Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘Memories’ Category

I am delighted to be included in this anthology of unedited short stories, poems, and articles from around the world written during the 2020 Pandemic.

The Blurb

With Love, Comes Hope offers a unique glimpse into the lives of ordinary people, as they coped, suffered and inspired others; in this unprecedented time, the population of our planet found common cause. Frontline and key workers everywhere ventured out to save lives and protect the vulnerable, supplying and delivering food alongside other essential services, like teaching, transport, rubbish collection; all workers valiantly striving in difficult circumstances. Vast numbers of people self-isolated for weeks or months and adhered to new hand cleaning and face-covering regimes. Most of the world experienced a lengthy period of lockdown and economies were mothballed.

Around the world, governments responded differently with greater or lesser success, and the lives of the population were impacted in many different ways. There was large-scale loss of life, personal devastation, and enduring and serious health compromises. Many lost loved ones, families were cast into tragedy, jobs were lost and businesses failed. But there was also profound inspiration, people doing good, helping neighbours, friends and those, especially, in need of protection. Doctors, nurses, carers and support workers – cleaners, cooks, security people, heroically put their own lives in danger to care for the sick, often at the expense of being with their own families.

There have been pandemics before with even higher casualties, but we have never experienced a pandemic in such a connected society. The human race may not have responded as well as it could but for the first time, there was international communication and, to a very large extent, cooperation.

This book is one such example; it shares the voices of people from many countries. It is a collection of personal accounts, poems, stories and reminiscences from around our beautiful planet and illustrates the innate kindness of people in desperate times and a shared wish for something better for all our futures – a common thread in this volume, With Love, Comes Hope: Stories and Inspiration during the 2020 Pandemic.

100% of the royalties will be donated to an international humanitarian charity called Bridge2, based on the Channel Island of Guernsey.

The contributions came from the following countries: Bangladesh, Australia, Brazil, United Kingdom, Spain, South Africa, Israel, Greece, Canada, Italy, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, China (inc. Hong Kong), India, Romania, Japan, Haiti, Denmark, The Philippines, The Netherlands, Saint Helena, Guernsey, New Zealand, Palestine, Germany, Russia, France.

Here is a radio podcast by one of the organizers of the project https://www.talkradioeurope.com/clients/mmoss250820.mp3

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

This valuable piece of our history should be in everyone´s library.

I am delighted to have the amazing Sally Cronin as my guest today as she tells us about her adventurous life as a child traveller.

Travels as a Child Cape Town, South Africa – 1963-1965 – Sally Cronin

My father was a Royal Naval officer, and by the time I was ten years old, I had quite a few adventures under my belt. When I was 18 months old my father was posted to Sri Lanka (Ceylon at that time) for two years to a place where my early memories were formed. In early 1959, when I was six-years-old, we moved to Malta for two years, flying via Rome airport, where my two-year-old brother escaped and was recaptured running across the tarmac under a plane.


But the biggest adventure would be in early 1963 when we left for Cape Town, South Africa, so my father could take up his shore-based post at Simon’s Town.

I was in my last year at primary school in Portsmouth, and there was some talk about leaving me behind for the two years as a boarder, with the navy paying for one return trip a year to visit my parents and brother. There was no way I was going to agree to that; I was already packed and ready to go.

Our house in Portsmouth was let out for two years to another naval family that had been posted to the area. We all underwent a medical examination and had a number of top-up vaccinations. Then we flew out of RAF Brize Norton on a charter flight with other service personnel going to Africa, and I have a vivid memory of the seats facing the rear of the plane which seemed very strange. We took off in the early hours of the morning and were woken about 5 a.m. for a greasy breakfast of egg and bacon, which we children, of course, wolfed down. It was a very long flight and there was no inflight entertainment as there would be today. I had a pile of books to wade through so I was very happy.


