your side. Love to you especially, Nana
50: June 16, 1974 This is a Sunday Kristy, and I’m having Aunt Amy and Uncle Doug for supper (turkey) anyway something happened a couple of weeks ago. I nearly forgot to put down. Boy did you get me out on a limb. You and Kari were here for lunch and somehow 7 years popped up in the conversation and someone said “In 7 years Kristy will be 16” at which you made a face, you really were not interested in being 16. “I’d like to,” perks up Kari. “Why would you like to be 16?” I asked. “So I can have a baby.” You are both on the baby-bit). “Oh,” I said, “you’d have to be married to have a baby.” “Mary wasn’t,” you said Kris, but I said, “She had Joseph for her husband,” “Oh no Nan,” you said, “Not at first she didn’t.” How do you explain to a 9 and 7 year old that what happened to Mary was by the power of God and the child was the result of the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. I don’t know how it happened but I do know that with God nothing is impossible. I’m buying Christian books and I do hope someday you will find here the answers to your many problems. Girls don’t let anyone or anything shake your faith. Believe and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. In your lifetime there may be a great falling away from the faith. I look for Jesus to come at any time but if He tarries I’ll be waiting for you. Your mother yesterday went to OLC for their 100 year re-union. I wonder if any of you girls will have a chance at private school? I’d like to see you go to a Christian college. I think your mom was a little disappointed. It was a terrible day to start with, rain all day. This year you have Maureen Shea looking after you but she sure isn’t Toni. I guess you were all a little spoiled with Toni for you played with you and Maureen is a typical teenager who just wants to read magazines. School will soon be out for the summer. I guess you are looking forward to that. David is with you but gives your mother a hard time at times. You both just came in – I looked back at this after a lapse of several moths, in all due respect to Maureen she turned out to be a terrific girl and you had a very happy summer with her.
51: November 23, 1974 Yesterday Kristy and I went to Peterborough. Your Mom had your pictures taken for Christmas and Kristy’s was so bad that she just wouldn’t get any of the prints. So this past week they left for Florida for a well needed rest and Kris and I are trying a Christmas surprise. So we had Kristy’s taken over again and if they turn out alright then I’ll give Mary Jane and Bill one of both girls in large size. So here’s hoping. Poor Kari she felt badly that she couldn’t go but Nana Pedwell needed a babysitter so she stayed with Nan. (It was one of Nan’s bad days). So I promised to take Kari on an outing. When I picked Kristy up at school Kari came running crying and Kristy felt badly that she couldn’t come so on the way to Peterborough Kristy wondered if she could go to Woolworth’s. “Why?” I asked. “So I could get something for Kari.” Son on the way home we stopped at Jack and Jill’s and Kris picked up a candy roll for her. The dog, Brutus, is a monster and one day last week he had Mr. Wright cornered in the driveway next to Inglemundssons’ and when I called he wasn’t too sure whether he wanted to come or not. He has mange and Dave has a rash from him also a sore shoulder from playing hockey. (Dave plays for the Lindsay Muskies). He is very busy this year. Helen Bourne is staying with you while your Mom and Dad are away. You have had your birthdays since last writing so now all my girls are 10, 8, and 6. Jennifer’s first year at school full time, but she’s not sure if she likes the number work and printing. Jennifer is a dear little girl but she is a lonely little girl with no one to play with. Apparently on the bus she sits with all the boys but there is a 10 year old at the cottages and I guess they start out on the bus together. I wonder if I should mention the times we are living in. Everything has been great until now but things are changing. In 1929, you will hear that date mentioned as you get older. There was a terrible crash on the stock market and things were real bad until the 2nd World War started when the economy started to get better. Well this past summer the market has gone down steadily and now things seem to be in a bad state of affairs for Uncle Fred. He can’t sell his calves. There is just no market. Feed cost is high and prices low so no one wants calves so it’s bad for him and he has to winter over all his young cattle as well as his cows so things are tight there. Then General Motors and the car companies are laying off men, they can’t sell their cars. Gas prices are high – this will affect steel companies and the whole economy goes caput. Now this seems like a heavy subject to write to little girls! But I thought it should be mentioned these things affect our whole lives and we are just seeing the start of it. I made you all skating outfits for Christmas. Jennifer’s mauve, Kristy’s red and blue and Kari’s green and white. I made a lovely one last year for Kari and she can’t wear it yet, it is too big. Well that’s the way it goes. Now I must close. Love you all, girls. This book is for all of you but I started it for Kris but I just couldn’t write separately to you three so I include you all in this one because I love you all equally and for different reasons. Isn’t it great that you each one bring something different into my life. Oh I must add this: A month ago the girls saw my car in front of the church and came in just in time for lunch. We had a small meeting and lots of food. Well coming from school you were hungry so you joined us. I looked at you, there was Kristy legs wide apart your cakes lined up in front of you, chatting like everything. Kari, her legs together, napkin on her knee and her cookie sitting on her napkin daintily eating away very quietly. One a tomboy, the other my little lady. See what I mean, you all bring me something different. Jennifer tends to be like Kristy but her Mom tries to make her like Kari so she is a combination of you both.
