Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘Memories’ Category

I am please to announce that an anthology I have been involved in has been released. Life Lessons, Guidance for All Ages, complied by Nancy Blodgett Klein contains thirty-four real life stories written by ordinary people, in which a life lesson was learned. I contributed four stories and helped with editing the book.

Life Lessons: Guidance for All Ages

This is an anthology of 34 stories from a variety of authors sharing experiences that happened to them and concluding with what each author learned as a result. Each touching story begins with a quote related to the subject, shares the experience or events, and then concludes with a moral. This collection of stories is especially geared towards younger people who may need some guidance about how to successfully navigate their lives. However, people of all ages would find this book of interest because of the variety of wonderful stories and moral guidance shared. Some stories are happy while others are quite sad. In all cases, these writers share lessons from their own experiences to help others successfully navigate through the ups and downs of life.

Here is one of my contributions:

Try to Find Good in Everyone

By Darlene Foster

“A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.” – Will Rogers

How do we find our friends? Let’s face it, they were all strangers initially. Friends come in all shapes and sizes. It would be very boring if all of our friends were the same. I’ve made friends through work, special interest groups, places of worship, social functions and travelling. Through friends of friends, through my children and even when dog walking. If you think about your good friends, remember how you first met and how the friendship developed. Did you hit it off immediately or did it take time to get to know each other? Maybe you didn’t even care for each other until you found something in common.

My father always said you can find something in common with everyone you meet, and if you look hard enough, you will find something good in everyone. I have found that to be true in many instances. When I first meet someone I don’t find that pleasant or who rubs me the wrong way, instead of walking away, I consider it a challenge. Anyone can befriend a likeable, easy-going person. But, everyone has a story, and if you get to know a person, you can always find something in common or something likeable.

As a child, I would befriend the person sitting in the corner, all alone. Later, as a teenager, I risked being shut out of the in-crowd by chatting to the mixed-race girl everyone else was being mean to.

My first job was working in a gift shop in a small prairie city where one regular customer always came in grouchy and demanding. No one wanted to wait on her. When she entered the store everyone rolled their eyes. As the youngest and newest member of staff, I was sent out to help her. I always smiled at her, even though she didn’t smile back, and was attentive to her needs. I helped her find the perfect gift for an elderly aunt and the right colour candles and placemats for her dining room table. One day I complimented her on a vintage brooch she was wearing. I caught a glimmer of a smile as she told me it had belonged to her mother. I continued to be nice to her whenever she came into the store and always asked about her family and her health. She spent a lot of money in the store and my boss was pleased. This woman started to ask for me whenever she came into the store. When her first grandson was born, she was excited and eagerly shared his picture with me.

During that time period, the local radio station held a contest for best salesclerk in town. People sent in explanations for why they thought a particular salesperson should win the prize. I didn’t win first prize, but I got some votes and one was from this difficult customer. Someone from the radio station dropped off the letters and hers was glowing. I found out later most of her Jewish family had died in Germany during the Holocaust. She probably had trouble trusting anyone. It was a good lesson for me.

Life lesson: You never know the burdens another person is carrying. Give everyone a chance. The first impression is not always the real person. Like all relationships, friendship takes work, understanding and empathy. Treat everyone with respect, they may become a good friend one day. As Maya Angelou once observed, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

The book is availabe in print and digital versions and can be purchased from most Amazon sites

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Amazon Canada

Thanks for sharing and getting the word out about this book!

“When I got [my] library card, that was when my life began.”
― Rita Mae Brown

Do you recall the first time you stepped into a library? I do. I felt like I had entered Nirvana. All those books, and I could borrow them for free! I would pick out a stack of books to take home to the farm, read them and the next time we came to town, return them and bring home another stack. I must have borrowed most of the books in the children´s section of the old Medicine Hat Library.

The Old Medicine Hat Library

A new modern Medicine Hat Public Library was built in 1964 which was very exciting. This is the library I took my children to. My grandchildren and great grandchildren now visit this wonderful place. I still get that happy-all-over feeling whenever I enter. I had the pleasure of doing a presentation and book reading there. I felt I had gone full circle.

The current Medicine Hat Library
Dream come true, doing a presentation at my home library.

