It Has Been Awhile


I know it has been awhile since I have posted any stories and that is besides the holidays and family commitments. I have been pondering the future of the blog as it is nearly a year and renewal is coming up. I am a firm believer in people recording their stories as before one knows it one has gone home and all that is left is your stories and memories. It is just if I want to keep them on the internet. The quick answer is no I don’t. Especially paying to have a short web address. So with that short answer my stories are going to continue in a folder on a external hard-drive that my daughters will find when going through our stuff. Family stories probably done video style, telling stories. Some written. Lots of pictures too, hopefully with explanations of who they are. The two boxes of keepsakes will have explanations of who made that ugly sweater, why it was kept and what it means to the family. Plus, all the other keepsakes. Robert and I have always tried to keep the keepsakes to two regular Rubbermaid bins and no more than that because beyond that it is a chore and special things will be tossed without being looked at. All of these plans are going to probably take a really long time and so being busy on it off line is truly the easiest way to go.

So, in about a month or so this WordPress account will disappear and the stories will continue much more personal. I still invite any of the family who have a story to share please send it through Messenger or email and I will certainly put it in the family folder for the future.

Blessings and Love23

Alicia J. Potvin

Gran-Pa Seager – (Verhaeghe)

Wm SeagerLong before it became the thing to do my mother solved the problem of not having a grandparent nearby. I am not sure if her grandparents were still alive at the time of her birth but even if they were they were far away in Belgium so she really never knew them as by the time she and her mother and father did travel to their homeland the parents were gone.

When she was very young there was a senior gentleman who came by often called Mr. Seager. He was visiting his wife in the front house and Mom and her parents lived in the back. It was a bit unusual but Mr. Seager and his wife no longer lived together because as time had gone on they no longer got along very well. Divorce was just not done back then and so Mr. Seager lived in a nearby rooming house and walking over to take care of his garden in the back. It seemed to be a much better arrangement especially since there were no children.

One day as he walked along my mother ran up to him and asked as boldly as only young children can. “Will you be my grandpa?” He looked down as replied that he was not sure unless it was okay with her mother. Mom grabbed his hand and pulled him to their door. “Mamie!” She called. “Look, I found a grandpa. Can he stay?”

Mamie came out drying her hands and saw who it was and knew him to be a veryWm Seager in garden kind gentleman. She was of the feeling that his wife was the cross person who took advantage of her husband but that was only her opinion. She smiled at him and replied to Mom. “I think that is a very fine idea.” And from that day on he became Gran-pa Seager with all that it meant. He came for supper when invited. Mom would run and walk with him and he would show her his favourite flowers – the gladiolas. When her mother and father were busy with earning a living and taking care of the home, Gran-pa Seager always had time to listen to Mom. She came to love him dearly and he was part of her life for as long as he lived.

He did live longer than his wife and one day Papa went over to check on him and found him crying so broken-hearted. Papa asked him what on earth was wrong. Gran-pa Seager said that he was all alone in the world and that there would be no one to put flowers on his grave on Decoration Sunday. In a small town that was a very big concern as every grave would be covered in flowers except for a few sad ones who everyone knew had no one to care. William Seager was very much afraid that he would be one of those. Papa patted him on the shoulder and made a very solemn promise that for as long as he lived Gran-pa Seager would always have his favourite gladiolas on Decoration Sunday. Papa kept that vow to his dying day and so if you are exploring the Delhi Cemetery and come across a tiny stone saying William Seager place a flower and remember our adopted Great-great Gran-pa.

Mom Wm Seager Mamie
Mom with William Seager and Mamie

Christmas in the Flats – (Potvin)

lebreton3Christmas was always a special time of the year. Every Christmas was memorable. It was both magical and religious. Somehow I don’t recall the Christmas decorations or sales in stores starting before the first of December. Then again stores were not opened on Sundays or Mondays and nothing was open on Christmas day, not even the convenient stores.