52: May 31, 1976 I can’t believe over a year has gone by and I’m so sorry nothing was in about 75. What can I say except it was the year of David, or rather his uprising, anyway he departed January of this year. When told he was going Kristy cried and Kari said, “Oh good, now I can have my own room.” But today I was over at the house, Kari was sick and she was surrounded by the things Dave had given her – a sesame street puppet and a clown or a scarecrow from “Over the Rainbow”. I said “Do you miss Dave?” “Yes I do.” She said, and in a way you will all miss him. The question is, will he miss you? Lately he has been coming around more and more so perhaps things are not so rosy where he is (Dr. Jameson’s in Coboconk). This is the Bobcaygeon Centennial year with lots of activities. It opened at the school. You all went and this month (June) there is to be a special school day where you can dress up. Kari knows exactly what she is wearing - a blue dotted dress of Kristy’s which is just fine but she wanted a hat just like “Laura’s” in “Little House on the Prairie”. So I finally made a blue and white check with little red rose bud trim and blue flowered one for Kristy. I was at the Anglican church yesterday and Mabel Smith (she teaches school) and her little girl came in in made alike old fashioned dresses. They looked just lovely but I expect we’ll see lots of that from now on. Jennifer wore a very pretty dress for the skating carnival. I think it was the prettiest one on the ice, so she has that for school and the music recital. This Wednesday is your recital, the first one with Miss Reid in Peterborough. I hope to go it, and your Mother is playing “Bless This House.” Helen Bourne is looking after you this year as each year sees your Mother and Dad getting busier. This year they are into boat sales and Fred is with them on the weekends. Hopefully they will go alright. It’s quite a venture. Nan Pedwell is fine, she is slipping but seems quite well. This is the winter of mumps. Both Kris and Kari had them, also whooping cough, but you seemed to have missed that. Otherwise a fairly healthy winter. Kristy tried her Grade 1 in music in February. Kari does grade 2 in June. Kristy did real well with 75. Kari is also playing “Raindrops keep falling on my head” and it’s not easy but she’s doing well with it. Jennifer is coming along not too badly either and I think she has a flair for music. It will be interesting looking back on this ten years from now. Kari can bake cakes and is a good organizer. Kristy bubbles, has a real good personality. Jennifer is still in the cowboy stage. Oh yes, this is the first year for hatching eggs from an incubator. It will be interesting to see how they come along, but this has been good for Jen as she has no one to play with. Uncle Fred plays ball, he is still a kid at heart. Aunt Amy and Uncle Doug will be on their way here tomorrow. They have their cottage up for sale. I hate to think of that. Well I’m glad I put something down. I’ll try to keep it up to date especially for this year. Oh before I forget, Kristy’s quilt is nearly done. I hope to get it out of the frame in a couple of weeks. I hope you like it. And then I must do one for Kari – will write more later on. Oh, nearly forgot, Kari wrote a poem today about being sick and for a 9 year old it was pretty good.
53: June 21 The recital is over and you both played real well. Kristy told the life of “Bach”. You mentioned how he was married early and had 8 children and his wife died and he married again and had 13 more. A lad sitting beside Mary Jane leaned over and said, “My he was busy wasn’t he?” But you said little about his music but it was good though. Mary Jane played “Bless This House”. Kari tried her exam on the 17th,we haven’t heard yet and I started to take music – Ha! I am going to add the Centennial program as Kristy was in it and then Mrs. Hall took you to the Centennial Picnic on Sunday. For two Sundays now the choir has been in Centennial costume even the Minister (supply, Ken Garrett) came dressed up also and with his full beard he looked great. Kristy had a mauve check with mauve apron, Kari a blue dotted Swiss with white apron, you both looked real cute. This Wednesday is Jennifer’s recital, we are going. Aunt Shelia is playing a duet with Jennifer. Your mom and dad are going to a Kinsman cook-out. I’m writing this as my desk is a mess and I want to clear it off. Will write more later. October 2, 1976 Bobcaygeon Fair Day and it’s beautiful sunny and warm. It’s also the boater’s thanksgiving dinner weekend so it’s very busy for your Mom and I expect she’ll have you all busy too. I had just tucked in the item in the envelop and looking back realized nothing was added since June. Now that’s terrible but what to add? The summer was boring for you and dull and cool so I think you are all glad to get back to school. Kristy has had her 12th birthday. Jennifer her 8th. Jen is getting to be a big girl now. They spend all their time at Bass Lake and seem to have a good time with the other cottagers. Kari has her birthday still coming up. Kari likes the cat “Tom”. The grey one that came to me. She should have a pet but she does have that little thing that looks like a mouse. The care are coming in in a steady stream so it should be a good fair. I guess I’ll get up to it. Amy and Doug are in Toronto today at a wedding. Roslyn McCormack’s and Doug proposes the toast to the bride. They will soon be leaving for Florida and I’ll be lonesome. We all are taking music lessons. It’s quite a long day but we all enjoy it. I wish I had some exciting news but I haven’t. This was the year your Mom and Dad went into the Skiff Craft line but also the year people were not buying so there sales were not too hot. If you were writing this you would probably have lots of interesting things to say but you forget from week to week what happens. Anyway, Kristy I was proud of you. You won the Sunday School bible scripture reading in church on the Sunday School rally day and you were real good. I know you were learning your memory verses but you also won the bible at Daily Vacation bible Club. I think you said you learning over 70 verses. Good for you. Without the Lord to turn to we would be pretty helpless people. David said, “Thy words have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” The word of God is our defense against Satan. The world ahead is going to be hard for your generation. Stand fast. God bless.
