Today would have been my mom’s 97th birthday…..she passed away on December 11, 2015 after being ill for some months ….It surprised me today that it really hit home that she was gone…gone was her stoic presentation, her concern about what others would think, her righteousness about her birth family and her obstinate attidude to do things the way she planned to do it…with no deviation. In fact she told me last July when she started her downhill slide that she planned to die on Christmas Day “just to ruin it for you”…..yup that was our mom.
She was born in Toronto on March 13, 1919 to William Pattison and Annie Sinclair Wilson Pattison who had moved to Canada from Scotland some 8 years before. She spent her whole childhood and some of her married life living at 11 Laurier Avenue in downtown Toronto in an area known as Cabbagetown
In 1954 we moved to Scarborough where she and my dad bought a house on Miramar Cres., one of the first real suburbs built after WWII. Dad passed away in 1998 and Mom remained there until 2005 when she moved into her first assisted living apartment. Years later she moved to Butternut Manor in Uxbridge where she lived until she passed away. My brother Kent and his wife Ros ensured she had all she needed and she spent most Sundays at their house for dinner, an event she used to host at her place for years. Mostly tho she loved her home on Laurier and it became a focus of her life as her memories there were so dominant in her conversations.
My mom lead a very difficult life as a small girl as her mom passed away when she was 12 and her dad sent her to live with her maternal family in Port Colborne , Ontario. It wasn’t a happy time in her life, not only had she lost her mom, but she was virtually abandoned by her father and brothers although to their credit I’m sure they did it to attempt to provide her with some female influence in her life and had no idea what she had to endure while living there. Perhaps this is where she learned to be more stoic as she never talked much about her life there or elsewhere until the last few years of her life. Perhaps it also made her strong enough to enlist, without her father’s permission in the St Johns Ambulance Brigade during WWII – a role she was so proud of and always wore her medals proudly on Remembrance Day every year….right up to the last one when my brother Kent made sure they were displayed by her bedside. She also enjoyed her life as a young women and spent time in the summers at Lake Couchiching near Orillia with my Godparents the Hanmore’s and the Blencow’s – both couples remained steadfast friends throughout their lives. I’m sure they are all together again now enjoying reminiscing their younger years.
My mom and dad Stuart Maxwell Lundy actually met in London England during the war, introduced by my paternal grandma – mom was working with other women at St Enoch Church in Toronto preparing packages for the soldiers and my mom mentioned she was going overseas; my grandma suggested she meet up with my dad..which they did..according to my mom she wasn’t much impressed with him as he got drunk the first night. Talk about first impressions…but obviously he overcame that initial blunder and they were married for over 50 years before his passing.
I was definitely a baby-boomer, the term given to those of us born shortly after WWII, followed a few years later by my sister Pat. We were still living on Laurier Avenue at that time and spent many days walking in St James Cemetery which was at the end of our street. In fact I literally learned to walk there among the gravestones – perhaps this was my early introduction to genealogy!
After we moved to Scarborough my ‘baby brother’ Kent was born (actually Stuart Kent)…I remember it like it was yesterday and loved caring for him after school every day when my mom went back to work. I was so much older than him (12 yrs)..that I sometimes felt like his mom..and loved taking him on road trips and hockey games (and still do) .
My mom and I did not have a good relationship when I was growing up. I was outspoken and often defiant (I know my friends will find that hard to believe). She felt the only way she could teach me a lesson or make me behave was physical punishment..and we had many a screaming battle over the years…I moved to Alberta in 1978 primarily because I just couldn’t deal with it anymore..but this past summer while she was hospitalized in July and struggling to stay in reality she suddenly stopped and looked at me and said “you and I didn’t get along very well when you were growing up did we”; when I teared up and said no we didn’t – she replied “I hope you know I always loved you”…as I type this I’m crying.I wanted to hear those words for so many years and in that moment the past was made right.
I miss you mom…even our arguments and disagreements….I loved visiting with you over the last 10 years or so when you were in Uxbridge when I could visit and have lunch…I hope you know that you taught me alot.even if at times when I was an unwilling learner…I hope I made y0u proud as a mom and grandmother myself as well as in my professional life I know without your guidance it would not have happened. I hope today you have a celebration wherever you are and know that you are missed.
Till next time………………