While we lived on Fleet street, we didn’t have a Christmas tree. Instead mom and dad would decorate a fake fire place. It’s funny how that fire place didn’t seem to exist the rest of the year, even though I’m sure it was always part of the furniture. On Christmas eve after supper, mom would start decorating the fire place. Cotton baton was place on the top, to symbolize snow. Then a wooden sleigh with six reindeer. String was tacked across the front from which hung Christmas balls and Christmas cards. Also the Christmas stockings. The fire pit and stocking would remain bare and empty until Christmas morning, when the presents had magically been delivered and the stockings filled. They were all marked from Santa, never from mom or dad. I cannot recall presents being left for my parents back then, but then again Christmas was for children. Nor can I recall receiving many presents, but then the few we had were always a surprise and we always had time to play with them before going to mass.

The Flats belong to the St Jean-Baptist parish, for the French speaking OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACanadians and Our Lady of Perpetual Help for the English speaking Canadians. Being French speaking, I went to St Jean-Baptist Church, which had the 9 AM mass reserved for the children who attended the school on Sundays and all religious holidays. Dad would always come to mass with me and, sat with the other adults while I sat with my class. I would attend my first midnight mass when I became part of the Christmas choir in grade 7. It would be that very same year, that I bought a Christmas present for both mom and dad. I can’t recall what presents I received that year, but remember the small cross and prayer beads I gave to mom and dad. Mom wore the cross Christmas day and showed it to everyone. Dad used the prayer beads each night before going to sleep. I think to this day, it was the best presents I ever gave them.

To add to the excitement, as I mentioned above, I had been picked by brother Yves, the director of the school, to be a member of the first boys choir. We met each Wednesday evening after supper at the school, starting in mid October, where we practiced Christmas songs for the up-coming competition at St Michael s Anglican church. To our disappointment we came in third out of ten choirs. Brother Yves consoled us by saying how proud he was and, for a first time choir we had done better then he had expected. Then he announced that we had been invited to sing at the midnight mass. We all felt like winners at that revelation. Of course this meant more practices for the two weeks before Christmas, along with getting our parents permission. The Sunday before Christmas, after the 9AM mass, we were asked to stay behind. We were lead beneath the church, wear the black robes and white surplices were fitted.

At 11:39 PM, Christmas eve, every member of the choir was assembled at the back of the church. Since the 11 PM mass was not completed yet, we were all quiet. Once more we were lead downstairs where we donned on robes and surplices. Too our amazement, we were then lead up to the jube (loft) and seated in front of the large pipe organ. It was the very first time I sat in this area of the church, looking down at the church. At 5 minutes to midnight, we stood and sang our first song, as the parishioners, started coming in. Perhaps it was all of the practices, or the acoustics in the church or the faces of the parishioners looking up in surprise, but that night the choir sang to perfection. Even brother Yves gave us a smile and a look of surprise as we sang our hearts out. You could feel the joy and pride as our words came out it song. We would sing each 9 AM mass for the rest of the school year, but that night was magical for each and everyone of us in the choir.

When I left the church that night, I was walking on air. It was snowing, those big snow flakes that zigzag as they fall to the ground. I was in no real hurry to get home, except for the presents I had for mom and dad. There have been many times since then, I’ve walked during the same type of snow fall and still feel that joy seeming to build up inside to the point of bursting. Each time I remember that Christmas mass.

Going back to presents, there was always one present that I received, although marked from Santa, mom would explain, that it was uncle Nathy and aunt Alice, my godfather and mother, who had asked Santa to deliver the present. Of course, this was said to ensure I thank them both. Once I grew to understand the presents came from my parents and uncle and aunt, the presents were no longer written from Santa. The magic still remained for quite sometime, since the presents to my brothers were still labelled from Santa. Once aunt Maggy moved in with us, we could look forward to a pair of knitted mittens or glove and a new tuque each Christmas. They were not a surprise gift, since once she had knitted the wrist part of the glove or mitten, she would slip it over your wrist to measure the thumb and fingers. I never had the right words to tell her how I looked forward to that gift. Don’t get me wrong, I did thank her for them each year, but those gloves, or mittens and tuque, were the warmest I’ve ever put on. I’ve bought many of gloves and mittens since then, but I’ve never felt the comfort that I got wearing her knitted ones.