54: August 7, 1978 Dear Girls, I can’t believe I’ve neglected your book for 2 years! And I know I’ve missed many special events like Christmas and Birthdays and I’m sorry. This year you will be 14, 12 and 10 on your birthdays. But the way, this is a holiday “Simcoe Day”. I was to golf but being a holiday the course will be crowded so postponed until tomorrow. A year ago now Nana Pedwell was in hospital and as you know she went to be with the Lord. Jennifer do you remember she said to you, “What a dear little girl you were”. And you said, “She knows I’m a girl.” Nana Pedwell was always taking you for a boy and it bothered you, but in the end she made it alright. Kristy you are off to high school, a new and exciting life. We are not sure if it will be Fenelon Falls or not. What we hear of that school is not too encouraging, yet last night talking to Marg Cosh she said their science department is one of the best and their pupils best prepared, so what do you believe? The Thompson kids all graduated from there and they did okay at university. We must pray about this. Then Kari, you started to sew this summer and made 2 blouses but somehow we have slowed down,. I guess it’s because “George” your duck is very demanding. I was down the other night and your mother took George out to the light where the bugs were and he had a ball. Didn’t take him too long to gobble them up. My he is cute as a baby duck but what do you do with him this winter? It’s been a lovely summer to date weather-wise quite warm. You gals are both busy swimming. Now I must leave this but will try to do better and follow Kristy through the Teen years and you Kari and Jennifer too. Love you all girls, you are my pride and joy. I just pray the Lord will guide and direct in your lives. Christmas Day, 1978 Yes, high school for you Kristy at Fenelon seems great. You are developing a great sense of humour but what pleases me more is your sudden spirit with your music. I guess you are finding the personal pleasure, like I do out of soothing music especially when things get out of kilter. I opened your book to put the Christmas poems I wrote for you when you got your luggage. They are not very good but will bring back the good time at Uncle Fred’s and Aunt Shelia’s. I really came up here to rest as you are all coming for supper and as my windy cat slept with me last night I didn’t get much sleep and tomorrow is pack up for Florida day. I haven’t even got my suitcase packed yet. It’s a very snowy day out and if this keeps up I won’t get going on Wednesday. This was a super year, so many lovely gifts for everyone. Watches and rings for you girls. Kari got her tape recorder and Jennifer a record player and you your luggage and some beautiful clothes. Kari made me some of her shortbread and Jennifer and Mary a Christmas cake. I got a lot of food this year and I just started on a diet! You just can’t win can you? The sad note for the year was the passing of Nana Gordon. Your dad really misses her.
55: This was the year Jennifer read the scriptures for the lighting of the Advent candles. It is also the year you were confirmed in the Anglican church by Bishop Read. You informed us, Kristy, that you were now an Angleterian. There has been a great change in your Kristy. You are much more capable. It’s surprising what the new diet is doing for you. Kari and I had a good time this year making our Christmas bells. She did 2, one for Mom and Dad and one for Lynne and Ruth. She is very capable with her hands and enjoys domestic things and is more feminine in her tastes than you Kristy. Do you know this is the first year we’ve all wished for a baby. I guess we are all nostalgic but I know your mother is glad there isn’t any. Now I’d better get dressed and finish dinner. Love you all Nana Read July 11, 1979 My, my! Time does fly. Here I sit surrounded by dozens of bits of mail which needs looking after and I went upstairs looking for a book about Joy Riderhoff (she got the idea of sending the gospel in native language first on a record player specially made because there are no batteries or electricity and I just had a letter from Samaritan Purse saying these machines could now be made in India so I sent off a cheque for that and looking for Joy’s book I found Kristy’s and here I am on the hottest day of the year writing to all my girls. I can’t believe I haven’t written since Christmas last, of course I had those three months in Florida. It was a time of seeing God work in my life and while I’ve written things regarding you as you grow older you may wonder about me (I hope). Of course you know I sold the mobile home but how God answered prayer and one thing I found as we praise Him in every kind of trouble, somehow he movies in our lives and answers. When I got to Florida I had a burnt out heating system. It cost nearly $700 to fix. A week later I had to have my car towed away – another $10 and I said “Whoa! What’s the Lord saying to me?” So one day I said to Grace Hamilton, who was with me. “You know Grace, the Bible says “in everything give thanks for that is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” So I walked through the mobile and said “Thank you Lord for a broken heating system, though I don’t know why I should thank you for that. And thank you Lord for a broken down car.” Then I started to pray (by myself). “If it’s your will Lord to take me out of here and you have something else for me to do, give me peace and sell this place with a wide open door.” So I prayed like this and one day I came out of my bedroom and said to Grace, “I’m going to sell.” And her mouth flew open with surprise. “It’s alright.” I said, “I have perfect peace about this.” So I mentioned to my neighbor across the road that I thought I’d sell. One Sunday we were sitting there and ten people went through and the last people bought it. I hadn’t a “For Sale” sign or advertisement or anything. The Lord just moved me out of there. But one thing more. He is filling my heart and mind with praise for Him and in a very simple way some of this is being put to music. Music has brought much joy into my life. I hope you continue with yours for we do not know what the future holds but we can know Who holds the future and maybe you might find comfort in music like I do too. Which brings me to you Kristy, working (not very hard) on Grade VIII. Lynne gave you your ear list and you did it 100% but you don’t work at music. Kari is doing grade VI. It’s so strange. Kari, Mary Jane and I all have the same touch. You, Kristy has a much softer touch. If you keep at it and your spirit gets a hold on the themes you will play well. Kari does play well, she could really go places with work. Jennifer I am so proud of her! She is just as musical, if not more so, because she is working on Grade V and hopes to do Grade VI in June which means she is really catching up on Kari.
