Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘Memories’ Category

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.

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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© 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.