I was lucky that my love of libraries started early in life. I have since frequented many over the years. Everywhere I have lived, the library is one of the first places I visit. Here are a few that are dear to my heart.

The Vancouver Public library

The Vancouver Public Library, located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, is my all time favourite. This building, designed after the coliseum in Rome, opened in 1995, not long after we moved to the Vancouver area. It is often found on best libraries to visit lists. Every time I walk into this library, I am filled with awe. I always felt it was a place of refuge in a busy metropolis. I was invited to present workshops for the summer book camp at VPL four years ago. A great opportunity I will never forget.

The main branch of the Vancouver Public Library

Calgary also has wonderful libraries and I have spent time in many of them. The newest Central Library opened in 2018 and it is state of the art. The new library was recognized as one of “The Worlds 100 Greatest Places of 2019” by TIME magazine. I was delighted to find copies of my Amanda Travels series on the shelves.

The newest downtown branch of The Calgary Public Library.
Family friendly and interactive
With a North American Bison created out of letters of the alphabet
The most exciting thing for an author is to see her books on display at a library

I try to visit libraries when I travel. They are the heart and soul of the city. When I visited Liverpool, I stopped in at the central library and was very impressed. The reading room was straight out of Harry Potter. In fact two children came running out of the room wearing Hogwarts robes!

A list of popular books on the path to the entrance of the Liverpool Public Library
I could live in this reading room.

The library has a fabulous collection of vintage books including a 1611 copy of the King James Bible.

And a handwritten draft of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!

The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.– Albert Einstein

I´d love to learn about your experience with libraries and about your favourite one.

Bernadette has kindly posted my mom´s wonderful fruit kuchen recipe on her My Mother´s Recipe feature. Mom would be delighted that we´ve shared her recipe. Although kuchen means cake in German, this is more of a pie with a sweet bread dough base. Enjoy this delicious kuchen and think of my mom when you do. Check out the other wonderful recipes on the blog as well.

New Classic Recipe

‘Love goes through the stomach’ German Idiom

Hi there,

Do you remember preparing something for the PTA bake sale? I am not much of a baker and always contemplated going to the bakery and buying something and donating it to the bake sale. There always was one superb baker and everyone wanted to buy their creations. In my PTA days that was always my friend, Margie, who made the very best cookies. Darlene’s story about her mother took me back to those days.

This is the story that was given to me by Darlene Foster who is the author of a wonderful series of girl’s adventure books. More information about Darlene can be found at: www.darlenefoster.cahttps://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/. Here is a picture of Darlene and her mother and an apple Kuchen.

My mom was famous. At least in our little farming community in southern Alberta, Canada. She was a great…

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Ever since I was a little girl, my dream was to be a teacher. I loved learning, loved going to school and was lucky to have had some wonderful teachers. When adults would ask the inevitable question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would stand tall, even though I was very short for my age, and proudly state, “A teacher.”

But, as is often the case, life happens while you are making other plans and I didn’t become a teacher. I had great jobs in retail management, recruitment and employment counselling. But I still longed to teach. So, after my children were grown up and I was already a grandmother, I enrolled in a Teaching English as a Second Language, distance learning program with the University of Saskatchewan. This was a two year program. Since I was working full time, I did my lessons in the evenings after work. I graduated with a Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language shortly after my fiftieth birthday. It was a proud day.

At last, a teaching certificate.

My first job after graduation was teaching six orphaned Tibetan teenage girls who planned to work in health care eventually. Since many of the volunteer doctors they would be working alongside would be from English speaking countries, they required English communication skills. They had come to Canada for six months for that reason, sponsored by medical professionals. They already had some basic English language skills.

The students were delightful and soaked up the learning like sponges. We had so much fun. I learned as much about their culture as they did about North American life. They especially loved learning the idioms. As I left the school to catch the bus home one afternoon, they shouted, “Break your legs.”

We laughed and we cried together. A lesson about camping became a lesson in birth control. I taught them how to make hamburgers and they taught me how to make momos. It was an incredible experience.

I invited them to my house for a typical Canadian barbeque. I also invited my daughter and everyone got along so well. The girls sang and did a Tibetan dance for us. They said, “Now you have seven daughters.”