56: Now for a few minutes I want to talk to Jennifer. While this starts out as your book Kristy, it really belong to all three of you and must be shared. Jennifer has had a sad time these last two weeks. They have Suki, a beautiful Siamese, and decided Suki needed a playmate so she got Tiki from her teacher at school. Tiki was a regular little devil just full of zip and the two cats would roll all over the floor and it was such fun to watch them. Then Tiki met with a very sad accident. So they went to the store and got a sister of Tiki’s and called her Mistiki. Well she was a mistake. The poorest yowlingest little kitten I ever saw! She was sick from the very beginning and didn’t last two weeks even. So it was a sad time for we do get attached to these stupid animals. Kris and Kari you have the prowler. He was one of my Tom’s kittens but he just talks your property all the time. I have the monster Tom. He eats and sleeps and grows fatter but every morning after he has had his breakfast he come to me and puts his paw and claws on my knee. He wants picking up and loving so I hug him and tell him he’s beautiful and he purrs right back at me in agreement but if I got to put him down and he’s not ready, he’ll turn right around in my arms so I have to hug him for a while longer. Enough of cats! Kristy is working at the Marina and Kari is looking after the house. Kari at 12 is a great little cook and has lunch ready every day. A salad plate for Mom and sandwiches for Dad. You are also going to camp for two weeks. Seventh Day Adventists so it will really be something for you. I’m working on Kari’s quilt, should have it out this summer. It’s going to be quite nice but Kari want me to keep it for the time she says when she leaves home. Kristy goes into Grade 10 this year. Kari into the entrance (grade 8) and Jennifer into grade 6. Jennifer does very well at school. Her report card was lovely. Well my mess of mail is still here and I’m having a luncheon tomorrow so had better start cleaning up. I just wish you could see the confusion around me. This is the year the sewers are going in – what a mess the town is in! And we are also in our new Post Office – great for me, as it’s easy to walk to. Now I must run, Love for now, Nana July 4, 1983 Last night Kristy gave me back this book. When I started it I thought I’d write until she is 18 but oh my goodness there are still so many exciting things ahead for all of you. It’s isn’t fair not to write about Kari and Jennifer and how important they are to me too. For instance when Jen was 14 she had her Grade VIII piano and theory with honours and that’s a wonderful accomplishment. As well she’s playing ball and doing great in that. This year Kari has tried her Grade VIII piano, she plays well too. Kari has a real flair for music and loves to perform
57: . This is also the year that Fred is very heavy into the golf course. It has many problems but is starting to take shape. This is a new and interesting turn in their lives. Shelia has worked for Reynolds for three years now and it has been good for her. Mary Jan is in limbo but things will open up when the time is right. Bill is working in Gravenhurst. As for me, I’m busy with Meals on Wheels. This morning Kristy goes to Peterborough to take two subjects she missed. You see if you goof off there is a penalty to pay, but as usual she comes up smelling of roses as Cam Jetha will hold her job for her. Next year she’s off to college in Oakville taking creative writing as this year she did a column for FFSS which I have kept in a separate book along with other clippings and family activities. Jennifer goes into Grade 10 this year. She won the music award for Grade 9 trumpet. Kari goes into Grade 12. Now had I stopped I would have missed a lot. This past week Danny was here visiting. Kris says she has a bad time reading my writing and this will probably tax you all. My arm is getting a “shake” in it. I guess that’s age. We have been going through some difficult times. When I read through part of this I noticed back in 1974 or 1975 that I had written that there were some hard times ahead. Everything is very expensive. I don’t think it will ever get better. I’m writing this outside with Josh, my dog, at my side. With a name like Josh, I thought I’d better add that it was a dog! Since writing in 1979, we’ve lost Uncle George and Uncle Doug. Our family seems to be getting smaller and these were two fine gentlemen. The Reinke’s have their cottage up for sale. Both Kathie and Carolyn are now married. That is writing a lot in a little paragraph. Lynne and Ruth, your former music teacher are in Chatham and we all miss the wonderful fellowship. Aunt Aimee is arriving Wednesday, July 6 and will be with me in August. This has been a very warm month, suddenly very hot after a long cool spell so everyone notices it. This family is great at finding fault with other members. In my reading this morning I found the solution. Philippians 2:3 – everything we need to know is written for us but our problem is we miss the basic principal because of self-pride and self-will. And boy isn’t it hard to esteem others better than ourselves? Yet there is a great secret here. It’s lovely here in the garden in the morning I think if I had a chaise lounge I’d fall asleep which is what I’m nearly doing now. So I’d better stop. I’ll try to keep this up to date and not miss four more years. Heavens! I might not be here! I’m proud of you all. Hold on to your high standards. A great P.S.July 4, 1983 – a great day for Kari, she got Honours on her Grade VIII and is a very happy girl. All my love Nana
59: Young Love!
61: What a cute young couple
65: A visit with the Reads...lots of pictures of the first grandchild.
67: First came Kristy and Kari
68: Welcome wee Jennifer!
70: Nana Pedwell and her Great-Granddaughters
78: Many years ago I gave Nana a book called A Legacy for my Loved Ones. It is one of those books that allow someone to write down their thoughts and memories. It’s the kind of book you give hoping that it will be used, but usually it sits empty. Well, our grandmother actually wrote through most of it and here are her responses. Getting to know you: Name: Gladys Hazel Read (nee Pedwell) Birth date: February 17, 1916 Place and time you were born: Thornbury, don’t know the time. Physical description: My height is 5’3”, weight is too much, hair is turning very grey. It was a dark brown and very straight. Your background nationality: Paternal grandfather was Welsh. Paternal grandmother was of German descent but was born in the USA. Maternal grandmother was French Canadian and maternal grandfather was Irish. The date you were baptized and the place: Anglican Church in Thornbury (I think) as a baby, and my dad was baptized at that time too! The towns or cities in which you lived while you were growing up: As a baby – Thornbury, Collingwood, Moved to Toronto when I was 3, lived there until l1937 when I was married and I moved to Bobcaygeon. Schooling: Date you started school: 1921 Names of elementary school and high schools: Given Street Public School, then at Humewood School. I went to Vaughan Road Collegiate and to University of Toronto Meds in 1941. I did two years of Medical school and then got married. Special awards or honours you received: Musically I have my Intermediate and all the theory that went with it. I earned my Red Cross during WW2 and am a WMS Life Member and am part of the WA
79: Life Work: What did you do when you went to work? One summer I worked in Read’s store for the sum of $10 per week and 2% of my sales, which were terrible, but I married the boss! Over the years, what were some of the different jobs you held? Secretary to Crystal Lake Hardwoods Ltd. planned and built 4 cottages and a marina, a duplex and 4 apartments. I enjoyed planning and I still do. I always check out the new homes in the paper. Your marriage Date of your marriage: November 17, 1937 Name and description of your spouse: Kenneth Sheffield Read, 5’7”, brown hair but going bald, eyes of hazel, a very loveable man. Where did you live: Bobcaygeon Your children’s names and birth dates: Mary Jane on March 24, 1939 and Frederick Wayne on April 10, 1943 Your church affiliation while your children were growing up: Presbyterian Hobbies and activities pursued during retirement: We never retire, we keep going. Hobbies, yes, music, knitting for 3 grandchildren, quilting, bible club, and all church activities. The things you were known for during your lifetime Your special talents and abilities: I never felt I had talents etc., but I always enjoyed entertaining, happiest when there were people in my home. Any sports in which you excelled: Excelled to me means being like one on the Olympic team. Enjoyed, now that’s different. I like golf. Do you know my mother won a tournament at age 75. I think it was for driving the longest ball. Any musical instrument you played: Piano. Dad played a bit of violin but very poorly I think. Amazing Grace was all I could do on it. It really was amazing! Any foreign languages you spoke: Can’t speak but can read a bit of French. Any awards you won: Who me!
