Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘Memories’ Category

My blogging friend, Beetley Pete, has been running a series of posts featuring photographs from post-war Britain. They are fascinating, a great look back at another time and another place. I would suggest you check them out here.

I love old photographs and am so pleased that my family is a family of picture takers. Over the years I have accumulated some wonderful old pictures from the Canadian prairies. So I thought I would post a few of them from time to time as others may enjoy them too. Many will be of family and some will be poor quality. The following are from the 1950s.

This four-generation picture is one of my favourites. Seated is my great-grandmother, and on the left is my grandmother holding little me (and teddy). My mom is on the right. These three women were a huge influence in my life. The shadow of my dad taking the picture makes it even more special.

Another favourite with special women in my life. From left to right, my aunt with my cousin, Mom holding my little brother, me (with teddy), my paternal grandmother, a close family friend I called Aunty and her two children (who I’m still friends with).

Now here is one I just love. I am on the right with my aunt and my brother. We were playing wedding and needed a bridesmaid so we put a dress on my younger brother. He looks so happy because we actually let him play with us. We look a bit guilty, I think. He is not fond of this picture but has forgiven us. I think he looks so cute!

Two farm kids from the 1950s at Hilda, Alberta. One now lives in Thailand, the other in Spain. Who would have thought?

Here I am on the farm with my brother and a snowman we had just built; our dog lurking in the background.

My next little brother with my mom’s teenage sisters, my dear aunts. Another favourite picture.

There you have it, six pictures from another time. I have more to share later.

Thanks for joining me on my trip down memory lane.

Do you enjoy looking at old pictures?

I was invited to share my mom’s pierogi recipe over at Bernadette’s New Classic Recipe blog. A great blog filled with fabulous recipes and stories to go along with them. I love recipes with a story connected to them. Check out the blog post and let me know if you try the pierogi recipe.

Mom’s Pierogi by Darlene Foster

One of my favourite memories about growing up on the farm is when Mom would make pierogi. It’s my ultimate comfort food. After mom passed away last year, I was determined to make them in her memory. Mine are never quite as good as hers were, though. As you mentioned, mothers seem to have a secret ingredient. I think that the ingredient must be love. 

Pierogi are from Eastern Europe and are called by a number of different names. In Russia and Ukraine, they are called varenyky and in our German Canadian home we called them case knoephla, but they are mostly known by their Polish name of pierogi. Here is mom’s recipe. I’m so glad I got it from her. Whenever I start to miss her, I make a batch.

Click here for the rest of the article and the recipe.

What is your comfort food?

PS I had some pierogi last night!

I am part of an excellent series on Sally Cronin’s blog called, I Wish I knew Then What I Know Now. There are many things I wish I had known when I was younger, but I chose to talk about unnecessary worrying. If you haven’t already read it on Sally’s popular blog, check it out and let me know what you think about the subject.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

I wish I knew then what I know now! by Darlene Foster

I believe we learn as we go, and specific knowledge appears when we need it. If we knew everything at birth, there would be nothing to live for. But one thing I wish I had learned earlier in life is that worrying is futile.

I come from a long line of worriers; my mother and grandmother were masters of the art of worrying. I’m sure the women who came before them…

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Nancy shares an amusing story written by a fellow writer here in our part of Spain. This is sure to bring some chuckles and a few giggles. Enjoy.

US Author Nancy Klein in Spain

Editors Note: I am in a writers group with John here on Costa Blanca. Before each meeting, we get different prompts in case we don’t know what to write about. This week the prompt was: “My hands shook with anticipation.” What John wrote in response to the prompt was so funny that I laughed until I cried. That’s why I wanted to share it with my readers. This piece of writing should really brighten your day. Enjoy!

Young people kissing

By John Dodd

April 1961, and there I was, in the little store room under the school hall
stage, with Rosie Trawler. An acne-ridden teenager, I knew so little
about girls. Yes, my Dad had told me that when a man and a woman
love each other very much, they lie down together and make a baby.
Fat lot of help that was. Everything that we spotty boys knew…

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An emotional bond is more binding than any chain could ever be.

by Pamela from https://butterflysand.com/

York, England January 22

45 years ago in York, England, a girl from the Canadian prairies married her handsome Yorkshireman. And there has never been a dull moment since! We´ve taken risks, travelled much of the world and had lots of laughs. We´ve lived through happy and turbulent times, collected amazing friends and have some wonderful memories. Not willing to be conventional, we even had a Dougal the Dog wedding cake. A few snaps of our wild and crazy life.

Paris. France 2018
Liverpool, England 2017
Spain with Dot, 2017
Spain, 2017
Mediterranean Cruise 2015
Orihuela Costa, Spain 2014
Budapest, Hungary 2012
Germany, 2012
Cozumel, Mexico 2010
Covent Garden, England 1998

May the adventure continue!