Although we didn’t put up a Christmas tree, that was OK by me, since Uncle Nathy always decorated a tree. It was not until I was 14 that I actually got to see it decorated. It was always decorated the Saturday, before Christmas, even if the Saturday, turned out to be Christmas eve. It would remain in the corner of the living room until the day after epiphany around the 8th of January. I’ve decorated many a tree since then, but Uncle Nathy’s tree was always a marvel to see. Each year he got a spruce tree. Spruce, he was so found of saying was the real and only type of Christmas tree. Depending on the height of the ceiling, would depend on the size of the tree. The angel on top would always just clear the ceiling. The tree was trimmed so every branch seem to fit into and exact inverted vee. The balls were the old type fragile blown glass type decorated with different designs and colours. They were the same balls each year, but I never got tired of looking at each one as if they were new. Tinsel was draped over each branch, on strand per branch. It was the lights that always fascinated me. I was always invited for the official lighting of the tree. I don’t know how he managed it, but right up to the year he died, Uncle Nathy kept the same bubble lights glowing year after year, even when you couldn’t purchase those lights. They had become illegal to sell because of the fire hazard they cause. Then again the tree was never left unattended when the lights were on. The stem of the bubble lights came up out of a thin layer of angel hair that covered and hid the base where the light bulb was. The angel hair always looked like illuminated white clouds you sometime see just after sundown. The odour of spruce permeated the house all through the Christmas season.

I’ve received a lot of Christmas gifts over the years. I’ve never been disappointed. Many are gone now, but at times I’ll see a toy or article of clothing, reminding me of the times I had opened a Christmas gift that was just like it. Uncle Nathy and aunt Alice always had the way of giving something special. Not that all the other gifts weren’t special, but somehow, they always managed to give me something I had on my mind. The year I turned 12, I had a red boys bicycle, with coaster breaks and a nice soft seat. While delivering the paper, in the fall, I laid my bicycle on the curb. Just as I turned from the porch, the car, I had place my bike behind backed up and ran over my front wheel and fork. I was devastated having been given the bike by my parents in September, for my birthday. Tears welled up in my eyes as the man who drove over it apologized. I half heard what the man said as he looked at the bike and told me not to worry, since it was only a new wheel and fork that looked like it needed replacing. I had to admit, the accident was partly my fault for laying the bike behind the car. He may have offered to have it fixed for me, but I don’t recall hearing that from him, I felt so sad. I continued to complete my deliveries, holding the bike up with one hand, my paper sack hanging from my other side for a few blocks. John Brown a friend of mine saw me and took the bike home for me, while I finished my paper route. By the time I got home, everyone was relieved I hadn’t gotten hurt. Of course I was questioned has to how it had happened, didn’t I know the man and several other questions I couldn’t answer. Then I was told by my parents, they couldn’t afford the repairs. So for the rest of the fall, I rode mom’s old balloon tire bike. On Christmas eve that year, uncle Nathy and aunt Alice came over as usual for a drink and chat. At one point in the evening, uncle Nathy made a comment about my present. He asked that I come over Christmas morning after mass and pick up the present. I was more then happy to go, since I had not seen his tree yet. At one point in the evening he mentioned the accident I had with the bike. He went on to explain how it had not been my fault and the driver was always responsible for walking around his car before backing up. To this day, I’ve always done exactly that, before getting into a car and backing out. As I was walking home, I stopped in to see my aunt and uncle. My cousin Beatrice and her husband were there and everyone met me at the entrance way, hugging, kissing me as I took off my coat and boots. When I walked into the living room, there stood my red bike on a kick stand. They all starred at me as I felt the lump grow in my throat and tears well up in my eyes, only to run down my cheeks. I hugged each and everyone of them, last of which was uncle Nathy. As he held me, he said. “The bike has a kickstand, make sure you use it, when you’re not riding it.” I didn’t get to ride it until early spring, but each time I saw it in the back shed, I felt that lump rise in my throat.

Dad was never comfortable going out to visit friends or family. For this reason, when we lived on Fleet street, company was always invited Christmas day. By the time we moved to Ottawa street company came over both Christmas eve and Christmas day. Christmas supper was always served between 3 to 4 PM. We received as many as 30 people at times and never less then 20. On Christmas eve, ragout and home made tortieres were served around 8 PM. For Christmas supper, there was turkey, cold ham, roast pork and roast beef. The table was extended and at times a smaller table was added at one end. A long bench was place on one side, while folding chairs were added to the normal chairs we had for the table. Children were served first. Then the adults took their turn. Sometimes the adults ate in shifts, when there were too many to sit at the table. Even the dishes were washed between seating. We did not say Grace. No alcoholic beverages were served with the meal, only coffee, tea, milk or water. There were no formalities with the exception of dad’s place at the table, which was always at one end. Dad was the first to be served, by passing the various platters to him and he would pass them on. Like dad, you started eating once your plate was full. Conversations went on throughout the meal. You may find yourself talking to one person one moment and another the next. Once you had your fill of the main meal, you passed your plate to someone who wasn’t eating and then were given a desert plate. Those home made apple and sugar pies, or home made donuts, or a slice of home made bread, covered with apple preserve or home made jam. You left the table full, complaining you had eaten too much.

