Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Post 2078 - Life In Review, Part Three

Welcome once again to the Life in Review series.  It consists of a bunch of photographs along with my colour commentary.  The secret for me is not to repeat pictures from one post to the next.

This first "picture" lists the typical duties of the janitor for the Canard United Church.  You will remember I was that person from 1983-1986.

I learned last month that this church has all but closed.  It may be sold off.  It's all because of some foolish, near-sighted vote by the parishioners at that church and neighbouring ones to save costs.  One church was suffering, so it decided to try to build a new church and get people from miles away to attend it.  Stupid, stupid, stupid idea.  My old church was upwards of 200 years old.  I would hate for it to be deconsecrated and sold to become a swingin' hot spot for some a-holes who want to say that they bought an old church and fixed it up.

Re-think this decision, folks.  Don't make me angry.

This is Ernest Avery sometime during World War II.  He would be my maternal grandfather.  I had heard that he was teased mercilessly for his lack of education and never made it beyond a private.  I do not know if this is the case.  I recently asked my mother about it, and she did not remember that having happened.

Cleans up nice, doesn't he?

And this is my grandfather with my grandmother, shot sometime in the early 1970's.  They were living in Beaver Harbour, New Brunswick, at the time.  They had moved there in the late 1950's, taking all but one child (my mother) with them.  These children, my uncles, all remain in that fine province, along with their children, my cousins.

We would visit them most every summer.  After Gayle got too big to go with us and had her own thing to do, it would be Mom and Glenda and me.  Holy frig, the 2 weeks we spent there felt like 2 years.  The cousins were a bit older than we were.  Or, they were our age and didn't have their license yet.  And my mother has never been a driver.  This meant that we could only go out at the whim of our uncle who lived with his parents, and that wasn't very often.  We would sit around their small rented flat and watch the Merv Griffin Show and read books and go for walks and wonder if this was the day we could go back home.  That day never came soon enough.

I loved my grandparents, but there was nothing for us to do there.  Nothing.

Anyway, to the left of my grandparents you can see part of the ship that my grandfather kept for many years.   It was his pride and joy.  The ash trays to his right also ring a friendly bell.  They both smoked, but he smoked even more.  I remember very well watching him roll his cigarettes and smoking them, one after another.

Late in life, they returned to Nova Scotia.  My grandmother got cancer and died in 1989.  My grandfather returned to New Brunswick with my uncle and his wife (the same ones who visited Mom and me Sunday evening.)  My grandfather was not long after diagnosed with dementia and deemed incompetent.  They were his primary caregiver.  Pretty much his sole caregiver as his brothers didn't want the responsibility of dealing with him in that state.  He died in 1996.  He is buried with his wife at the Baxter's Harbour cemetery, by the church.  I do not visit their graves nearly often enough.

There is a little bit left to tell about these trips.  In 1977, we did the annual pilgrimage on the Princess of Acadia, which took us from Digby to Saint John.  We got to our grandparents' place without incident.  But just a few days later, we read in the paper how members of an outlaw motorcycle group decided to take the boat across the waters and harass the passengers.  I am surprised by this given how these people typically keep a low profile, not bothering innocent people.

And, there is one other story that comes to mind.  In 1976 we did the same trek across the waters for our return to Nova Scotia.  I think Gayle was with us that year.  There was a girl on the boat who looked pretty cute.  I think I said hello to her.  Our paths crossed several times on the journey, to the point where she may have got the wrong impression.  I know this because, as we were in Gayle's car leaving the parking lot on the Digby side, I saw her there with her mother.  As we drove past, she pointed at our car and said, "There!  That's the guy!", meaning little old me.

Did something go missing and she suspected me?  Did I behave in so slovenly a manner as to invite this action on her part?  Or was there some terrible misunderstanding?  I will never know.  It is a mystery for the ages.  But every few years I flash back to that day and wonder what the hell she thought I did wrong that summer's day, so long ago.

My dad was a real card before he got so sick.  When he was a bit younger and still pretty spry, he would be asked on occasion to appear in the local Apple Blossom parade, showing off his blacksmithing skills or whatever.  Here here is one of those parades, probably the early 1990's.

Another year, my mother got to be in the parade with him.  How I got Mom to that parade float is an adventure.  My younger sister refused to take her.  Don't get me started.  I took Mom to the highway where the floats were lining up.  I explained the situation to the cop who was directing traffic, and he let me get through to where Dad was, which was really good of the officer to let me do.  I dropped Mom off and went downtown to see them in the parade.  Mom was in all her glory, waving to the crowd.  I don't think she's been back to a parade ever since.  I barely have been.

Here's a vintage picture of my father, taken around 1958 or 1959.  I am not sure where it was taken, as the family dwelling hadn't been built yet.  He his holding my older brother and sister, Ernest and Gayle.  Glenda and I were naught but gleams in his eye.

And, this is my great-uncle Matthew Arenburg.  Remember Dad's maternal grandparents in the first part of this series?  Of course you do.  This would have been one of their sons.  One of their daughters, by definition, would have been my father's mother.

Matthew died of emphysema in 1939.

And, you know something?   I don't know if Dad's maternal grandparents had any more kids, who would have been uncles and/or aunts to Dad.  I am not sure who would know that.  Maybe one of Dad's few living siblings would know.  Possibly my mother would be able to help out as well.   Want me to find out?

There are still a couple or three more instalments in this series.  Please continue to share your thoughts with me about this series.  Too much information?  Not enough?  Just right, like Goldilocks?

See you tomorrow.


No comments: