Archive for the ‘Family’ Category
I shared information about my mother´s mother´s family (Hoffman) so I think it only fair I share something of my mother´s father´s side of the family (Mehrer). Both families were German immigrant farmers from South Russia and came to Canada at the beginning of the 20th century to help populate and develop the prairie provinces.
While in Calgary last month I stopped in to visit my grandfather’s only living sister, Meta, and her husband Lex. They still live in their own home and put out a garden every year. At 91, Great Aunt Meta is in great shape and shared a wonderful story about her parents, my great grandparents, when they first settled on the homestead in southern Alberta.
As told to me by Meta (Mehrer) Davis
Father was out turning sod, when he had some trouble with the horses. He called to Mother, who came across the road, leaving the little ones in the house, thinking she would only be a few minutes. It took a long time before she returned – to an empty house. Panic-stricken she rushed out, calling the little ones but all that greeted her was silence. After searching the yard she returned to the house wondering what she could say to their father.
In the Kitchen, on one of the walls there were six large hooks on which to hang heavy garments. On one of these hooks hung the long, black wool coat that Dad had brought from Europe. A long bench sat underneath. As she entered the kitchen she noticed a slight movement of the coat. She pulled it to one side and there sat four little people, sleeping and perspiring. John holding the baby and a little girl on each side of him.
He explained to his mother that she was gone so long that he decided to keep them safe in case someone came to take them away.
Note: It was not uncommon for children to be abducted in Europe in the 1800s and John had heard these stories. Their ages at the time Baby (Frieda) one year old, Martha 2 ½ years, Beth 4 years and John 5 ½ years.
It was my dear grandfather, John, who protected his siblings all those years ago. He is the gentleman sitting on the far left in the family picture. Aunt Meta is standing beside him. He married my grandmother, had six children, thirty-two grandchildren and many great grandchildren. I remember him as a kind and caring man, always making sure his family was safe.
I also had the opportunity to visit my grandfather´s only surviving brother, Great Uncle Paul. (He is the little boy between the great grandparents in the family picture above). He is 86 years old, the same age as Mom. He also lives in the same care home as my mom so she gets to see him often. He, along with his brother, Great Uncle Andrew, farmed the original homestead, until fairly recently. He also had many interesting stories to tell me.
I wrote about the 100 year celebration of the Mehrer family here if you wish to learn more about this side of the family.
It was so wonderful to spend time with my grandfather´s siblings and hear stories about him and the family. I just wish I had spent more time with him when he was with us, as Grandpa loved to share stories.
Do you have any old timers in the family that enjoy sharing stories of the past?
A couple of posts ago I showed this picture of my great grandparents, Henry and Katharina Hoffman taken when they arrived in Canada in 1909. They came from South Russia with three children, had one on the way to the homestead in Alberta (my grandmother) and had seven more once settled. This picture was taken much later with the surviving children. My grandmother is standing, third from the right. This picture of Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather Hoffman at their 50th Anniversary, in 1954, shows all the children and their spouses. My grandparents are the second couple on the right. The only one still with us is Great Uncle Tony, married to my grandmother´s sister Ann. (First couple on the left) The descendants of these brave, hardworking people have been meeting every five years for the past 30 years at The Hoffman Reunion. The reunions are organized by a different family group each time. This year the reunion was organized by the Raymond Becker family, descendants of Great Aunt Lindina, one of the little girls on the original picture. It is a lot of work and they did a great job. I am so glad I crossed the Atlantic to attend.
It was so great to see all my many cousins, aunts and uncles. We ate fabulous German food, caught up on news, reminisced, played cards and board games, looked at old pictures, shared hugs and ate some more. Being together was all that mattered. Family pictures were taken and loved ones no longer with us fondly remembered. I brought my 14 year old grandson and my 8 year old great granddaughter, who had a fabulous time. I was able to take mom out of the nursing home for a couple of hours to attend. At 86 she was almost the oldest person there. 136 attended this reunion; out of over 250 descendants spread all over the world, that is a good turn out. The youngest was 11 days old, the oldest 91.
A popular event, after the German meal and Hoffman Olympics, is the silent auction. Family members donate items and others bid on them to raise funds for the next reunion in five years. The bidding is fierce as everyone vies for cherished items such as hand knitted afghans, homemade wine, jams, pickles and many other treasures. There is much friendly competition, no one gets hurt and most leave with something to take home.
You can see my great granddaughter had a lot of fun and met many relatives she didn’t´t know she had.
Every time I attend these events, I feel so blessed to belong to such a large loving family that stays in touch with each other, no matter where we live.
I just returned from a trip home to Alberta, Canada, where I attended my grandson´s graduation and a large family reunion, visited many friends and relatives and spent quality time with mom, my son and his family. Needless to say I had a wonderful time. I´ll let the pictures tell the story.
So glad I could be there for this important occasion.
I saw many relatives I hadn´t seen for some time, including my 91 year old great aunt and her husband in Calgary, my dad´s 90 year old brother and my 86 year old great uncle in Medicine Hat. Always good to see them and hear their wonderful stories, some of which I plan to share on this blog.