After six months, they graduated from my class with much improved English skills. We held a ceremony for them at the school the day before they were to return to Tibet. There were many tears shed that day. They had already left the building when one of the girls, Lasha, came running back in to give me one more hug. I still shed tears thinking about it.

This was another dream come true for me. I had other wonderful jobs teaching English to non English speakers and met some amazing people from all over the world, but these girls will always be my special students. It was the most rewarding job I have ever had and I will never forget my Tibetan girls.

Have you had a job that was extra special?

Bette Frisch: December 25th, 1928 to March 17th, 2021

My heart is broken as I recently lost my dear sweet mom. I know she is at peace and with my dad and brother, but I will miss seeing her smiling face forever. Due to Covid, I was not able to say goodbye or be with the family at the small graveside service in Canada, which was very upsetting. However, I have many good memories that bring me much comfort. As my daughter said, she showed us what unconditional love looked like.

Mom was a Christmas baby, born December 25th, 1928 at Hilda, Alberta, the oldest of six children. She first attended school at Echodale where her Aunt Beth was the teacher. She enjoyed school and was a good student. She met the love of her life, Herb Frisch, at a local dance and married him on October 2, 1947. They were married for 59 years, until his passing in 2007. Family was everything to Mom. She devoted her life to looking after everyone, even those not part of our family. She was an excellent cook, baker, seamstress, knitter and gardener. Everyone loved her kuchen and perogies. Her traditional German food was delicious, but she was not afraid to try new recipes. Her Christmas dinners and branding party spreads are legendary. Her home was always open to guests, and she could whip up a fabulous meal for unexpected visitors with little effort. No one left her house hungry. Mom worked hard on the farm, milking cows, feeding pigs and chickens, making her own butter, bread, jams and preserves, and tending a large vegetable garden. Every night before bed, she wrote in her journal, documenting the days activities. Her strong faith sustained her throughout her life especially during times of great sorrow. She was an active member of the United Church of Canada, where she taught Sunday school, was a CGIT (Canadian Girls in Training) leader and belonged to the UCW (United Church Women) for many years.

Mom loved Tim Horton’s ice caps, nice clothes, dancing with dad, playing scrabble with Aunt Barbara and reading my books. But most of all, she loved all of us. She had four children, three grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren, as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins and people she made to feel like part of the family.

Here is what one cousin had to say about her after hearing of her passing:

Bette – Small but mighty…she moved with quick, efficient steps in the kitchen, a tea towel over one shoulder while scraping the cake batter from mixing bowl to baking pan – another coffee cake ready to bake! Herb and Bette’s home was home for so many of us! She welcomed all of us! Always fun and laughter, warmth and love. That short 35 minute drive out for just the day or a three-night sleep over! Or those gatherings in Elkwater for a day-long picnic. Or visits to our house after getting grocery – the ice cream was always brought in to the freezer so they could stay for supper! Oh silly memories, but they mean so much! 

Another cousin had this to say:

Our family visited the Frisch’s farm many times when I was a child and my brother and I would stay a few days each summer. Bette and Herb were always welcoming and hospitable. Being able to experience a mixed farming operation and seeing how Bette and Herb embraced this lifestyle of hard work was a positive influence. Bette was always friendly and always answered her younger cousins’ questions about the farm.

And from two nieces:

I have such amazing memories of Auntie Bette. She was a true gem and never missed a birthday. Even when we got funny gifts! We were blessed to have such a beautiful person in our lives.

Aunty Bette is definitely an important part of my life – childhood memories on the farm shelling washtubs full of peas, riding horses, wonderful meals and evening cards or games with snacks before bedtime!

And from one of her former CGIT members:

Betty was a wonderful lady and mentor for me in my youth. 

A sweet and kind woman who will be missed by many. May you fly with the angels, Mom. 

Here is a video I created with a collection of pictures from mom´s life.

There are three things that last forever: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest if the three is love. 1 Corinthians 13, 13

A heartfelt post about the importance of words by my friend Sue Vincent. You may need a tissue close by.

