Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘immigrant family

Today I am a special guest on Sally Cronin´s Living History blog. I hope you enjoy the story of my two great-grandmothers.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Living HistoryAuthor Darlene Foster shares the story of two great-grandmothers who despite the hardships they faced, worked tirelessly to give their families a home and provide them with the tools needed to survive and thrive.

darleneA Tale of Two Katharinas, a Legacy of Strong Women

“People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.”Edmund Burke

I was fortunate to know both of my maternal great-grandmothers. They passed away when I was in my early teens but I remember them well. They were formidable elderly women with hearts of gold. One thing was for sure, you didn´t mess with either of them.

Both women were born into German immigrant farmer families living in South Russia and came to Canada at the beginning of the 20th century to help populate and develop the Prairie Provinces. They certainly did their part in populating the area as they had twenty-four…

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Just before Christmas we lost a family treasure. My Great Aunt Barbara Reimann walked this earth for 95 full years. She was an amazing woman who inspired so many of us. She did not always have an easy life but she did not let that stop her. Her youthful vigour stayed with her until the end.

She was born Barbara Hoffman, the 10th child of a hardworking immigrant German family from Russia; my maternal grandmother’s younger sister.   The last of her generation, she survived 6 brothers and 6 sisters. A loving mother to four children, she doted on her nine grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren. She was also dearly loved by numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. The incredible thing was that she remembered everyone’s name as well as their spouse and children’s names.

Great Aunt Barbara with my Granddaughter and Grandson-inlaw

Great Aunt Barbara with my Granddaughter and Grandson-in-law

Aunt Barbara was the stalwart head of our large family; without her we feel somewhat leaderless. With her, there were six generations alive in my immediate family.

She was determined, bold, fearless and committed. Nothing stopped her. She learned to swim at age 75, travelled to Australia and New Zealand to celebrate her 85th birthday and drove her own car until she was 93. She made the wedding fruit cake for my mom and for me and  my daughter used the same recipe for her wedding fruit ckae. She loved to cook, bake, quilt, sew, knit and crochet things for others. She always had something on the go. Everyone owns at least one fabulous afghan, sweater, quilt or tablecloth made by Aunt Barbara.

She loved to spend time with her many friends and family members sharing a cup of tea, (although she only drank hot water with lemon) telling stories or playing games. She was a champion scrabble player. She kept active bowling and floor curling up to the last year.  She celebrated her 95th birthday with a huge party. She had a walker but seldom used it.

A principled woman of strong faith, Aunt Barbara spoke her mind, was always ready to listen and to give out her sage advice. Even if she disapproved of your actions, you still knew she loved you. She handed out big, warm, hugs indiscriminately.

She was one in a million and I was so fortunate to have had her in my life.

Rest in peace Aunt Barbara. You are flying with the angles now and no doubt making sure they fly in formation. We love you.

Mom and Aunt Barbara, best pals

Mom and Aunt Barbara, best pals


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