We arrived in Nairobi to be met by a liaison officer who drove us out of the city in the searing sunshine of the mid-afternoon. Despite living in Sri Lanka with its humid summers, it was my first experience of the dry heat of Africa. I was fascinated by the mirage effect the scorching sun produced on the long straight road ahead of us, with trucks and cars floating several feet off the ground. I just knew Africa was going to be full of wonders. That night we stayed at a safari hotel with rooms around a central courtyard; packed with souvenir sellers. I remember my mother bought a beautiful carved wooden giraffe for me that survived until only recently when a leg broke off in our last move nearly 60 years later.

The next morning we were driven back to Nairobi early for a mid-morning flight to Cape Town, only to be placed in detention as my brother and I were missing one of the necessary vaccinations. Yellow Fever requirements had been overlooked at our medical because they had not been aware that we would be staying in transit (more than 12 hours) in Kenya which was considered high risk for the disease. My parents’ earlier Yellow Fever vaccinations from their time in Sri Lanka were valid, but as I was a baby when we were posted there, I had not been vaccinated. It looked like we would be refused entry into South Africa without it. I remember my father leaving us in a small room with our luggage, to make telephone calls, and eventually, he returned with a doctor who gave us children the vaccination and stamped the paperwork. They were not happy that it had not been administered inside of the regulation time frames but allowed us to continue with agreement from the authorities in Cape Town that we would be quarantined for 10 days on arrival.

The Royal Navy put us up at a hotel in Newlands, a southern suburb of Cape Town, and my father took up his post at Simon’s Town. We had a liaison officer who took my mother around to both my brother’s new school in Rondebosch and mine, which was Newlands Public School, in preparation for starting after our quarantine was completed. In South Africa at the time, children started formal education at 7 and stayed in primary until 13, unlike the UK which was 5 to 11 years old. I was expected to learn Afrikaans as soon as possible, so I was put in the class with children of 12 years old for general studies but joined the 7-year-olds for their Afrikaans lessons. It made for a very interesting transition period, but having already been to three schools during our travels, I just got on with it.

Sally in her school uniform


After six weeks, we moved into a house rented by the navy for us in a suburb of Newlands and close to a large park. I was bought a bike to get to school, and I also used it to explore the local area at the weekends. It was customary when families left to return to the UK after their two years, that dogs and other pets were found homes with new families. It was not long before we inherited a rather battle-scarred boxer dog, called Bosun whose bark was thankfully a cover for a huge heart. For two children trying to adapt to new schools and language, it was a great comfort to get a slobbery welcome when we came through the door.

Having tea on the stoep in Newlands


We settled in to enjoy the wonderful life that living in Cape Town offered. We went to the beach most weekends, including on Christmas day. I had a body surfer and spent my time in the water, only appearing occasionally for some fresh peaches. We would join other naval families on long weekends in the Ceres Mountains in the Northern Cape, where we stayed in rondavels and swam in a huge swimming pool filled with freezing water from the mountains… All our meals were cooked on the outside BBQ including boiling a kettle for tea. In the evenings we would have dinner with the group and then us older kids would leave the adults to their demi-johns of local wine; heading for the now darkened pool with its cold water and frogs for a last swim.

After a year my sister Diana joined us from England and it was great to have her with us. She worked on the Cape Argus newspaper and featured on the front page from time to time when they needed an attractive face to front a story.

The Edinburgh Castle ship  https://commons.wikimedia.org

When it came time to return to England it very sad to leave the friends we had made during the two years, and also our much loved Bosun. Thankfully my parents found another naval family who would give him a new home and we made our tearful goodbyes. We left Cape Town in the late summer of 1965 on the Edinburgh Castle, part of the Union-Castle Line, and incidentally, the same ship my sister Diana would later re-join, but this time as part of the crew as a ship’s purser. We left the harbour and sailed straight into a violent storm, and for the next couple of days we were virtually the only passengers eating in the dining room; clearly, we had inherited our sea legs from my father. For all the passengers who had not crossed the Equator before, there was a ceremony to mark the occasion. I have vivid memories of sliding along a slippery pole without falling off, being given a certificate, and feeling very proud of myself for the achievement.