Wishing all my followers a wonderful Holiday Season. Here is a little Christmas story for you.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

The Year I Discovered Santa Claus by Darlene Foster

Most children dream of seeing Santa Claus. I stayed up as late as possible every Christmas Eve but always fell asleep, only to wake up in the morning to see the jolly fellow had visited and left gifts.

***

It was to be our last Christmas on the farm. Mom and Dad had purchased a house in the city and planned to move in the next spring.  The whole family was gathering at the farm one last time to spend the holiday with them.

We lived in Calgary at the time, a three-hour drive away. The morning of the 24th, Hubby was busy loading luggage as I pulled gifts out from under the tree to take with us. We had a couple of stops to make before arriving at the farm. It was important that the gifts that were to be dropped off first, went into the trunk last. Crawling under the tree to retrieve the carefully wrapped packages at the very back, a searing pain shot up my spine. I couldn’t move forward, backward or sideways. Paul came in for another load only to find me under the tree on all fours and in tears.

“I’ve put my back out and I can’t move,” I croaked.

He managed to lift me out from under the tree and lay me on the couch. From there I gave him instructions as to where to place each gift.

My ten-year-old daughter panicked when she saw me. “Does this mean we can’t go?”

“Are you sure you can manage the drive?” Paul asked.

I assured both of them I would be OK. I was not missing the last Christmas on the farm. So I took medication and hobbled to the car. I managed fine on the three-hour drive. Paul dropped off the gifts we needed to deliver on the way, while I stayed in the car. Once at the farm, getting out of the car proved difficult, but my dad and brothers were soon there, giving me a hand. Dad put me in his comfy chair and immediately put a heating pad behind my back. My brothers helped remove my boots and Mom made me a cup of tea. I was feeling the love, and happy to be home.

The kids of all ages, bundled up and went for a sleigh ride, a tradition in our family. Instead of using horses as he did in the past, Dad used a tractor to pull the open sleigh over the snow. I wished I could have gone along as it wouldn’t happen again, but didn´t want to risk it. I stayed back with Mom who prepared food for the evening meal and the big feast the next day. She wouldn´t let me help with the cooking preparations either.

I took more medication and by dinner, I felt better. We had a great meal as always and played a rousing game of marbles. We are a competitive family, so there was shouting and grabbing and perhaps a bit of cheating. All good fun and no one got hurt. Once the children were put to bed, Mom and I kept everyone out of the living room while we filled the stockings and arranged them around the tree. After a midnight drink, we all turned in. The beds at my parents´ house were comfy but old. The one we were given to sleep on had a very soft mattress and I kept rolling into the middle. Every time I did, the pain in my back worsened.

In spite of the extra dose of medication, I wasn´t getting much sleep. I finally grabbed a quilt, took my pillow and moved into the living room to sleep on the nice firm couch. Mom always left the tree lights on all night on Christmas Eve, which I found comforting. I felt like a kid again and soon fell fast asleep.

All of a sudden, I was woken up by someone switching on the bright overhead light. My brother, bare-chested and wearing a pair of beige jogging pants, popped things into everyone´s stocking. He obviously didn´t see me as he went about playing Santa. Then he left the room, switching off the light behind him. I smiled and fell back to sleep with no problem.

The next morning as we stuffed ourselves with pancakes, Dad asked me, “Did you sleep all right, dear?” 

I replied, “I moved to the living room and slept just fine. And I saw Santa. He came into the room while I was sleeping and filled the stockings. And – he was stark naked!”

My brother turned red and shouted, “I was not. I had my jogging pants on.” 

That was the one and only time I saw Santa Claus.

Enjoy the season, and if you’re lucky, you just might see Santa!

I posted this last year and feel it is worth running again. A sad day that affected many of us.

Darlene Foster's Blog

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…

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Delighted to be a guest on Beetley Pete’s wonderful blog. I share a special memory of the arrival of a younger brother.

Baby Timmy with his aunties.

beetleypete

I am very happy to present a guest post from the lovely Darlene Foster. Blogger, and published author of the popular ‘Amanda’ series of books, Darlene is from Canada, and lives in Spain.

Babies and Blizzards
By Darlene Foster

I remember when my brother, Timothy, was born. It had been a typical cold and snowy prairie winter with blizzards creating impassable road conditions. Mom expected the third member of our family to arrive in early February. Dad was concerned that the inclement weather might stop him from getting her to the hospital sixty miles away, when the time came. So he took mom and my younger brother, Lorne to stay with our grandparents in the city well before her due date. Since I had school, I stayed with my great-aunt and great-uncle in the small town near our farm.

I was excited about this as I loved Aunt Elsie and…

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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.


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© Darlene Foster and darlenefoster.wordpress.com, 2022. 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.