I mentioned there was no alcohol served during the meal. That is not to say there was no alcohol in the house. Dad always made sure there was beer in the fridge and several bottles of rye, rum and gin. Rarely did I see either dad or mom drink. Mom always bought a bottle of port and would pour herself a glass and sip on it for hours. Dad would only drink, if someone pour him a glass and generally that was a rye and ice, which, like mom he would sip. I would have the opportunity of seeing my father drunk only once in my lifetime, which didn’t occur on a Christmas eve, but we had moved out of the flats by then. Perhaps, I’ll you about it on a later date. I must say however, it was the first time I drove a car.

As for a Christmas tree. We did get an artificial tree, the last Christmas we spent in the Flats. That tree was put up for several years after, although I’m surprised how long it lasted. When I see old photos with that tree in it, it always reminds me of a snoopy Christmas tree. I’m sure anyone seeing it now would comment on how ugly it looked. Then again, it was one of the very first artificial trees made. It stood some 4 feet tall. It was made of silver tinsel. Because of it being a fire hazard, no lights of any kind could be placed on it. It was decorated with blue and red balls and had a stylized star, which we called a sputnik at the top. Yet that very first Christmas it was set up, it was a marvel to me. It could not be compared to uncle Nathy’s tree, but when the light either from the ceiling light or the sun hit it a certain way, the tree reflected almost a rainbow kind of hue of reds and blues. Perhaps I have a great imagination, but to me there was always something special about that tree. Having said that, I would never think of buying one the same.

I mentioned Christmas stockings earlier. Up until we kids left home, there were always Christmas stockings hanging either from the fake fireplace or just placed on a chair near the pile of presents. They were always stuffed with at least one apple, one orange and candy. Sometimes mom would come home with the pre-made stockings, but my favourite were always the home made ones. I always managed to eat all the candy along with the apple and orange before supper.

Back then and even to this day, mom always had a little extra to give to someone, who came over Christmas day, when we lived on Fleet street, or when we began the open house on Christmas eve, sometime after we moved to Ottawa street. It wasn’t much, perhaps a pair of stockings. To this day, I can still smell the fragrance of Suave, she had given out. They were samples of the product, shampoo, cream rinse and even hair grease, when it was popular for men to wear. These extras were wrapped, no names were placed on them, but somehow, she always knew to what sex the present belonged. I mentioned they were always wrapped. Having said that, I must say, that mom was very frugal. These presents were wrapped with any extra wrapping paper was left or, used paper that had held a present opened earlier.