My father’s next posting was as Commanding Officer of RNAS Inskip, a wireless transmission station in the wilds of Lancashire, about 20 minutes on the bus to my school in Preston and 30 minutes to the holiday town of Blackpool. I was enrolled into the Priory grammar school for girls and again because of the age disparity, I found myself in the second year, but behind everyone in the class with regard to virtually every subject, with a great deal of catching up to do. I had developed quite a strong accent during our time in South Africa; quite useful when you are the only English child out of 100 and wish to remain under the radar. But it was not long before I had adopted a passable Lancashire accent which allowed me to blend in. I remember that first wet and cold winter vividly and wished I was back in Cape Town playing with my friends in the sunshine.


Bio for Sally Cronin
I have been a storyteller most of my life (my mother called them fibs!). Poetry, song lyrics and short stories were left behind when work and life intruded, but that all changed in 1996. My first book Size Matters was a health and weight loss book based on my own experiences of losing 70kilo. I have written another twelve books since then on health and also fiction, including four collections of short stories. My latest book is a collection of verse, micro fiction and speculative short stories titled Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words


I am an indie author and proud to be one. My greatest pleasure comes from those readers who enjoy my take on health, characters and twisted endings… and of course come back for more.

As a writer I know how important it is to have help in marketing books.. as important as my own promotion is, I believe it is important to support others. I offer a number of FREE promotional opportunities on my blog and linked to my social media. If you are an author who would like to be promoted to a new audience of dedicated readers, please contact me via my blog. All it will cost you is a few minutes of your time. Look forward to hearing from you.

Where to find Sally and her books:
Amazon Author Page US: https://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2
Amazon Author Page UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6
Blog: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/about-smorgasbord-blog-magazine-and-sally-cronin/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgc58
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin
LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1

Here is my review of What’s in a Name? by Sally Cronin https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2146165416?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

If you haven’t already, I would suggest you connect with Sally. Her blog is full of great posts, book reviews, jokes, food, music and much more.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/about-smorgasbord-blog-magazine-and-sally-cronin/

My home is decorated mostly with items I´ve brought back from my travels. Since we can’t travel right now, it’s comforting to remember past trips. We enjoy looking through our photographs or at items we have brought back to remind us of wonderful times. I don’t do a lot of shopping when I travel, but I like to bring back a piece of art or handicraft as a memento of the place we’ve visited.

One of these items is a small, rustic vase decorated with rawhide that sits on my mantel. Something I couldn’t bear to leave behind, so it came with me to Spain. I believe I purchased it in Arizona at a Native American craft shop. I remember asking the salesperson about the background of the pottery, as I always like to know about the art I purchase. She kindly wrote the name of the Native North American Indian tribe the artist belonged to on the back of the American Express receipt. I got busy and forgot to do any research when I got home.

The other day as I was dusting the mantel, I wished I had looked up some information about the creators of the pottery. I reached inside and found a piece of paper. I pulled out a yellowed and very faded receipt. The young woman’s printing on the back of it was still clear: TARAHUMARA.

My piece of Tarahumara pottery

We had just watched a show on TV about the Tarahumara Indians who live in the Copper Canyon, in the state of Chihuahua, Northern Mexico. When I tutored Korean students in English, I used a lesson plan about the Tarahumara Racers who run a 90-mile race non-stop over rough terrain, often barefoot or wearing homemade huaraches, with little difficulty.

After doing some research, I found that author Christopher McDougall has written a book called Born to Run, where he highlights these amazing people with incredible running abilities.

Here is a short video about these special people.

Tarahumara pottery is made of rough earthen clay and is usually white, orange, or brown. A decorative slip made of red ocher powder and water is often applied. The vessel is left to dry and harden in the sun, before being placed into an open, dry flame for about an hour and a half. Rather than being polished and smooth, Tarahumara Indian pottery is rustic and still made as it has been for generations. Often strips of rawhide are stretched around the piece to add to the simple design.