France & Vincent

gardenand stuff 4701

Words matter to us. Those that are said, those that are not said. The precision of a phrase, the use of one word rather than another can make all the difference to how we feel about something or someone. Often they make even more difference to the way we feel about ourselves. Words can be a source of revelation or cause misunderstanding. They can give deep comfort and beauty and the lack of a word can cause just as great a pain as the wrong ones spoken. A thoughtless phrase thrown out in temper can stay with a child a lifetime, holding it back, just as the right words can inspire confidence. Yet most of the time we take them for granted and barely even notice them on a conscious level.

Yesterday a friend posted a story on Facebook. I have no idea whether or not it is true. I…

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It´s the last day of the challenge. It´s been fun for me to go through my photos and post some of my favourites. So many great memories and I´m so grateful to have been able to visit these awesome places. Thanks so much for following along with me.

The photo from Day 9 is from Nuremberg, Germany which Andrew, Donna and Pam guessed. Others guessed Germany which is great! It is a picture of the glockenspiel displayed on the Church of Our Lady in the Hauptmarkt, (town square.) I wrote about it in Amanda on the Danube.

Here is the excerpt from Amanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music

The vendor pointed to the church and said, “The glockenspiel! Watch!”

Bing! Bong! Bing! Bong!

The huge blue and gold mechanical clock with a sun painted in the middle, chimed twelve times. A large figurine, wearing a gold robe and a crown, sat in an alcove below the clock. Seven smaller medieval figures in red robes, trimmed in fur, came out of a side door. They slowly circled around the larger figure, bowing and then leaving through a door on the other side. Throughout the performance, the sound of bells played a pleasant tune.

“That was totally awesome!” remarked Amanda. “It’s like a giant music box. It says under the figure, 1509. That is so incredibly old. I’m so glad we got to see it.”

“The figure, in the middle, is the Holy Roman Emperor Karl IV. The seven electors come out to pay homage to him every day at noon,” explained the hat seller with a strong German accent.

I was nominated by my blogging friend Geoff LePard at TanGental to post one favourite travel picture a day for ten days without explanation, then to nominate someone else to participate. That’s 10 days, 10 travel pictures, and 10 nominations. It doesn´t have to be 10 consecutive days. Thanks, Geoff and thanks to everyone for playing alongIn these times, vicarious travel is a great escape.

Today I nominate Rebecca at Fake Flamenco. Rebecca is a bi-lingual author who writes interesting articles about her travels in South America and Spain.

If I nominate you and you don’t want to participate, please do not feel obliged, but if you do, please link back to me so that I can see your post. I would love to see what you choose to post.

This is my picture for day 10. If you want to guess where this is, leave your answer in the comments or just comment on the picture.

Here is my story included in the anthology With Love Comes Hope which I wrote about here

Lockdown With Anne by Darlene Foster

It’s day ten of the lockdown and I hate it. At first, I thought it would be great not to have to get up early and go to school. But Mom’s not very good at home-schooling. She loses patience with me and she doesn’t know anything about math. I miss my friends. Sure, we connect on Instagram, but it’s not the same. I missed two birthday parties already. By the time I get to wear my new top, it probably won’t fit anymore. My pajamas are wearing out. I’m tired of Mom’s cooking and wish we could at least get a take-away. This lockdown sucks big time.

I’m bored with TV and I’ve watched all the DVDs we have. I didn’t think I would miss school. Maybe I’ll check out a book my teacher gave me to read the last day of school. She said I would like it.

~~~

Wow! Midnight and I’m still reading. This book is so good. It’s about a girl, Anne, who’s thirteen years old, like me.  She has to hide in a small apartment during World War II in Holland, along with her family. They are actually German so you’d think they’d be OK but they are also Jewish. If the Nazi soldiers find them, they will be sent to a concentration camp and most likely killed like so many other Jewish people.

It isn’t just Anne, her parents and older sister living in this hidden annex, which nobody knows about. They’re sharing the place with another couple, their son and an old man. Anne makes friends with the couple’s son, Peter. But, here’s the thing, they can’t make any noise during the day because there are people working downstairs in the office and warehouse. They can’t even flush the toilet. And, they have to keep all the windows closed and the curtains drawn.

How awful. No fresh air or sunshine. I would go totally crazy.

When Anne turned thirteen, just before they had to go into hiding, she got a diary for her birthday. So, to keep herself busy while in isolation, she writes in it everyday. She actually wants to be a writer one day. She writes things like “I hope I shall be able to confide in you completely, as I have never been able to do in anyone before, and I hope that you will be a great support and comfort to me. “ She names her diary Kitty because she has no girlfriends to talk to.

I am so loving this book. There are even pictures of the rooms and the bookcase that hides the stairway to the secret space. It’s called The Diary of a Young Girl and is a true story written by Anne Frank.

