Tuesday, February 13, 2024


       My maternal grandparents were born in the 1880's and raised in the south of England. Grandma made some income by sewing and grandpa was a butcher , not the kind of butchers we have today. At that time there was no refrigeration. Grandpa went from farm to farm and butchered for farmers. This job was neither lucrative nor steady. Then a depression hit in England and they were very poor.

     A church group in Canada agreed to sponsor them to emigrate to Canada. They were set up as market gardeners but this was a poor choice of business. Grandpa loved gardening but it was not enough to keep the wolf from the door. 

    During the second world war he was a janitor on an air force training base. After that he drove a delivery truck for a bakery.

    In the late 40's they moved to the west coast where Grandpa again found employment as a janitor. He worked well into his 70's. He said when he got tired he sat in the bath room for a break. 

    Grandma told us that when she was a girl they talked about flying but it was imaginary. She never thought she'd see airplanes . She was able to fly on a jet back to England to visit relatives . 

    After Grandpa retired they would spend part of their summer on our farm. Here grandpa could garden to his heart's content as there was a large garden on the farm. He liked nothing better than to bring in fresh produce. Mom would tell Grandpa what she wanted and grandpa would harvest it. He was a handyman. One summer he painted the barn. He was not allowed to climb the ladder so the higher parts of the barn weren't painted. Dad had about 300 laying hens and grandpa loved looking after the chickens. One day grandpa didn't show up for lunch. A discussion was had and they thought he was gathering eggs just before lunch. They checked the chicken house but the door was fastened from the outside. Finally they heard Grandpa yelling. His grandson had seen the chicken house door not latched so he latched the door and that's how grandpa was locked in the chicken house and didn't make it in the house for lunch. His grandson received some teasing.

     When they were coming back to the prairies for parts of the summer, I was away and missed spending time with them. I had regrets but I was not living at home anymore . 

    It's hard to believe the many hardships this couple faced in their life. Their grandchildren certainly benefited from their hard work. 

     This photo was taken in the early 70's shortly before Grandma passed away.