Saturday, June 28, 2014

40 years ago...my Grandfather, John G Williams, died.

My paternal grandfather, John Griffith Williams, born on February 17, 1888 passed away on June 28, 1974, 40 years ago today. In my little diary I wrote: "Grandpa died. Aunt Audrey phoned up and told us Grandpa had an attack and they rushed him to the hospital and he died. So Dad is going to a graveside service." We had just arrived at my Uncle Ed's home in Oregon on that day for our summer vacation. Grandpa had been fine before we left. He had a heart attack. It turned out that no one was able to see Grandpa's body, and there wasn't a service after all, so my Dad didn't go back to Canada by train as he was thinking of doing. It was so expensive to travel in those days and having just arrived in Oregon we weren't going to turn around and go back right away for nothing. We stayed for two weeks. On July 11th I wrote: "Grandma is taking the death of Grandpa hard." She was 20 years younger than him; age 66. She died in July 2004; 30 years later.

My Grandfather was an adventurer. He was the only one from his family in North Wales to venture to the barren wilderness of the Canadian prairies in 1910. He lived for a while in Three Hills Alberta, and then moved to Spalding Saskatchewan in the 1920s. I love the photo above.

After his first wife, Ellen, died in 1926 along with one of his sons, he married Alma May in 1928 and had 7 more children. Here he is in Saskatchewan on his farm, with Jackie, Audrey and Harry.

The prospering family. Two more children came to join them after this time.
John, Audrey, Glenys, Jackie (my father), Harry and baby Ruth.

Photo taken in 2012. My grandparents final resting place, until we meet again on the farther shore.
By Loretta Houben


100 years ago today, June 28, 1914:

100 years ago today the shot was sounded which was heard around the world.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed in Sarajevo. This was the beginning of WWI.
It affected my whole family on both sides.
The repercussions have been felt through the past century.
Here is an interesting link to what Franz Ferdinand thought of Vancouver when he visited it at the age of 29.
By Loretta Houben

Saturday, June 21, 2014

My 54th birthday.

This was the other week, when Matthew was here for dinner. I had a quiet birthday as I'd had a migraine the day before, alas (first one in 9 weeks though) and Robert had a horrible cold/cough.
This is our little Jack Russel Terrier, Kelsie. For some reason she loves to be held when anyone is being sung the birthday song! She loves candles on cake too.
I rarely post on this blog so I'm going to remedy that and get back to blogging.
Facebook is so hectic but my little blog is very quiet. Now that I'm writing more and have had an article published EACH MONTH since September 2013, I feel like I've accomplished part of what I wished to do in life. It's really true that the more you read, the better you can write.
It's quite amazing and still one of my all time favourite past-times.
Currently I write a family tree tips article for the Renfrew Collingwood Community newspaper, and now I'm in charge of the Senior's Connection page in the same newspaper.
This past Monday June 16 I attended a senior's wellness group at CNH and spoke with an author, May Wong, who has recently published her family history, "A Cowherd in Paradise". She read from her book and it was so interesting I purchased it. It took her six years to write. It has inspired me.

Today is the first day of summer, the longest day in the year, and fortunately it's a gorgeous sunny day with a clear blue sky. Just perfect. This is my favourite season. The collage above shows photos of the azaleas and rhododendrons at Deer Lake last month. May was a divine month for flowers and weather. Some days reached 90 F!
I'm happy to have reached 54 and glad God has blessed me so richly.
By Loretta Houben

Friday, June 20, 2014

Anne of Green Gables...PEI memories.

It was 6 years ago today, June 20, 2008 that I was here on this hallowed red soil in PEI.
It was a dream come true. Robert knew I'd love it. He had visited in 1977.
Above is the birthplace of LM Montgomery, one of my absolute favourite authours.

Here is Lucy's room where she was born in 1874, 140 years ago!

Green Gables museum. This was a pretty spot, but I loved all the other spots equally as well.
All had the flavour which LM inserted into her books.

Anne's special dress from Matthew Cuthburt with the puffed sleeves.

Robert and I walking down dear lover's lane.


The cordial was delicious.

After walking through the haunted wood about 1/4 mile from Green Gables, the pathway opens into the graveyard where LM is buried.

This spot was where LM Montgomery wrote "Anne of Green Gables".
The old homestead is gone.
It was a trip I'll never forget.
By Loretta Houben

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My high school graduation dress...1978.

June 9, 1978
36 years ago!
I thought I was all grown up but realized that although I was 18 at last, and graduating from Windermere High School, I didn't know everything as I had imagined I would.
I wrote in my journal: "I wonder where I'll be 18 years from now..."
Now it's been another 18 years from "now" which I find unbelievable.
How the time flies when you're having fun!
This pretty baby blue dress was purchased from a store in McMinnville OR in 1977, the summer before, at a sale; it was only $15.00 US! It fitted me perfectly except for the length.
A few days before grad I was frantically hemming the delicate fabric ruffle and the lining.
I believe I weighed 92 lbs at the time. My parents gave me the lovely corsage from Crest Florists on Kingsway in Vancouver BC, and I had my hair done at Collingwood Coiffures in the same block.
This was one of the happiest times of my life.
By Loretta Houben

Monday, June 9, 2014

Memories of the Stanley Park miniature railway, Vancouver BC.

June 7 & 8 2014 was the 50th anniversary of Stanley Park's miniature train.
I took these photos ten years ago, when it was 40 years old.
I'm so glad I did, as it was gutted by an arson fire in June 2012.
Also it didn't look as picturesque as my photos show, as it was turned into an Indian Village, I guess to attract the tourists. (I don't believe trains have anything to do with native Indian culture; I don't think the native Indians ever had trains) 

For some reason in August 2004, the Stanley Park station was empty, so I'm glad I took these shots. I lightened them up in a photo program as my first digital camera was only 2.5 mega pixels.
I remember lining up with crowds of people here when I was a young girl.

Myself and Matthew.

Leona, Robert and Matthew waiting for the train.

Here it comes! When I was young, it traveled the opposite direction. Sometimes peacocks were standing on the grass behind the train, and if we were lucky, they had their gorgeous tails spread out. I always associate Stanley Park with the strange cry of the peacock birds.

Robert, Leona and Matthew. There is barely time to snap photos before the train loads and takes off.

Returning to the depot. I believe the train winds through a two mile track, crossing back and forth in a circular loop. It was so exciting when I was small. We never went to Disneyland or Florida as a family, but we had the Stanley Park train!

When this picture was taken, the train was only 9 years old!
My Dad holding Marie, myself sitting beside him with Leona and Marlene in front of us.
By Loretta Houben

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Memories of the farm.


Every June I get nostalgic for The Farm.
Every year of my childhood, except for 1970 when my Mom was pregnant with Marie, we traveled 400 miles South to Amity, Oregon. We stayed with Uncle Ed, my Mom's older brother who owned the old homestead and farm where my Mom grew up. I loved the old cabin pictured above and below, which was located a few steps down the lane from the white colonial style farmhouse where we spent a few weeks. Uncle Ed stored his tools in the cabin, and hay for his horses in the back room, which had been added on as a bedroom. My maternal grandparents lived here from ____ to 1930 when the white house was built.


The back of the cabin. Leona, myself holding Marie, and Marlene.
The building on the left is the barn where Uncle Ed kept his pack horses for hunting.
Leona, as you can see, loved horses! We all had such fun here.


I drew a sketch of the white farmhouse when I was 13, in my little sketchbook, and painted it later when I got home. I'm so glad I did this. It brings back such memories for me. My mom was born in a back bedroom in this house in the 1930's.
By Loretta Houben