80: Favourites Colour: Blue Song or kind of music: Classical Books: All Christian (see my library) Animal: Dogs & Cats Flower: Ken’s favourite was a rose, it was the only flower he knew. I like all flowers. Sport: Golf, enjoy watching all sports. Food: Oh boy! Kind of day: I love a rainy day, I love the sound of rain. Style of furniture: Whatever I have. Season: Summer Holiday: Christmas Radio program: I can remember when everything stopped for Amos and Andy Movie: Not much on this. What is your favourite thing to do: I guess you would say craft, then comes sport but as I get older it’s the arm chair type and I don’t mean arm wrestling either. What was your favourite place while you were growing up: My bedroom What was your favourite subject while you were in school: I liked most except the sciences Who was your favourite teacher and why: Mrs. Van Deusen in grade 8. She tried to make ladies out of a bunch of blobs. She always encouraged and never discouraged.
81: What was your favourite toy when you were a child: Dolls What was your favourite vacation or place you visited: My god-parents’ home, then my grandmother’s. What is your favourite Bible story? At each age in life it’s a different story. Now my favourite is “The Revelation”, Daniel sealed up a book, or rather God did and now Jesus as the Lamb can open it. Your favourite Bible verse? I love the Bible promises in John 5: 10-13. John was a great lover, he wrote so much about it. Did you have a favourite piece of clothing – something you really enjoyed wearing or especially wanted? I can remember the depression and wanting a housecoat badly. Got one for Christmas and was thrilled about that. That was a time of making do with what you had. What are your most prized possessions? My family. I do enjoy my piano but it’s a thing that will pass away. Do you have any phobias or fears? Heights, pain, hospitals, doctors. What are some things you don’t like to do? Housework of any kind, driving at night. What are some foods you dislike? I was taught to eat what was put in front of me. While you were growing up, did you have any clothing or shoes you didn’t like wearing? A plaid, Mother was keen on plaids. Every year I got a new scotch tam to wear. It must have been the “in” thing. Someone cattily said “My bridesmaids would probably be dressed in plaids.” It got back to me so it must have been very obvious. Firsts: Do you remember the first time you were away from home? When I was 14 I went to my grandmother’s for Christmas on the train by myself. I think that was my last train ride. Who was the first crush you ever had? One of the boys on the rugby team. What happened? Nothing happened! I just drooled and blushed every time I saw him. I don’t think he had a brain in his head, but what shoulders! I can’t even remember his name.
82: Who was your first date? Bill Acres Tell us about it: One summer at Thornbury, Francis and I started to date a couple of the local boys. I went with Bill Acres (he had false teeth but lovely blue eyes). He was an electrician. 9:30 was the time I had to be home, we walked to the cemetery mostly. What was your first job? I worked in Read’s store. They needed some help but it wasn’t much of a job. Did you work while attending school? No, I was too busy with school and music. Describe your first big trip: How big is big? When I was 12, Dad decided I should see Ontario. I was very excited as far as Oshawa. After that I curled up in the back seat and slept. I even got sick before we got home, so that was enough for Dad. Do you remember the first car your family owned? It was a Model T Ford. How did it feel to drive your own car? My mother taught me to drive. I got my license in Toronto. We had a very narrow lane so I learned early to back up. Did you pay cash for it or pay on credit? We always paid cash for our cars, but at today’s prices I don’t know what I’ll do when I need a new one! What was the first thing you bought for yourself with your own money? Clothes for my trousseau. What was the first gift you bought with your own money? I never had money of my own growing up, or for years after I was married. I can’t remember buying gifts, I guess that’s why I have so much fun now. Do you remember the first time you saw your spouse? Yes What first attracted you to him? The first time. It wasn’t love at first sight. I remember writing to someone that he had no sense of humour but time marched on. He had made up his mind that this was the year he was going to get married, and it was alright with me but it had to be on a Wednesday as that was the only day they could close the store.