I sang only one more time at mass on Christmas eve. Before I tell you about it, let me give you a little background information. The mass was held at the Sainte Famille school. This two story school house was on Sherwood street and was an extension of St Jean-Baptist school. It went from kindergarten to grade four. Children who went to this school had to go to St Jean-Baptist once they reached grade 5. I never went to this school, since I had been going to St Jean-Baptist even before we moved to the flats and continued at the same school. On Sundays, there was a 10:00 AM mass for the older parishioners who found it difficult to walk up to St Jean-Baptist. On Christmas eve, there was an 11:30 PM mass that finished shortly after midnight. Once I had started high school, on occasions I would accompany dad to Sainte Famille, when he didn’t feel like going up to St Jean-Baptist. Mind you this was rare. Aunt Maggy attended mass there regularly. My cousin Ronald was a tenor and, I’m proud to say one of the first tenors that sang at the opening of the Art Centre. I can still remember hearing sing the scales as far as a block away from his house, as he practice on a daily bases. As far as cousins go, we didn’t know each other all that well, only to say hi. He was much older than I and we met very infrequently. On one occasion, I was singing by myself while on a swing at the park, when he had walked by and commented on my voice. He had said I had a nice voice and with a bit of training, I could probably go far with my talent. He was even prepared to teach me if I wanted to. I sometimes regret having declined his invitation. I was to shy plus opera was definitely not what I wanted to sing. The one and only time, I escorted my aunt Maggy to the Sainte Famille Christmas eve mass, Ronald was singing at the mass that evening. We were one of the last to walk into the classroom that was packed. Aunt Maggy was able to find a seat, while I stood in the back. Ronald had finished his first song as he also stood at the back. Just before the mass started, he came over and asked me how good was my Ave Maria. I didn’t know what to answer and found myself being pushed out into the hallway out of earshot from the parishioners. “Come on do me a favour and sing with me during the Eucharist.” To this day, I can’t believe I agreed. As the mass progressed, Ronald stood beside me, writing on a pad. Once communion started, he passed me the pad on which he had written phonetically the Ave Maria. I must admit that the song didn’t start off as a duet. Ronald had already begun the Ave Maria, before I managed to get in on the gracia bena. My voice was a little shaky at first, but as we sang I got more and more comfortable. I never did sing as loud as he did, but lout enough for all who attended to hear. When the mass was over, we got all kinds of praise as to how well we sang together. Even aunt Maggy, who seldom gave any praise, commented on how beautiful the Ave Maria sounded. Unlike the Christmas with the choir, there was no snow falling, the side walk was ice covered, but I felt that simple joy of having done something really special. It would be years before I would meet Ronald again. He got married that winter and moved from the area. In fact, I would be invited to his home several years later, only to hear him boast about how we had sung the Ave Maria that Christmas eve to all the people at the party.

These are some of the memories I have of Christmas in the Flats. There are a lot more and perhaps next year I will write down more of what happened at this time of year. I could probably say that it was a simpler time and even poorer time of my life, as my parents said of their Christmases, when they were young. Then again even today, Christmas is magical to me. I’m not saying that at times I don’t feel anxious or a little scared that I didn’t buy the right present or perhaps didn’t have the money to buy that special gift. I’m sure everyone feels the same way each year at this time. The gifts are great, don’t get me wrong, but it’s the feeling of joy, laughter, song that goes through you that really matter. It’s the smile on family and friends faces. It’s the shaking of hands, hugs, kisses as you wish Merry Christmas. That has really never changed. I guess it boils down to love and being able to share that love with those around you.

Merry Christmas and all my love to you.

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Remembrance Day – (Verhaeghe)

Papa (2)
21 Years of Age

Our grandfather, Edmond Gustave Verhaeghe had joined the Belgium Calvary during World War I or as he called it The Great War. He had already lost his older brother Arthur in the war. He never spoke of being in battle or what happened which we never pushed but he did tell of the time that he had been captured by the Germans and made a prisoner of war. The Germans at that time sent prisoners to work on German farms where the sons and farmhands had been taken into the army.

Papa and the other prisoners were under guard, twenty-four/seven although on Sunday, a single guard would walk the identified Roman Catholics to the nearby church in the village and back again after Mass. The guard would not attend but would wait outside and then walk them back to the work farm.

This continued on for a time until the guards were getting a little bored with watching these Belgium Catholics and they no longer wanted to walk the distance to the town. Finally the time came when the guards told my grandfather and the other men that they could walk to church on their own, going straight there and back. The guards figured that since the men wore prisoner clothing they would not be able to go far, as people would raise the alarm seeing these men walking on their own in another area besides the road to the village and back.

Papa and the other soldiers took their advantage as soon as they were in the village. Slipping down a side street they found a clothes line full of laundry that was dry. They quickly changed from the prisoner clothing to these men’s working clothes. Dumping their clothes in the garbage bins. Once changed they paired up so to be less noticeable than a large group of men. In pairs they made their way back to their country of Belgium. Hiding in fields and forests, stealing food as they could as they made their long walk through enemy territory, never seeing that work farm ever again.