What a great find. Although the American Express receipt was too faded to read the name of the store, I was able to make out the date, 04/15/ 92. I’ve had this piece of pottery for twenty-eight years and only just now learned more about it! It is now even more special.

Do you have anything you have brought back from your travels that has special meaning to you?

Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing mothers and mother figures out there. It will be different this year as we can’t get together, but the love will be just as strong. Recently I was guest on Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Friends and Family series where she featured a post I wrote about my dear mom. For those of you who haven’t seen it, enjoy.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the new posts from your archives with a theme of family and friends. Very important as our support system at the moment as many of us are isolated and out of physical touch. If you would like details on how to participate here is the link:Posts from Your Archives April 2020 Family and Friends

Author Darlene Foster shares memories of her mother, a tribute on Mother’s Day 2015, which despite being celebrated on different dates around the world, is a very important day of celebration.

The Gift of a Wonderful Mother by Darlene Foster

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…

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I am a guest on Sally´s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine where she features a post from my archives about my wonderful dad.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the new posts from your archives with a theme of family and friends. Very important as our support system at the moment as many of us are isolated and out of physical touch. If you would like details on how to participate here is the link:Posts from Your Archives April 2020 Family and Friends

Author Darlene Foster shares a lovely post about her dad, who was a real life cattle man, and also shares some of his down to earth wisdom. This was first posted in 2014

Cowboy Wisdom

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My Dad was a cowboy. Not the Hollywood type, but a real cowboy – a man who tended cattle. A hard-working man of integrity, loyalty and determination, he almost always wore his signature cowboy hat and boots, jeans and western shirt. He lived the code of the cowboy where a man’s word was a man’s word and you…

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The youngest member of my immediate family, my great-granddaughter, just turned ten. Ten! How did that happen? She is an amazing kid, wise beyond her years, kind, smart, funny, hardworking and an animal lover. Even though I don’t see her often, I have a close bond with her. She even goes to the school I attended all those years ago, and she is an Amanda fan. I spoke to her on her birthday, which made my day. Here are just a few pictures of her through the first ten years of her life. Some taken by me and others by her mom and other family members.

A sweet baby
A determined toddler
Visiting me in Vancouver
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Best buds
All ready for school
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A visit to Santa
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So excited
An Amanda fan
A real sweetheart
Helping me sell books
A school project based on a book I gave her
With some of her dog pals
Almost as tall as me.
Four generations of women
Reading to her dog.
Playing with her cat in the snow
Getting ready.
Ten years old. Love this little woman.

“Don’t try to make me grow up before my time…”
― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Copyright © 2020 darlenefoster.wordpress.com – All rights reserved

I am honoured to be featured on Nora Colvin’s blog where I discuss my school days. This is a fun feature. I love to read about school experiences everyone has had in various parts of the world and at different times.

Norah Colvin

Welcome to the School Days, Reminiscences series in which my champion bloggers and authors share reminiscences of their school days. It’s my small way of thanking them for their support and of letting you know about their services and publications.

This week, I am pleased to introduce Darlene Foster, world traveller and writer of travel adventure books for children and adventurers of all ages. Darlene joined in the conversations about school days from the beginning and was keen to share her own reminiscences with you.

Before we begin the interview, I’ll allow Darlene to tell you a little of herself:

Growing up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series featuring a spunky twelve-year-old…

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In case you haven’t read it before, Sally Cronin dug this post about my hometown, out of my archives. Check it out.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the series ofPosts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Children’s author and travel writer Darlene Foster is a regular visitor to the blog and has shared some amazing posts.  She gave me permission to explore her archives in search of more treasure. In her final post in this particular series, I am sharing a post on her birthplace.