83: Where were you born? In Canada. Did you live in the country or city? City. What was your home like? Comfortable. I always had pets thanks to my dad who brought home kittens and dogs and even 2 dumb rabbits. I get my love of animals from him. What a great guy. Your community? I grew up like the average city kid. We had a baseball diamond, fences to climb, I was a real tomboy. What was your room like? Kari has the things I grew up with. I had a window that overlooked several neighbor houses and we (Mother and I) used to lie on the bed and watch the parties the neighbours would throw. It was quite educations. What do you remember doing when you had nothing special to do? I was an avid reader, I cried over the Elsie books. Books were my favourite gift to receive. In what room did your family tend to gather? The kitchen, but we were a quiet family. Dad was away all week. What were your parents’ names? Hazel Menary Pedwell and Frederick Albert Pedwell. What were their occupations? Dad was in the lumber business. Mother kept house but was an excellent golfer. What were some of their outstanding characteristics? How do you judge parents? My dad was a real pet, honest as the day is long, always turned the other cheek if someone did something to him. He never fought back but also he never gave an opportunity to do it to him again. He never was harsh in judgement to me, in fact I took all my troubles to him. Mother, on the other hand, was a harsh task master. Nothing but the best was acceptable to her so I held her in great fear. But so thankful I had her for her last few years. I’ve learned to appreciate her many good qualities. She was extremely capable, determined to succeed at any task but was very fair if she was bested. A lot more could be said but each of you have your memories to. What were their hobbies? Mother was an excellent golfer who won many prizes, she started a curling club in Thornbury. She also worked for the cancer societies in both Thornbury and Bobcaygeon. Dad never had time for hobbies, but loved his garden in Thornbury. Work occupied all his time.
84: What illnesses did they suffer from? Mother had diabetes. Dad had appendicitis, heart problems and cancer. What were their ages at death? Mother was 81 and I think Dad was 62. They were both buried in the Thornbury cemetery. How did your mother seek to comfort you? It wasn’t mother, it was dad. What were some foods your mother cooked that you especially enjoyed? Mother was an excellent cook. Ken used to say it was her meals that made him put weight on. But what I remember was my Grandmother, no matter when we went to visit she always had salmon and pan friend potatoes and hers had a special taste. She heated the salmon then made a cream sauce to pour over it. Grandma was a German cook and I sure wish I had her cook book! Did your father tell stories? What about? No, I can’t remember. The story teller was Doug Hay. He had more funny true yarns about the Manitoulin! Mother told more tales of what it was like growing up in a large family. What are the names and birth dates of your brothers and sisters? No brothers or sisters. What were they like as people? Ghosts What did they become when they grew up? Bigger ghosts Where are they now? Who knows! What are the names of your aunts, uncles and grandparents? Grandparents: Mr. & Mrs. P.J. Menary (P.J. stands for Pankhurst Jerome) Mr. & Mrs. Henry Pedwell There were 9 Menarys and 9 Pedwells. Did you visit them often? Yes
85: What were some of the places you went together? Grandma and Grandpa Menary had a place on Georgian Bay called “The Basin”, a natural harbour. I remember as a child lying on my tummy fishing for perch. The water was so clear you could see the fish fighting to get the worm. The big excitement here was a trip to the lighthouse or a swim at the sandy beach. There were lots of rattlesnakes here so you didn’t go too far into the bush. What were they like as people? It was said that Grandpa Menary always had a baby beside him. He loved children. He raised 9 of his own and raised 2 babies of his oldest son who died with flu in 1918. I remember going to Thornbury for Christmas at 14, my last train trip. When I got there I found a younger cousin, a girl, but there weren’t any gifts or anything. Well I think I had $10, so Christmas even I bought a doll and a ball for her and fixed a stocking for her. She thought Santa was great. You see the grandparents didn’t believe in giving Christmas gifts – incidentally that was all she got. I think my Christmas gift was the trip to Grandma’s. A couple of days later Mother and Dad drove to Thornbury. I loved all my grandparents, but there are my Godparents – Nana and Papa Fawcett and I loved visiting them. I got my Christian influence from them as he was a former boxer, converted and became an itinerant preacher, always had his bible on his knee and I always went there for Morning Prayer. I think I was saved because of their prayers. How did you spend your summer days? Visiting grandparents in Thornbury from the age of 10-14. We had a cottage on Lake Simcoe, swimming was just super, and we had a great sandy beach. Your winter days? No winter holidays but went skating and tobogganing. What were the chores for which you were responsible? Looking after the pets, I always had a dog or cat, even rabbits and I did what I was told or else! Did you get an allowance? No, never. Who were some of your childhood friends? Tommy Weaver, Lizette then Dorothy Kent (high school friends), Mary Mien is still a good friend. What were some of the games you played together? Tag, Tennis Did you have a nickname? Yes, Giggy How did you get it? Because I giggled a lot
86: How did your family celebrate special days? We always celebrated birthdays and Christmas and I always got a new coat for Easter. I remember a green corduroy Mother made for Easter when I was about 17. Did I think it was great! Were there certain foods or rituals your family enjoyed? Our Sunday breakfasts were special. We used to get large pea meal bacon without the meal on it. It was sure super. We had that with eggs and toast and chilli sauce. In the fall I can remember the large cobs of corn much bigger than today, but not as nice as sugar and cream of today. What did you enjoy doing just for fun? Window shopping, did this every Friday night of course it was great for boy watching too! What did you want to be when you grew up? A doctor, I thought. Did you ever lose something of value? What happened? If I had I’d been slaughtered. You took care of what you had, anyway I never had anything that valuable. Did any of your loved ones die while you were young? My grandmother died when I was 17. What do you remember of that time? Grandma was a gentle woman who lived for her birds which she raised and her garden which was beautiful. After Grandpa’s death she never left her property. Did all her shopping by phone. Always wore a grey dress with long apron. Describe the schools you attended: Given Street Public School until I was 10. Then Humewood Public and then Vaughan Road Collegiate. I walked there 4 times a day, about 4 miles altogether. Who were some of your teachers and what were they like? My favourite was Mrs. Van Deerson in grade 8. She tried to make ladies of us gals. After I was married she spent some holidays in Bobcaygeon when MJ was a baby and I had her over for supper. In which subjects did you do the best? I liked English , Geography, and History but had to take all the Sciences and French. In which did you have some difficulty? I seem to have had difficulty with everything, but Sciences were the worst. But I made it! 11 subjects in grade 13.
