Archives for June 2016

An Unusual Family

Willena & Jim - 1955

Willena & Jim – 1955

I wrote this 3 years ago…

An Unusual Family

There are plenty of reasons why I am thankful for the family I grew up in. Despite the loss of our father when we were very young, we were enriched by having him for a father. My mother was only 28 when Daddy died, leaving her to raise three little ones alone. It’s a tribute to her strength of character that she raised us with strong morals, and did everything in her power to give us all she could. She rationed apples and oranges, and served us Lipton noodle soup for lunch. She went without things herself, to give us a good Christmas. Years later, I understood a little of what she was going through, but never quite, because I had no babies to raise when I was widowed.

My father knew the moment he saw my mother that she was the girl he was going to marry. He was almost 31 to her 20, the day they married. It was a happy marriage. I was only 5 when Daddy first took ill, and he was in and out of the hospital for the next two years. I remember one spring day picking a bouquet of dandelions for my mom. But when I got home, Daddy was home from the hospital and sitting at the kitchen table. All thoughts of my mom flew out the window for the moment, as I ran across the kitchen and handed Daddy the flowers. He smiled a lot, and was always kind to me.

I was born on Mother’s Day in 1953. I was the firstborn, so I made my mother a mother on Mother’s Day. My brother Jim was born on Father’s Day in 1955. He was the first son, so he made our father the very proud father of a son on Father’s Day. Now what are the chances of that happening?? I think we should be in the Guinness Book of Records!

Our brother Patrick was born in November 1957. Not only does he look very much like our dad, but he is like him in temperament as well. He was only 2 when Daddy died, so he does not have many memories of him. Mom remarried a year later, and our brother Stuart and sister Laura were soon added to our family. I was thrilled to have a sister at last!

It is rare for me to see my family, because we live over 2000 miles apart. My daughter Raewyn, son Nathaniel and I travelled across Canada by Greyhound in December 2004, and had a good visit with everyone. That was the only time I’ve seen my brother’s daughter, and my sister’s son. Laura now has two little girls who are 6 and 4 this month, and I’m still waiting to meet them.

Distance may separate us, but the older I get, the dearer my family becomes. I hope the day will come that I will see them more often. But in the meantime, Facebook, Skype and my blog are wonderful ways to keep in contact with those in my family who are online.

Father’s Day in 1955 was June 20. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my awesome brother JIM!!!

© Willena Flewelling

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