Ten Reasons to visit Medicine Hat, Canada by Darlene Foster

Many people are intrigued by the name of my birthplace and tend to want to know more about it. So I thought I would share an article I recently had published in Travel Thru History, a wonderful ezine featuring great…

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I am pleased to be part of an anthology called Understanding, An Anthology of True and Significant Life Events – compiled by Stevie Turner


Blurb:
The following authors and bloggers kindly answered questions posed by Stevie Turner regarding significant life experiences they had undergone. These events include sexual abuse, a near death experience, alcoholism, being diagnosed with cancer, depression, losing weight, getting married, being a mother to many children, being the daughter of a narcissistic mother, and many more!

Thanks to:
Alienora Browning
Sally Cronin
Dorinda Duclos
Scarlett Flame
Bernard Foong
Darlene Foster
Janet Gogerty
Debbie Harris
Lucy V. Hay
Miriam Hurdle
Phil Huston
Pamela Jessen
Joe
D.G Kaye
Lynda McKinney Lambert
Jaye Marie
Clive Pilcher
Abbie Johnson Taylor
Beem Weeks

Here is an excerpt of my contribution, about
grief after the tragic death of a family member

Did you find your brother’s death hard to believe at first?

It was incomprehensible. I forced myself to be strong for my parents’ sake. I looked after the funeral arrangements etc in a blur. I kept saying to myself, this isn’t happening, this is just a bad dream and I will wake up soon. It was much later that I would find myself crying uncontrollably, usually when I was on my own. I recall driving down the highway when it hit me that he was gone. That I would not get to dance at his wedding, to hold his babies or to have a good chat and a laugh with him like we always did. My daughter would never get to know her uncle. I started crying so hard, I had to pull over as I couldn’t see through my tears. This happened a couple of years after the accident.

Did you feel angry after the initial shock had passed?

Yes. I was angry at the unfairness of it all. He was a young man with his whole life ahead of him. He had completed school, was working and being a responsible citizen. He was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. 

How long did it take you to accept his death?

I am not sure if I ever really have. I do know that he has been spared the hardships and heartaches of life. But I still wish he was here with us.

Available on all Amazon sites

Amazon.com

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Amazon UK

All proceeds will go to Cancer Research.

Check it out! Thanks.

I have so many wonderful memories of my recent time in Canada including special school visits, Christmas with family, visits with good friends, snuggling with grandpets and fun with grandchildren. But the best memory of all is the valuable time I spent with mom. I saw her 17 days in a row, often more than once a day. We had some good laughs and a few tears as we reminisced. I usually sat with her during her meals, attended singalongs and quiz events with her, read to her and we looked at pictures together. We celebrated her 90th birthday by holding a party at the seniors home a couple of days before the actual birthday (which is Christmas day!)  48 friends and family came to wish her a Happy Birthday. She was so pleased, even though it was a bit overwhelming at times. I’d like to share a few mom pictures.

Mom with her siblings and their spouses

with a great-grandson

                                                                     

with her grandson (my son)

with a friend’s daughter

With my dad’s cousins

with longtime friends

with a niece and her family
with flowers from a son and a sister who couldn’t be there
with my brother and his girlfriend

with a great-grandson and a great-great-granddaughter
with a great-granddaughter, her hubby and great-great-granddaughter
with another great-granddaughter who added to the teddy bear collection

You can see she loves her teddy bears and was given quite a few for gifts. Many of them she won at Bingo!

4 generations of women, mom, daughter, great-granddaughter, great-great-granddaughter
with a great-great-granddaughter who loves her to bits

On her actual birthday, on Christmas day, the staff decorated her place in the dining room with balloons and streamers, sang to her and presented her with a cupcake and candle for her to blow out. She was made to feel very special. The staff at Valleyview Seniors Care are incredible. I am so grateful. 

Mom was showered with love. She is wheelchair bound, her hearing is failing, the words don’t always come out right and she is often confused, but she is happy and so well cared for. The more time I spent with her, the more alert she became. Her long term memory is very good. She remembers names of people I have forgotten.

It was time well spent and I am so glad I was able to be there for her 90th birthday!


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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.