87: In what activities were you involved? I had a part in our high school play. I remember the dress I wore, white organdie with red velvet bow. This was a high light. And you thought you were the only one interested in drama! You got it from me! Did you have class trips? No, what were they? We never had breaks like that. What were your major accomplishments in school? I made it. Even 2 years of university and that was an accomplishment believe me! Also music. Did you ever get in trouble in school? Hah! I was a good kid! What was your most embarrassing moment? The principal caught me talking in class when the teacher was absent. As a teenager, how did you feel about yourself physically? What was there to feel? I couldn’t change being female, so I guess I like me I guess??? Did you think you were too fat or too thin? Too tall or too short? Up to age 14 too fat, had my tonsils out and much improved in weight. What did you like most about yourself? Least? My hair. I guess I never could do hair and I still can’t. It was straight as a board. Did you have a hero or heroine? Oh boy, did I! Was it someone from a book or real life? What girl didn’t like the captain of the football team? I still like football. He as dark, tall, very muscular and handsome then, but was he dumb! What teacher, book or thoughts influenced the direction of your life the most and how? How can I at 70 remember all these stupid questions? I was kept so busy with school work and music there was little time for reading but I remember the Elsie books. Poor Elsie Dinsmoore. I suffered with her thought every book until I was 16. Then I started reading Zane Grey that was real adventure. Also about 16 I started to read the bible and I find in it something new each day – still do every day.
88: How did you meet your marriage partner? Grace Read arranged it. He picked me up to bring me to Bobcaygeon for a holiday. What did you most admire about him? Admire? Not at first. He had no sense of humour and I thought he was a real dud. But time changed all that. What were some of the things you did during your courtship? Went dancing at Greenhurst and for car rides. But I saw him every day as I lived that summer with the family. What was the date of your wedding? November 17, 1937 Where did you go on your honeymoon? New York Where did you first live after you were married? In Bobcaygeon, on Sherwood Street When were you able to purchase a house? We built in 1940-141 What was your first home like? No bathroom, wood stove, no refrigeration, was heated with wood stove and pipes going through every room, but we managed. Oh yes, water was an old fashioned pump in the kitchen. We paid $15 a month rent. What were some of the problems you faced together? These questions try my memory. Business was our big problem. Many a night Buck, Ken and I saw until 1:30-2 am working out problems and buying lumber lots (there is a real story here) What were some of the difficult adjustments you had to make? Being so much younger than Ken believe me there were problems. I wanted to go places, he was ready to settle down. This was nearly the parting of the way. But then I was led to the Lord, and my life was turned around. Old desires passed away and in their place were new commitments. From myself to thinking of others. This truly saved my marriage. The Lord can really change you if you want to change. As I said to Kari one day after she said that no one could live with her and I said that the Lord could change her, and she said “But Nana, I like me the way I am!” You see you have to desire Him to change. Where did you go on your vacations and trips? When the children were young we went to Thornbury at this time World War II was on and gas was rationed so you didn’t go far. Later on we went to California a couple of times and then to Florida.
89: What was the best trip you ever took? I enjoyed them all, to get away with Ken was a real joy. Did you have a place you went to regularly for vacations? We rented a small house in Florida and I enjoyed that. List the qualities that your children have that you take pride in: I love my children because they love m and are not afraid to show it. What was a typical income then? Would you believe I never had an income for year. We got our food from our store. If I had to shop I was given money. What were some of your favourite stores? For myself, Fairweathers, they used to carry beautiful suits, for the children Zellers and in Toronto there was a store that carried beautiful children’s clothes. What was a routine day like for you? I was a home maker a decision maker, architect, jack of all trades in my home. | Looking back over your life, for what things are you most thankful? My family. The children and their spouses and three “great” grandchildren. You see if the Lord hadn’t turned me around I wouldn’t be writing this now. I appreciate all my children.
92: Merry Christmas!
93: Puppy love! WOOF!
94: Happy 65th Birthday!
96: July 16, AM Tis through suffering we find grace In deepest trials we seek they face When everything is always bright We forget alas how great the fight. It’s in the battle we win the crown Faithfulness makes men of renown But oh those days when all is ease Man does only what he pleases. Christ himself, His cross did take And bore it all for our own sake If we would follow we must too Bear our cross and life renew. No life of ease is promised here A testing ground to draw us near To Him we came and life He gave And those that follow He will save Take up your cross and bear it well For in the bearing the gates of Hell Will not enfold or bend your soul With Jesus Christ in full control. | July 25, 1979 AM A Place of Trust My children are my precious jewels A trust I have from God So daily I entrust them to My Heavenly Father’s love. My children are God’s loan to me Not mine just to possess But just a precious trust I have To daily lead and bless. Father you know I’m grateful For each one to me is given But I in turn entrust to you These denizens of heaven. Now keep each child of mine today Safe in your tender care For where else can I leave them For you watch them everywhere. Thank you Father for each desire For when I pray believing Entrusting every one of mine I know each prayer you’re keeping. “Thanks for a good day at prayer cell. Now Lord we present to you all these special needs knowing by your word you supply our needs and before we call you answer. Bless the Lord, His ways are past our
97: August 28 Precious Promises God’s promises are ever true. They’re hidden in His word And if we seek them faithfully They’ll truth will soon be heard. There is a need to meet each heart A message right from God But we must seek that promise out Before we sense His love. When things about us fall apart No strength and help we find But if we turn in faith to Him There we find our peace of mind. Our problems here we try to solve By wisdom of our will And when we fail within ourselves We find He loves us still. Yes great and precious promises Are hidden in His word And like the miner digs for gold We’ll find them in our Lord. | Sept 3 Sometimes when the days are the brightest The stars I cannot see But if I descent into deepest depth There they are revealed to me. And so when terror does beset My way I cannot find It’s when I seem in darkest peril It’s your love that comes to mind. For when I seek throughout this world The answers that I need There’s nothing there that satisfies Until on thee I feed. Thou art the source of my content The comfort that enfolds That carries me through deep distress My savior, Lord, my God.