And that was the only story that Papa ever shared about being in the First World War. In fact I did not even know that he had an older brother nor that he had been killed in that war. He did not speak of it ever.

unknown soldier

When I was in elementary school and brownies, we had the day off for Remembrance Day on the 11th of November. This was changed in the early 70s as it was thought that the day off meant the children were no longer learning how important that day was but we knew. All Brownies, Scouts and Girl Guides marched in our town Remembrance Day parade. I walked with my father James Michael Broomfield who was in the British Air Force as well as being a child in London during the bombings of the Second World War and my grandfather who was a veteran of the First one. It was a very, very special day and I was very aware of the why of Remembrance Day. When this changed in High School the ceremony we had in our classrooms truly were a pretty poor substitute for walking with Papa and Dad to the memorial in town. No matter the weather we were together as a family remembering what our family did and where they were during the wars and why it was very, very important to never ever forget.

Cover -RemembranceSP

Halloween – (Broomfield)

1380627_228186347342532_467684343_nThis was my favourite day. At school in the early days you could wear a costume but it had to be your patron saint or at least a special saint. Mom had a white tunic made for me with red velvet trim on the sleeves, neck and at the bottom. As well, a beautiful double armed cross. Dad made a sword and shield covering it with silver foil as well as painting the same double arm cross on the shield. I was Joan of Arc. Sadly no picture was taken with my white and red tunic and black leggings as I stood proudly in class holding my shield and sword and announced my patron saint St. Joan. One year I won a lovely little Hubbel figure for first place I was so proud to give that to Mom when I got home.

Once school was finished it was time to change and get bundled up for trick or treating. One year I was the wicked queen from Snow White although something was lost getting the extra clothes to keep warm as you can see. To this day I have no idea how we managed to cover all the territory that we managed. Often it was Pam and Beth Lee that came over to go out together. We covered the two mile strip around my house first with dad following with the car. After finishing1962 Dressed up for Halloween them we went down the road to the sub-division nearby and covered both sides of the street, hitting every house. We would then get back into the car and head to what was called the Pines in town and go to every house that my dad knew which was nearly everyone there. We would also cover a couple of businesses that Dad knew and maybe one or two more friends in the sub-division at the top of the hill on the other side of town. Thank goodness for really strong and big pillow cases which was our choice for hauling our candy. By this time everyone’s feet were sore and legs were tired and we were all ready to go home and check out our haul. Dad would drop my friends at their places and I would nearly fall asleep in the car on the way home. Once there, of course, there was that third or fourth wind in order to dump out the pillow case to check out what I got. Sorting before bed was just as much fun as getting the stuff. I know my Mom and Dad went in and got something for themselves but that was okay, I had enough candy to last until Christmas.

When we were in figure skating and there was the skating show that we were in at the end of the season sometimes the costumes that were made for the show was perfect for Halloween too and friends that were together in the group went out trick or treating together, just like we skated together. Halloween was a full, full night covering miles with friends, we rarely did any tricks except the very, very few that had their lights on and yet didn’t answer the door – they got some soap on their windows but in all my years of treating I can only remember doing that twice. Everyone went out from house to house until they were finished elementary school which was grade eight. Once in High School it was the Halloween Dance after going around dressed up all day.

Happy Halloween Everyone!


Fair Day! – (Broomfield)

18 - right of waySimcoe Fair or as it is known now Norfolk County Fair is 178 years young now. Kids Day is now called Young Canada Day and a bit more supervised than it was in my youth.  In the 60s and 70s the Monday before the Fair opened every school handed out a kid’s pass for free admission to the Fair. Mothers were on the phone to plan who would drive there, who would pick up and what times as we kids tried to push the time we could stay at the Fair. The older you were the longer you could stay. We saved our allowance for weeks ahead in order to have extra money with us. Moms and Dads usually gave a bit more in order to cover rides better. Sometimes you got money with instructions to buy Salt Water Taffy or Fudge or some other treat for the parents.

When you were very young mothers came with you and took you to the little kidsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA rides but once you were past grade one well, that was a whole new adventure. Your friends got together and away you all went. Moms dropped you at the Fair gate and the instructions were – stick with your friends, do not wander away from each other, we will pick you up at 4 right here at the gate. Away we went with the Fair ahead of us. Through the gates hundreds and hundreds of groups of children went in. The only ones who had a grown up with them were what we thought of as the babies. Rides, games and all the buildings were open to us. No grown up really came to Kids Day because it was not for them really. This was our kingdom on this day. First was to go to the rides and of course since we were now parent-free we could also go on the big rides. Having friends meant we were always challenging each other to go on the really scary rides. Teasing each other that we saw you with your eyes closed. To be honest – mine were closed most of the times. Rides were much, much longer than they are now and by token, each token was just ten cents although there were a few rides that were the biggest rides that would be two tokens but never more than that and they went longer.

