To all of the great mothers out there – Happy Mother’s Day to you! And a special shout out to three of my good friends, Amy, Shannon and Helve who are all expecting their first children. Happy Mother’s-to be Day ladies!
In honour of this special day and to all of you special moms out there, I decided to interview my most favourite mom of all – my very own!
When and where were you born?
Ste. Sylvestre, Quebec, near Quebec City. March, 1955.
Did your parents tell you any details about the day you were born?
I was born in a married quarter on an Air Force base, where my dad was stationed. They were partying with my aunt and uncle and my mom was in labour most of the weekend, and I was born on the Sunday evening about 11pm. I was born in my parents bed…the doctor came to us! Alcohol may have played a factor in how long my mom was in labour!! LOL! (WOW, TIMES HAVE CHANGED!)
Did you have brothers and sisters and what were they like? Did you all get along as children?
I have 4 younger brothers. They were all pretty rambunctious and I was perfect! LOL! They used to beat up on me, and Mom would say I must have done something to deserve it! I always had my own room, being the only girl, and they had to share. On the whole, we got along okay. My parents divorced when I was 16, and we all lived with Dad…it was a bit of a different upbringing. Now, as adults, I’m pretty close to two of my brothers…the middle two.
How did you get to school and how long did it take you to get there?
We moved around a bit…but I never lived far enough that we could qualify for a school bus. The farthest I ever walked to school was 2 miles, that was to highschool…driving kids to school was not something done when I was a kid…rain OR snow! I remember walking in the middle of winter with knee socks and skirt (we were not allowed to wear pants to school till Grade 10)…and a bus went by and splattered me head to foot with cold water. I was drenched!
What did Grandpa do?
He was in banking after the Air Force, and then moved into sales. He was very successful selling electrical equipment to high schools all over Ontario. I always admired him…he only had a grade 8 education, but is self taught and really smart!
Did Grandma work?
Yes, she mostly worked in a factory near our house. Before that, she was a stay-at-home mom. She also worked in a paint/decorating store after she married her second husband.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a teacher, and a Mom. I loved to chalk on the chalkboard in our basement!
What was your favorite thing about school? Least favorite? What were your friends like? Who was your favorite teacher, and what was your favorite subject?
My favourite subject was geography…only because I loved to colour the maps! I hated French when we began taking it…never did very well. I also excelled at Home Economics once I got to high school. I wasn’t much for gym either…was always so skinny and not very coordinated athletically!
When you were a teenager, where was your favourite place to hang out with your friends?
Outside! Or in our basement sometimes…we always were encouraged to be outside. I had a good collection of 45 records…still have them, and would play them in my room.
Who were your female heroes or role models when you were young?
I loved Doris Day and Leave it to Beaver’s mom!
What big world events were the most memorable while you were growing up?
I wish I could remember! First man on the moon…Charles Manson…anything to do with the Royal family. Woodstock.
What was your first job?
I was an accounts payable clerk at A.E. Ames …a brokerage house at Bay and Adelaide streets in Toronto. I made $63/week! I had to travel by Greyhound bus out of Markham to the Warden subway station; had to leave at 6:30am!
What are some of the things that you remember about your grandmother?
I loved my Grammie Manning…she always had her nails painted and loved to wear jewelery. She had beautiful skin and lived to be 94 years old. She was a bit of a firecracker. Today, when I smell bacon cooking, I think of her, because she loved bacon!!
My Granny Burrows was just that…a typical Granny, with dresses only, cardigans and black oxford shoes. I always remember her and my Grandpa had separate bedrooms! We lived far away from both of them, so I didn’t get to visit very often. They both came to my wedding, and that was special. And my uncles gave her rum and coke at our wedding and she was tipsy! Did not know there was rum! She died a few months later.
How old were you when you got your first cell phone?
About 39 years old would be my best guess! And it is currently in the grandkid’s toy drawer now…still being talked into!
What was your proudest moment?
Watching you girls graduate from high school was special. But the looks on your faces each time you gave birth to your firstborns (and nextborns!) was something I was so proud to share in!
You have been married to dad for a long time. What is your secret to a happy marriage?
Communication, communication, communication. Your great Grandpa advised us at our wedding to never go to bed angry at each other, and we try really hard to follow that.
How did he propose to you?
We picked out the rings together (didn’t cost much!) and he asked me as soon as we got out to the parking lot at Scarborough Town Centre!
What are some of your favourite things about dad?
He’s very smart…an awesome mechanic…and there’s no renovation he couldn’t tackle. He was supportive in my going back to work when Holly was in kindergarten, and he helps around the house alot! I’m very proud of his many years as a building official – and I get to go to some fun conferences! Since his dad passed away, he gets very emotional at the littlest thing…kind of like grandpa’s death changed him…he even can get teary eyed watching the news.
What was your most favourite vacation?
Top of the list is our family vacation to Mexico! That was awesome! Other than that, so far, I have loved our couple of trips to Spain and Barcelona. Europe is such a different culture…it is wonderful to experience!
During different times in your life, what did you do to unwind from everyday life stresses?
Are you joking? A glass of wine ALWAYS worked! With a good book in my hand…I have always loved to read. I remember when you were about 1 year old we moved to a house with a pool. Jen was out somewhere, and I put you in your crib and went out and floated in the pool while you slept!! I also regularly locked the bathroom door (and we only had one) and had a bubble bath while dad watched you guys!
What life advice would you pass along to your grandchildren and children?
Marry the right guy, and I think you have all found amazing spouses. My motto has always been to treat other people as you would like to be treated, and everything will go well. I hope they all pursue further education…it is so important, and something my kids all did at some level. Dad has a degree, and I don’t, but I think I had a great career at the hospital and was proud of all I did.
What do you want your children and grandchildren to remember about you?
Sometimes I wish that I could hear what everyone will say about me at my funeral! LOL! I want them to have good memories of me, and that I let them always be kids and have fun. I hope they always have a good time at our house. Most of all, I hope they remember how much I love them…something I’ve not been good at is saying those words often enough. I want them to remember that I always tried to volunteer and give back to the community. I also hope that Owen and Grace (in particular) don’t remember how much I yell at them to behave, or the times I have pulled the van over!! LOL!
Well, that’s my mom. She is pretty fantastic. I love her very much. Happy Mother’s Day mom! I hope you are having a mimosa on a golf course in Florida right now, you lucky duck. xox