I´ll write more about the family reunion which deserves its own post.
It´s now day 5 of the Five Day Challenge. This is how it works: Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.
This is my picture for day 5
Family Picture 1909
This is one of my favourite family pictures. As you can see it is very old. It is of my Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother, Henry and Katherina Hoffman, my great Uncle Gust and Great Aunts, Tillie and Lindina. Great Grandmother is expecting my grandmother in this picture. The family had just arrived in Canada from South Russia. As Germans living in South Russia, they could no longer stay due to the political climate at the time. After crossing the Atlantic in a cattle ship, they were about to travel by train across Canada to their homestead in southern Alberta. The journey was delayed by a stop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where my grandmother, Lydia, was born. Once settled on the prairies, Great Grandmother gave birth to nine more children. I remember her as a strong, hardworking woman who always put family first.
This will be my last blog for a couple of weeks as I am travelling to Canada soon to attend a Hoffman family reunion in southern Alberta where the many descendants of these hardy, brave individuals will celebrate with food and stories, and carry on the tradition of family get-togethers. I expect to see well over one hundred relatives. We are all forever grateful that these incredible people made the decision to immigrate to Canada when they did.
Now I would like to nominate Marylin at Things I want to Tell my Mother Marylin writes wonderful stories about her mother, before the onset of Alzheimer´s, in a compassionate and often humorous style. You will enjoy her blog.
Thank you so much for following these posts.
Here is my picture for Day 2 of the 5 day challenge. The Five Day Challenge is: Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.
This special picture represents six generations of my family. The baby on this picture turned 8 yesterday. Back row, left to right: my son, me, my mom; front row, my granddaughter with my great granddaughter on her lap and my great aunt Barbara (my maternal grandmother´s sister). We lost Great Aunt Barbara a year ago at age 95, but we still have two of my maternal grandfather´s siblings. We are incredibly blessed to have 6 generations in our family to share customs and stories. It is a wonderful feeling of family connectedness. My mom, for instance, has a close relationship with her great, great granddaughters. Life is good!
Now I would like to nominate Lorna at Lorna´s Tearoom Delights for the 5 day challenge. You must visit her blogsite where she travels around picturesque rural Scotland looking for the perfect scone and shares mouth watering pictures with her readers. Beware, you may get hungry or wish to book a trip to Scotland!
Mother´s day is a special day in many parts of the world although is not celebrated on the same day. Today it is Mother´s Day in Canada and the US and it was Mother´s Day in Spain last Sunday. In the UK, Mothering Sunday, sometimes known as Mother’s Day, is held on the fourth Sunday of Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday. This year it was on March 15. Mother´s day in France is usually the last Sunday in May.
Mother´s Day has always been a special day for me as I was blessed with the gift of a wonderful mother. I am grateful for her everyday and especially on this day.
She taught me so much. Not just how to cook tasty economical meals, sew my own clothes and keep a clean house, but how to be kind to everyone and to value friends and family. She worked hard on the farm when we were growing up; milking the cows, feeding the chickens, collecting eggs, growing a large garden, canning fruits and vegetables for the winter, cooking for large harvesting crews and branding parties, and so much more. She was an amazing cook and won prizes for her baking. Her German fruit kuchen was the best! There was always extra food for welcomed drop in guests. She never left the house without looking well put together when she went to town for church, meetings or shopping. Because she is such a perfect role modal, I think I turned out to be a pretty decent mom myself. At least my kids tell me I am.
She always made us feel loved and still does. Her love wasn´t limited to her own children but to her many nieces and nephews as well. Our house was often full of visiting relatives. She never forgot a birthday and sent hand written notes to those she didn´t see often. Now her love is extended to her grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. That love is returned tenfold.
I found a note she sent to me at age seven, when she had my second brother. You can feel the love.
In 2009, I took my daughter and mother to meet my aunt in Sedona, Arizona for a holiday. We made dream catchers. Look how proud she is of hers.
Mom accepts life as it comes and although life hasn´t been easy the last couple of years, she still has that same sweet smile at age 86. During my most recent visit we looked at old pictures and had some great laughs as we reminisced. The staff in the nursing home tell me she is a pleasure to have around and I believe it. She is truly a gift I treasure.
Happy Mother´s Day to everyone who is a mother, step mother, special aunt or good friend to a younger person. It is an important job!
I’ve been away from blogging for a bit as I took a quick trip back to Canada to visit friends and family in two provinces. I managed to see as many people as I could in a short time. There were many lunches, dinners and coffees/teas with good friends, including a fabulous Easter lunch at my former place of employment. I spent Easter weekend with family in Alberta and was treated to snow Easter morning, which I wasn’t prepared for. But watching my great granddaughter hunt for Easter eggs made up for the bad weather.
Here are a few pictures of my visit.
The west coast was so beautiful with all the spring flowers and blossoms
Quite a contrast to my three days in Alberta.
Never mind, it was a good trip and I was so happy I went. I enjoy my new life but miss the special people from Canada.
I’m now over my jet lag and happy to be back in Spain with my hubby as we start moving into our own home. More about that later.