A two token was the Salt & Pepper which, of course, turned you upside down and backwards too. I never saw anything because once I was fastened in and the shaker started to move I closed my eyes and prayed that it wouldn’t go on forever. We all dared each other to go on it together. It didn’t seem so bad with friends. Once we needed a break from the rides we started checking out the food. After all we were without any grown-up and therefore we could eat whatever we liked and we sure did. We tried games of chance and walked until we just had to go on a ride where we could sit. The Haunted House was a favourite after all Halloween was coming too. Kids rarely checked out the buildings except those we knew gave away free stuff. We didn’t really care what the stuff was but it was free and they were giving it to us, like we were important. I suppose they knew our parents would get it one way or another so it was worth a shot. We watched the One-Man Band and Trapees Artists and so many wonderful acts just happening everywhere. One building had our artwork if our teacher submitted it. You could win a ribbon so that was a building we just might check out to see.

2018 - goats2The kids who lived on farms had their special shows with their horses, pets or any creature that was special to them. 4-H Club was there in full force. This was a group that unless you were part of you were ignored but that was okay, the show areas were places to sit if your feet needed a break.

One of us was in charge of keeping an eye on the time and when it grew close to meeting our Mom then we tore through the Fair from whatever end we were at, stop at the booth with the food they wanted, use that money that was set aside to buy it and head to the gate. We all talked a mile a minute trying to tell the Mom driving everything that we saw and did. The goal of this talk was to try to convince them that they had to bring us back some evening, although the trade off with that was that we would probably have to visit the buildings with them.

Next day at school every class had to do something about their time at the Fair. Writing stories or reviews, art or whatever a teacher could think of. They did have a plan for any child that didn’t make it to the Fair but as I remember nobody in our class ever needed the other plan, every single kid went to the Fair.

Now as a Senior I don’t go to the Fair on Kids Day or Young Canada Day, I go on Senior’s Day but whenever possible I try never to miss Norfolk County Fair. If you want to see more pictures and fun at the fair, below are their Facebook page and their Fair Page and if you find yourself in Norfolk County the week before Thanksgiving – come to our Fair!

Facebook – Norfolk County FairIMG_20141011_163031148

Main Site – Norfolk County Fair

Powder Snow – (Broomfield)

68Mar10abMy sister, when she was small, was a little toughie. If you said no, she said yes, if you said, don’t go there, she would run for it. In order to keep her safe and out of mischief Mom and Dad put hooks on their bedroom, my bedroom and the bathroom to be used when we were not in those rooms because my sister loved to explore.

When she was two she would sit in the pot cupboard underneath the stove and close the door until she could only peek out and then she would wait for someone to walk by. The doors would fly open and so would a pot in the direction of whoever was there. She would giggle away as she shut the door for the next victim.

One day, I got home from school and our mother was frantic looking for Anna-Marie. She was no where to be found. There was not a sound anywhere in the house. I offered to go check out on the golf course near the swamp because she loved gooey places. I told Mom that I would put my books away and then go out looking right away. I opened the hook on my door and as I opened it there was a cloud of powder floating in the air. I looked with horror as my smiling, happy sister sat in the middle of my bath powder, my bath salts and make up spread all around her. She squealed out “Snow!” and shook the powder even more.

I called to Mom that Anna-Marie was found and moved towards her just furious68Nov06 as all my 12 year old prize possessions were completely ruined and covering my floor, bed and book shelf. Mom got her first and scooped her up to take her away to clean her up as I got the broom to clean up my room and see if I could salvage any of my gels, powders and glosses. The best we could work out was that I hadn’t put the hook in completely when I left for school and that Anna-Marie turning the doorknob and pushing as hard as a little 2 year old could got the door open. When she got inside, she quietly closed the door and as she did the hook fell back into place. When Mom was looking for her she was only checking that the hooks were in place. Anna-Marie was so very happy playing in all that forbidden stuff that she was as quiet as a mouse, even when Mom was calling her name. She knew better than to let anyone know she was there. From that time on, any time we could not spot Anna-Marie we lifted the hooks on the doors and checked inside. I was much more careful about putting my hook down tight.

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