98: Sept 6 We are not trees that live by ourselves But branches of the vine Of which our Jesus is the root And says “These all are mine.” Without being planted deep in Him No fruit do we produce We’re just the wild tares of the field Which really have no use. But when His love flows through our soul We blossom just for Him For by the grace He gives to us Much glory can we bring. Such glory does He pour through us As we drink deep of His grace When we present the fruit produced We’re meet Him face to face. Oh Father, have we brought forth good Which glorifies your name? And if it stands the test of fire Your glory shall remain. | March 9 (I thought this could be put to music) I know not what tomorrow bring If joys or sorrows here But I know the one who holds my hand And wipes away my tears. I know not what tomorrow brings Yet it’s one step nearer home To live in the presence of my King Never more to roam. I know not what tomorrow brings But I know who holds the day Within the hollow of His hand And He leads along the way. God grant me many tomorrows That I can serve Him here Strengthen me then by thy Spirit, Lord, Free from every fear.
99: March 30, 1980 The Glory of God (or The Vision) When Jesus shall walk through the eastern gate Such glory in Him shall abound. His glory shall fill all the temple there Rejoice ye in Him, Oh the sound Of that tumult shall spread o’er the earth The Heavenly King is here Oh bow ye nations now unto Him And draw ye servants near. For long the tale had been foretold That Jesus the Christ should come And once again as He walks through that gate The King has now come home. Rejoice ye people, ‘tis a glorious sight Which no mortal tongue can tell Such praise and honour meet for our King Who once more amongst us dwells. So calm your hearts now through troubled times This vision will come at last The King in all His beauty shall come And give a restless earth her rest. | March 29 When your hearts with fear stumble And terrors in us rise Because our faith is weakening Powerless now we lie. We forget about that banner Spread o’er each Christian’s head We’ve forgotten by whose spirit Each Christian soul is lead. Awake O Christ, bring comfort Chide us if you will But help our faith to remember Your love is with us still. And as you calmed those waves From that Galillean ship By one simple word of “Peace, be still” That fell from Holy lips. Arise, O faith within my soul Much comfort may I take The Lord who conquered wind and wave Brings peace to hearts that wait.
100: Easter Meditation, 1980 Silently the stars float by As dawn crept o’er the hill The stone was rolled away The tomb lay quiet and still. And in the early morning dawn The women draweth near While in the tomb the angel said “He’s risen. He’s not here.” They fled in terror at this sight To faithful ones, ‘twas told And so the glory of that morn To soreful souls unfold. Much joy and wonder filled their hearts Remembering words He’d said, The son of man must suffer much But He’d arise again. And now beholding o’er the years His power and majesty, Our hearts rejoice at Eastertime His conquering power to see. For Christ had come and by His death God’s plan was satisfied That we through Him might daily live Redeemed and justified. | July 24 (Reading from Revelation to Church of Ephesus) “Thou has lost thy first love” Love you less Lord? Oh no, not I. Why on the cross For me you died. O let my heart Warm and tender be In all and everything Lord to thee. Help me remember That joy that came When I first confessed My sin in your name. Let it not be a thing To the world just told But a joyful expression As life unfolds. Let that fire of love So me consume That always and ever In my heart there’s room. | To love thee always That love a flame A joy continually To confess thy name. Don’t let that love Jesus for thee grow cold But in refining Become pure gold. An offering of self To Thee I give Each day of my life While here I live.
101: August 6 (started after hearing a tap finished August 7 AM) All of thy fullness Lord Break o’er my soul All that I know art In full control. Take thou my spirit Let it be Always, completely Centered in thee. No longer self abide On the throne Let only my Jesus Reign there alone. | August 7 AM My moments with thee Lord Seems short today So many things of this world Gets in the way. And yet in those moments When quiet I stand I can lift up my heart To your steadying hand. And when in the quiet Of that moment I bow I sense thy great presence Infill me somehow Oh those moments of joy Heavenly bliss To know that someday ‘Twill be ever like this | July 30 AM Lord grant me grace that I may see All you have in store for me. By thy light to soul revealed Heavenly things by spirit sealed. Here I walk a path unknown Led by thee to heaven’s throne And yet the way sometimes is dark And your spirit from me far apart. Tis then I walk by sense and feel And not by faith in words revealed Oh let my heart one single flame Engulfed in glory for your name No more of self upon the throne All glory, Lord, is thine alone. | August 8 Not my will, O Holy God Shall still consume my way But let thy spirit so convict To follow thee each day. Let self become a thing of nought Submissive only unto thee That in the fullness of Thy grace I rest eternally.
102: Great Grand Babies! Nana would have loved you so very much. Skye & Iona
108: Great Grand babies! Katie & Connor Nana Read would have adored you.
111: And a beautiful precious Great Great Grandbaby!
112: Three women of youth and beauty With spirit roaming free Free to challenge life's sources And see what you can be. May your spirits find no trembling As the cup of life you taste Remembering with all patience Life's not given to you to waste. For it's built on deep awareness Of others who also need, And we've given you, our special ones, The blessings of a sound Christian creed. So may this day be a start Of another wonderful year For with it goes my prayers For the girls I hold most dear!