The very attractive cover is a graphic from Lynn Arnott. The cover design is by Kirtana Venkarteswar Iwamoto.
These published memories are meant as a legacy to their children and grandchildren and provide interesting reading for the general public. Writing of this nature has become very popular in recent years either as full-.length memoirs or in volumes such as this. They provide details of everyday lives and struggles not found in history books. They are important documents for the present generation who too often take for granted the material comforts they now enjoy.
Life on a Canadian farm where butter was made by a manual churn, outhouses, primitive washing machines, bread making, jam making, telephone party lines are some of the details that emerge in these pieces. Then there are the stories of family life that evoke a response of empathy in the reader. Stories such as a woman leaving an alcoholic husband and giving up her five children, but getting them back as soon as she could afford to keep them.
In spite of the many differences in backgrounds of the families of these writers, all of the grandparents emerge as dignified, helpful, quirky. All the grandmothers made jam, though from different fruits, apple and strawberry in Canada, guava in Trinidad and mango in India.
There are only three stories by ?new? Canadians, and they differ in focus, but are interesting reads. Mary Jane Zonneveld remembers the liberation of Belgium by Canadians and her family?s subsequent immigration to Canada leaving war-torn Europe behind. Olive Nimblett grew up in the shadow of war in Trinidad, West Indies, an island which lies strategically between North and South America and where the Americans positioned two naval bases. While the editor, Uma Parameswaran does not deal directly with her immigration to Canada, she describes in vivid detail her upbringing in a vastly different culture from this one, and the legacy handed down by her forward-looking grandparents and parents.
The section entitled First Jobs and other Firsts was a most interesting one. Mora Gregg remembers her excitement at serving the famous writer Katherine Anne Porter at a restaurant in Ann Arbor in the sixties. Lynn Arnott was an elevator operator in Simpson?s Department store in Toronto and was shaken to the core when her high school Geography teacher (on whom all the girls had a crush) and his new bride entered her elevator. The handsome teacher was the now-famous painter Robert Bateman.
Each writer contributes something of value which will resonate with readers. Dorothy LaChance muses that life is like a kaleidoscope,full of bright as well as dull and colourless bits. Jeanine Morris remembers her disappointment at not being in a Church procession since the Nun in charge thought that the bruise of her finger was contagious. Marielle Lavoie remembers the scary visit of the English Inspector to her small French village school, and because they were all terrified to speak to him, they all failed their year, except for one boy who spoke up in English. Elaine Hansen confesses to a childhood fondness for raspberry ice cream which got her into trouble. Doug Good tells of his illustrious Grandfather, a long distance runner who obtained many cups and trophies, and qualified for the 1908 Olympics but which he could not afford to attend. He served on Canada?s Olympic selection committee for many years.
The publication of this book should inspire other seniors? groups to embark on a similar walk down memory lane
Book Description: Ten Manitoba seniors have contributed to this collection of memories. Born in Manitoba, different parts of Canada or different countries of the world, they record what life was like when they were children. Their memories are testimony to the diversity that is Canadian culture. As one of the writers has said, Our past is prologue to our grandchildren's future.
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