~~~

I finished the book and I’m so sad. In the end, after two years of hiding and being very careful and quiet, someone tells the soldiers about them. They are found and taken away. Anne doesn’t survive. In fact, her dad is the only one who lives. After the war, he comes back to the building, finds her diary and has it published. So her dream of becoming a writer did come true, but she doesn’t live to see this happen.

~~~

It’s day fourteen of our lockdown and Dad says it will be another two weeks at least, probably more. Many people are getting sick and dying. I don’t want to die. I want to grow up and get married and have kids. I want to go to Holland and visit Anne Frank’s house.

I’m doing my homework online and not arguing with my mom as much. Yesterday we made chocolate brownies together and then we all completed a huge jigsaw puzzle. It was fun.

And, we can make noise. I can sing as loud as I want and even go in my front yard and make dance videos. At eight o’clock every evening, we all go on our terraces or balconies and clap in appreciation of the healthcare workers, police, ambulance, firefighters and grocery store staff for keeping us safe and well.

I don’t have to be afraid I’ll be taken away because of my religion. This lockdown sucks but it is so much better than what Anne Frank had to deal with.

I will get through this.

With Love Comes Hope, filled with a variety of fiction and nonfiction stories, would make a great Christmas gift.

This book can be purchased in print or digital format on most Amazon sites.

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com.au

Amazon.es

https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2020/08/30/with-love-comes-hope-stories-and-inspiration-during-the-2020-pandemic/

Text and Image copyright © 2020 Darlene Foster  – All Rights Reserved

One question often asked of those of us who were around at the time is, “Where were you when you heard that President John F Kennedy had been shot?” I remember the day clearly even though it happened fifty-seven years ago.

I’d like to share with you a poem a poet friend of mine wrote.

22/11/63

A shot rang out across the years

embedded itself in a nation’s fears.

November the month with stains on its soul

history stilled near a green grassy knoll.

The New Camelot was shattered

and everyhing that mattered

suddenly not an issue

as fragile as brain tissue.

poem by John McGilvary

John F. Kennedy May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963

It was a sad day indeed. I remember it was recess time at school and one of the boys said that Kennedy had been shot. I said that it wasn’t funny and he shouldn’t joke about things like that. Once we returned to class, the teacher was visibly upset and broke the news that the President of the United States had indeed been shot. I couldn’t believe it. I thought about his beautiful wife and adorable little children and cried. There have been many other sad events since then, but this sticks with me as it was the first international news that affected me as a young girl living a sheltered life on the Canadian prairies.

Do you recall that day?

“We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.” JFK

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

We have so much to be thankful for. What was I doing at this time last year? I was launching Amanda in Holland and visiting friends and family. I am so thankful I was able to do that. For now, I am thankful I have the pictures to look back on. Stay safe everyone. xo

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Darlene Foster's Blog

I was missing in action for the last month as I went to Canada to promote the latest Amanda Travels book as well as visit friends and family. It was a very successful trip, although a bit tiring. Here’s a sample of what I was up to.

I visited four schools in Alberta and BC, consisting of a variety of class sizes and students. All delightful with many questions and comments. My favourite part of being a published author is visiting schools and reading to the children. When I walked into one class, a young boy shouted, “She´s here! She´s here! I can´t believe she´s here!” For a moment I felt like a rock star. 




I launched my latest book, Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action, at Albany Books in Tsawwassen, BC, a community I lived in for fifteen years. I love this friendly, locally-owned, independant bookstore that has…

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© Darlene Foster and darlenefoster.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Darlene Foster and darlenefoster.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.